Free Hugs… Free Palestine – The Tale of Linda and Eva Encountering a Zio

Linda Belanger, a dedicated social justice advocate and a long-term Canadian friend of Palestine, sent me the following message:

Hi Monzer,

Last week, Eva Bartlett who has been dubbed Canada’s Rachel Corrie for her work with the ISM in Gaza was in Ottawa.  I arranged an interview for her on the local talk show Michael Harris Live on CFRA radio.   Michael Harris has been outspoken on the issue of Palestinian rights.  He had her on for a full hour!  She did a great interview and when we left the station, we both wanted a beer to wind down so we headed across the street to the nearest watering hole, the Auld Dublin pub in the Byward Market.

We were sitting at a window seat when four young men came by, two  in Halloween costume, one with an Occupy Wall Street T-Shirt and a bull horn shouting things like “join us, we are the 99%” AND a fourth with a sign that said FREE HUGS, FREE PALESTINE (see attached photo).

Eva saw them first and started waving her kaffieh.  I think I heard one guy at the table beside us say Free Palestine-Yes.  They came to the window and we were giving them thumbs ups, blowing kisses and waving the kaffieh.  Another guy at the table against the wall seemed to be grumbling but we did not make much of it.  Eva decided to go outside and take a picture of them to send back to her husband and his family in Gaza who know about the new Canada and do not like it.  The grumbler followed her out.  As it turns out he was a Zionist and did not like their sign and her kaffieh and started harassing them.  Eva, who confronted the IDF, has been tear gassed and had bullets fly inches from her ears was not about to let herself be intimidated and confronted him with some facts.

Next thing I know, he is coming back into the pub saying he is going to call the police.  He gets on the phone to the police and starts telling them how he has been harassed and that he is just shaking.  He is about 6’3” and well over 200 lbs.  Eva is 5’4’’ and no more than 100 lbs and the young guy is holding a sign saying Free Hugs…  What a fright!  The Zio is the one who went after them and is claiming HE was harassed and is “shaking… just shaking”  !!!!!  The police arrived and talked to the peaceful demonstrators, who were still outside, for a few minutes.  Apparently they asked if the guy seemed sane.  The demonstrators replied that he seemed sane, just really mad.  The cops went into the pub and talked to him for a while.

When they came back out they were not the slightest bit interested in the “culprits” but nonetheless a few ladies of a certain age who had witnessed the argument insisted on telling the police that they saw everything and the Zio was the one who was doing the harassing.

We stood around on the street for a while talking and the Free Hugs Free Palestine guy was offering hugs to random old ladies, mothers with strollers and even a fat old guy.  For the most part people took him up on it.


I thought Linda’s message was worthy of sharing with visitors of Alcanaanite’s Blog.

Monzer Zimmo
Ottawa, Canada

Hope is the stuff from which life is made!

About Alcanaanite

Monzer Zimmo, a Palestinian-Canadian living and working in Ottawa, Canada. Monzer is an advocate of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the peaceful creation of a bi-national-democratic state on all the territory of historic Palestine, where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others live together as equal citizens; be and feel safe, secure, and at home.
This entry was posted in Canada, Non-violent Resistance. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Free Hugs… Free Palestine – The Tale of Linda and Eva Encountering a Zio

  1. Mostafa Zommo says:

    I love this story. The voice of justice can’t be silenced however faint. Decent people on all sides of the Palestinian tragedy will eventually rise and put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people so that justice and peace for ALL will be a reality.

  2. Oussama El-Mohtar says:

    Go Eva, Go Linda. Thanks Monzer for sharing.

  3. Love this story so much, baba! xxo

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