Editor’s note: A peaceful rally and march will be held this Sunday, Nov. 19, beginning at 1 p.m. at Sarnia City Hall.
You may have recently noticed pro-Palestinian demonstrations at City Hall. Meet the heart behind Sarnia’s Ceasefire Rallies: Layal Mansour
Mansour, a mother of 5 and a Canadian Palestinian, first moved to Sarnia with her family in 2017.
“As a mom, I felt paralyzed to live my normal life and see the people, especially the kids, in Gaza being killed in cold blood. It’s not only a crime. It’s a genocide, it’s ethnic cleansing. 40% of the people being killed are kids.”
A family-friendly event, where adults hold signs and engage in discussions with residents, while the children play together with sidewalk chalk; A reminder that all children deserve to be safe and carefree.
Mansour was unsure at first about the community’s response. However, after seeing drivers honking in support, she was comforted.
“They are human. They just want more awareness and want to be liberated from the controlled media,” she says. “I felt that this is my part. Maybe if I tell someone the truth, this person can tell another one and the cycle will be bigger and bigger.”
She admits that more work needs to be done by local media and leaders in acknowledging these rallies.
Mansour wants to make one thing clear: “We are against the loss of all innocent people, regardless of which side they are. I don’t want them to label us as pro-Hamas. We are here to ask for a ceasefire. Our message is a humanitarian message. We are Palestinians. We are here, pro-Palestinians.”
Obadah Shadid, a fellow Canadian Palestinian who has been actively participating in the rallies shares: “We’re here to raise awareness about the situation and fight for a fair narrative, to say the least. At the end of the day, there is only one truth.”
When asked what he would tell his fellow residents, Shadid said, “We’re very thankful for the community. Every time they’re driving by, they’ve been recognizing that we’re here. If you want to know what’s really happening, please come. Bring a coffee or we’ll get you one. We’d love to chat with you.”
And Mansour’s message to local leaders and media?
“Try to come. Try to see our point of view. Try to understand us. I want them to imagine that their families are under this situation. What would they do?”
Readers may access the full version of this letter and a photo gallery on Reddit.com/u/sarniavoices