As images and video from the Middle East flash across our screens, it can sometimes seem far away. But rallies in support of the Palestinian people are happening in the US, and Lafayette is no exception.
On Sunday, a group held a rally to support Palestine waving flags and signs as they traveled down Ambassador Caffery Parkway.
"Today, basically, we want to get awareness to everybody, to let them know. The biased American media is unparalleled anywhere in the world when it comes to Israel. They are one-sided. The Palestinian people do exist, and they're asking for what everyone else is asking for: to live free in a country of their own," said Hesham Tillawi, an organizer of Sunday's event. "We want to bring attention to what is going on in Palestine and that is not just Israel attacking Hamas. It is Israel attacking the Palestinian people who have been living under their military occupation for 73 years."
Americans must care about what is happening, because it is American money that is funding these attacks, Tillawi says.
"It is Israeli hands, but American money," he says.
Tillawi urged his Acadiana neighbors to do their research.
"There is a lot of stuff on the internet, and people can make up their own minds. But I believe reasonable people, if they look at the problem, they will be able to see it. How many Palestinians have died? How many Israeli have died?" he says.
Tillawi said yesterday Israel shells brought down a high rise that housed only the media.
"Why would you bomb the media? Because they show what is going on, what Israel is doing. Israel is erasing a whole country off the face of the earth," Tillawi says. "We are here today to basically say, look, you have to dig deeper into it. The American tax payer is funding this war. That is something that the American people don't know. The American tax payer is funding this war. 4 billion dollars a year go to Israel to slaughter the Palestinians. That is our message today is call your congressman, call your senators, tell them to stop aide for this brutal apartheid military occupation of Palestine."
Tillawi said rallies in support of Palestine are happening all over the world, and all over this country.
"This is nothing compared to what's going on all over the world," he said, gesturing to the Lafayette rally. "The whole world is waking up. Many many countries, many people around the world are waking up to the reality of the brutality of the Israeli army and the Israeli apartheid regime.
"The main way people can help, is to get involved. Find the truth about what is happening. There's a lot of lies in the media about who the Palestinians are and who the Israelis are. Basically what everyone needs to understand, they need to know the truth about who the Palestinians are. You either contribute money to kill them, or voice your opposition to the carnage."