Memorial Protest

Plant een Olijfboom” (Plant an Olive tree) is a non-profit organization which plant olive trees and date palms on Palestine territory to ensure they keep the claim to their land. How and why they do this is perfectly explained on their website, in Dutch. You can sponsor a tree! With the current genocide against the Palestinians there is more work on their plate. They raise funds for aid which will get to the people in need as they have a large local network. They raise awareness in The Netherlands.

One of the ways they raise awareness is reading the names and ages of all Palestinian children who died during the genocide. They do this in front of a ‘field’ of children’s shoes.

May 12, 2024, it was Mother’s Day and Day of the Healthcare Workers. A perfect day for a Memorial Protest in Haarlem. From 11:00 in the morning till 17:00 the names and ages of the dead children were read aloud by different speakers on the market square, which was filled with row after row of children shoes. Every ten minutes a new speaker was reading names. This was good for two reasons. It is an emotional burden for the speaker to announce dead children. As visitor you don’t hear the names after two minutes as the speaker becomes background noise. After each speaker a bel rang, and it was announced that every ten minutes a Palestinian child dies.

Besides reading the names of the children there where a few blocks in which the healthcare workers took the stage. They read the names of lost colleagues in Gaza and their profession. Doctors, specialists, nurses who are not there anymore to help their patients.

At the end of the protest Esther van der Mos, the director of Plant een Olijfboom, thanked everybody for coming and ask for help with packing and loading the shoes. The public did help! Twenty pairs of shoes in each bag. A truck full. That sounds like a lot, but it is not enough to give a pair to each of the 15.000 dead children.

Click on the photos to enlarge.