Lebanon News

Sidon marks Ramadan, honors Palestinian heritage

Ramadan nights in Sidon have become something of a regular fixture. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

SIDON, Lebanon: Ramadan nights in Sidon have become something of a regular fixture for residents and visitors looking to celebrate post-iftar evenings during the holy month.

Old Sidon marked Ramadan Saturday evening with a night honoring traditional Palestinian heritage, featuring a colorful song and dance performance by Al Kofiya Palestinian Heritage Group. A boisterous audience cheered, clapped and participated in the revelry along with the performers. In addition to the show, visitors could buy goods and handicrafts on display at the old souk’s Khan al-Franj.

The evening’s celebrations came just a few days after Palestinians marked the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe.

It marks the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland during the war that surrounded the creation of Israel in 1948.

Sidon MP Bahia Hariri and Fatah Movement Secretary Fathi Abu al-Ardat were among those in attendance. “It is natural for our Palestinian brethren to participate in Sidon’s Ramadan nights,” Hariri said during the event. “In this city, we are united in our support for the Palestinian plight.”

The Sidon MP called on tourists and Lebanese from all areas to visit the southern city and enjoy the Ramadan festivities it offered.

During a Ramadan event last week, Interior Minister Raya El Hassan joined the celebrations, during which she assured citizens that the security situation in the city was under control.

Security in Sidon is a regular focus of the city’s officials, given the presence of Palestinian refugee camps there. Sidon is home to the country’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, Ain al-Hilweh, and Mieh Mieh, both of which have frequently experienced clashes among Palestinian factions.

Abu al-Ardat said that stability in the Mieh Mieh camp was reassuring to visitors and the city’s residents. Recently, the Army reached a deal with the main Palestinian factions to rid the Mieh Mieh camp of most of its weapons. - Writing by Ghinwa Obeid

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 20, 2019, on page 3.




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