Six paintings displayed on a table in the Kitchener City Hall.
PHI DOAN PHOTOS

SPORAS SCATTERED HOSTS EXHIBIT AND POETRY COMPETITION FOR PALESTINE

While rallies and vigils in support of Palestine continue in the region, Sporas Scattered is also creating space for sharing and healing. Sporas Scattered is a local organization celebrating Palestinian culture in the region.  

“[We aim to] revive the core and the trueness of the Palestinian identity, to remind the Palestinian youth and the community at large that the Palestinian identity cannot be really diminished to this narrative of catastrophe,” Suhaila Salah, co-founder of Sporas Scattered, said. 

From Jan. 27 to Jan. 29, 2024, Sporas Scattered hosted the Tell My Story art exhibit at Kitchener City Hall. The event featured vendors, charities, visual and digital art pieces, music and dance performances, and the organization’s first annual poetry competition. 

The name of the exhibit was inspired by Refaat Alareer’s poem, If I Must Die

“If I must die/you must live/to tell my story,” the poem reads.  

The Soul of My Soul poetry competition received nearly 30 submissions from Palestinian and Arab community members between ages 9 and 25. The winners were Fouad Manaa for elementary school cohort, Rafeef Abu-Ewimer for the middle school cohort, Yasmin Arebi for the high school cohort and Dana Hassan for the university cohort.  

The poetry competition was named after a Palestinian granddaughter, Reem who was killed in an airstrike in November 2023. Khaled Nabhan, Reem’s grandfather, called her “soul of my soul.”  

Abu-Ewimer returned to Palestine for the first time in 10 years in 2023. She reconnected with extended family and her culture shortly before Oct. 7, 2023. Now, when she does not hear from her cousins for extended periods of time, she becomes very nervous.  

“It was always my dream just to see [my family]. It was like my top priority,” Abu-Ewimer said. “I talk to my cousins, but sometimes, they don’t reply for like a week, which currently gets me nervous, but then they reply, which is a big relief,” 

Among other organizations, Sporas Scattered works with Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) as well. Salah said members of IJV fight against the idea of Judaism as a monolith.  

“When I worked with our friends from [IJV], they’re angry because all of a http://sudden…they’re being mushed into this narrative of doing Judaism being a monolithic religion, and it’s taking their identity away from them,” 

She said the exhibit encouraged having an open mind when engaging with different communities. 

“We all need to have an open mind. We can’t see peace if we are all just coming in with a judgment about the other party,” 

“And this art exhibit is a chance for people to really come and see what we actually http://believe…the power of a listening ear is so much stronger than what people anticipate,” Salah said. 

Adam Alhares is the co-owner of Damask Resto Market, which was a vendor at the exhibit. As a Palestinian person, he said seeing many people of different backgrounds learning about his culture was heartening.  

“[There were people of] all different cultures who are talking and in support of [Palestine],” he said. “I felt like it was very nice, especially that we’re Palestinian to see more of that or more of our culture being out there,” 

Alhares encouraged seeking more information about ongoing conflicts in the world. He said if a person does not have enough information on a topic, they should ask questions and remain curious.  

“Ask questions about what’s going on and expand your knowledge about the world, not only Palestine,” he said. “It’s better to ask if you don’t know,” 

For more information, visit Sporas Scattered on Instagram @sporasscattered.