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Palestine awareness at 2Oceans

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A group of passionate runners called Runners for the Freedom of Palestine are hoping to draw attention to the Palestinian cause this weekend, as the group tackle the gruelling Two Oceans Marathon. The group, comprising several amateur runners, take part in various running events with the aim of raising awareness on the plight of the Palestinian people. The initiative follows in the same vein as the ‘Team Palestine’, which recently took part in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour.

Despite their cause, the Runners for the Freedom of Palestine have faced particular challenges at previous events with organisers, who have been reluctant to have their event used as a means for any political statements. But according to Warda Gertse, who will be taking part in the Two Oceans, the campaign need not be viewed as political rather a “human justice cause”.

“Palestine itself is a flag, and it represents a country that needs to exist. We’ve come to a point where the WPA and all the organisations have given their approval, as long as there are no political statements such as ‘free Palestine’ on our flags,” she explained.

She said support for the cause thus far has so far been remarkable at all events they have taken part in. And from their own personal perspective, she said the runners remained firmly in solidarity with those in Gaza and the occupied territories, and were eager to see a free Palestine for all.

“We are individuals with one goal; to create the awareness and keep the flag flying high,” she said.

Another participant, Lebo Motasi said the group has also seen different feedback, both positive and negative, from other runners at these events.

“A lot of them do ask whether this is the right platform to be able to create the awareness, and a lot of the time they will enquire,” he said.

He said the fact that other runners were expressing curiosity and interest, provided the perfect opportunity to educate them as to the situation in Palestine.

“There’s an example where one of my friends, who is not connected to the Runners for the Freedom of Palestine, put up a status on Facebook questioning whether this was the right platform. There was an engagement, and people gave their different views, evenings stretching beyond those that are runners,” he noted.

The duo has urged members of the community to come out on the day and show their support for those participate as part of the Runners for the Freedom of Palestine.

The Two Oceans Marathon takes place on Saturday 4th April and kicks off in Newlands. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)


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