Photos by Katara and Qatar Red Crescent Society
This article was updated on Aug. 10 to reflect the latest donation figures.
Thousands of Qatar residents gathered at the Katara Cultural Village amphitheater last night to attend the nation’s first Gaza Solidarity Festival.
The two-hour long event featured performances from singers, poets and artists who spoke to a responsive crowd about Palestine, homeland and love.
After a negotiated three-day ceasefire expired on Friday, Israel restarted its military campaign, as Hamas resumed firing rockets into the southern part of the country.
Al Jazeera English reports that some 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in the four-week military assault so far, with the UN saying the vast majority of the dead are civilians.
To help the families of victims and those who have fled their homes, the festival organizers spent a portion of last night fundraising for Gaza.
According to the Peninsula, more than QR57 million was raised during the event.
Several major corporations announced donations, including:
- Qatar Petroleum (QR10 million);
- Qatar National Bank (QR5 million);
- Qatar Islamic Bank (QR3 million);
- Khaleeji Commercial Bank (QR2 million); and
- The Alfardan Group (QR1 million).
Additional figures honoring contributions by individuals were also announced during the event, and a final tally is expected to be announced today.
Speaking to Doha News yesterday, Ahmed Al Khulaifi, the head of resources mobilization at QRCS, said that at least 3,000 people turned up for last night’s event, which had come about after a week of planning with Qatar TV, Al Rayyan TV and q.media.
He added that donations would go toward supporting QRCS initiatives on the ground in Gaza, including operations to bring medications and ambulances to the area, to restore the water and sanitation grids and toward internally displaced people in need.
Many poets, singers and artists also donated their time to the cause yesterday.
The line-up included Qatari poets Khalil Ebrahim Al Shabrami, Ahmed Bin Ghayda, Ali Maeed Al Ghayassim, and Ali Saddar Al Khulaifi; Saudi poet Ali Bin Hamri; and Palestinian poets Nasuh Al Nasser, Muflah Tabuni, and Abdulnasser Mohammed Taya.
Additionally, Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi and Palestinian crooners Sana Moussa, Dalal Abu Amna and Momin Al Farrah performed in tandem with an onstage orchestra.
— الهلال الأحمر القطري (@QRCS) August 8, 2014
Many in the crowd took to waving Palestinian and Qatari flags during performances, and lauding poets as they spoke of Gaza.
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During her soulful performance, Moussa wiped a tear from her face as she sang about the resistance and Palestinian families.
Palestinian born poet Yaroub Rayyan, 55, who has lived in Qatar for over 35 years, took to the stage toward the end of the event to recite some of his poetry.
Rayyan said seven of his relatives have been injured in the past few weeks, though his daughter has evaded harm.
Speaking to Doha News prior to his appearance, he commended efforts by the Qatari government to aid the Palestinian people.
“I appreciate what (this country) is doing. It’s the only Arab country that has supported Gaza throughout history. Only Qatar has stood by us,” he said.
Did you attend the event? Thoughts?