Lifting Spirits: Chicago’s Balloon Release for Gaza

On the third anniversary of Israel’s twenty-two day invasion of the besieged Gaza Strip, Chicagoans took to the streets to honor the fallen with a mass balloon release.

Among the 1,400 Palestinians killed during Israel’s invasion were at least 340 children who were, in most cases, playing soccer in the streets, sleeping with their favorite stuffed animals, or running errands for mom and dad when the missiles hit. Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR), a youth-led collective, organized this gathering to symbolically commemorate these lost lives. Organizers in Nabi Saleh arranged an identical event the day before but were attacked with Israeli tear gas and water cannons.

Each balloon was tagged with the name and age of one of the killed children. The materials used were all biodegradable and the seed paper used for the tags is expected to bloom flowers wherever the tags land, a small but powerful tribute to the beauty and resilience of our fellow Palestinians in Gaza.

Sami Kishawi


There are 8 comments

  1. Sheila Baker

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful solemn event. I am an American who is frustrated and ashamed of my country’s heavy support of
    Israel in its mission to annhilate the Palestinian people. I mourn the loss of innocent men, women and children of Palestine and hope that
    Israel is not only stopped but punished as well. I stand with you in your struggle. May you be victorious in your effort, and may the world
    understand why this should never have happened.

  2. Vacy Vlazna

    Thank you for sharing such stunning photos of the profoundly touching commemoration of the deaths of innocent Gazan children slaughtered by Israel’s state and military war crimes and the reprehensible silence of Western governments including, shamefully, my own in Australia.

    The grief of families is incomprehensible.

    The number of children murdered equals the amount of children in an average sized Australian school.

    In Australia we continue to protest at cafes owned by Max Brenner which supports the Golani and Givati brigades that have the blood of these children seared on their consciousness.

    One day there will be trials for war crimes in the ICJ and a free Palestinian state.

  3. Nabil Ghusein

    My country,the Leader of the Free world,The champion of Democracy sends a 500,000 man army to liberate Kuwait from Saddam,but fails to say a word when Israeel unleashes its air and land forces against unarmed,surrounded,over crowded Gaza ghetto killing 1400 people including 350 children.

  4. tchalala

    The US has the power to topple any head of any government in the world, but decide to help and support Israel in the killing of innocent people in Palestine, it looks to me that Israel is nothing but just a pretext for the US to control the world. When the US reaches the plateau of it’s ambition, Israel will disappear from the face of this earth, and Christians, Jews and Muslims will leave together happily ever after in the Land of milk and honey; Palestine. I quote from Wikipedia an excerpt from the experts, this is not from me, I just read it in Wikipedia:
    “The golden age of Jewish culture in Spain coincided with the Middle Ages in Europe, a period of Muslim rule throughout much of the Iberian Peninsula. During that time, Jews were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life blossomed.
    The nature and length of this “Golden Age” has been a subject of debate. Some scholars give the start of the Golden Age as either 711–718 (after the Muslim conquest of Iberia) or 912 (the rule of Abd-ar-Rahman III) and the end of the Golden Age variously as 1031 (when the Caliphate of Cordoba ended), 1066 (the date of the Granada massacre), 1090 (when the Almoravides invaded), or the mid-12th century (when the Almohades invaded). “

  5. Elisabeth Southorn

    continue your good work – each step educates another American – its time we take responsibility for our part in all of this – Free Palestine!!

  6. Ba6a

    This is a spectacular and powerful event; I’m going to link this page to my university’s SJP page. It’d be fantastic if we could do the same or similar event in California. Thank you.

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