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Zatoun at Zocalo

March 17, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

‘The taste of peace – a good news story from a place where and about there is very little good news’.

With these words Robert Massoud opened his presentation to a lively audience of 40 social activists and Fair Trade supporters who gathered at Zocalo’s in Courtenay on Sunday March 13 to learn more about Zatoun and Palestine.

Robert Massoud is a Christian Palestinian born in Jerusalem the holy land he refers to as the original multicultural and multireligious city. Living in Canada since the age of 6 Robert has always known that at some time he would need to stand up and say, I am Palestinian, using his voice and the safety of his Canadian citizenship to help support the struggle of his people and his homeland. He has chosen to do this through his non-profit group Zatoun creating demand in North American for the Zatoun brand Palestinian olive oil (Fair trade).

Robert’s heartfelt words delivered a powerful and symbolic message about the state of the Palestinian people. The brutal military occupation has taken away every normal aspect of life in the occupied territories where Palestinians often cannot leave their houses, cannot go to their olive groves, to school, to visit their grandmothers, or travel to neighbouring communities. The psychological terror in the daily uncertainty of what the day will bring and how their lives will be changed is now a multigenerational reality for the people of Palestine. That the olives are harvested, pressed, made into oil, bottled and labeled and packed into a carton and shipped to Canada is a triumph and a miracle. This simple activity is one way the Palestinian olive oil producers are able to maintain a livelihood.

Zatoun is the Arabic word for olive, and says Robert ‘Zatoun is Palestine in a bottle’. The olive tree is ubiquitous in Palestine, it is the single most recognized entity in the landscape and the Palestinian people have adopted the olive tree as a symbol of their land and their attachment to their land. Through the olive tree the Palestinian people maintain their quiet resistance to the military occupation of their land, their determined daily commitment to survival and the maintenance of their families, culture and society.

World Community has been a supporter of Zatoun since the founding seven years ago and is proud to market a portion of the 28,000 bottles of this message of peace and miracle of production that find their way to Canada annually. Fair Trade Zatoun Olive Oil can be purchased at the World Community Centre in Tin Town – Open every Friday 11am-1pm.

(FMI: see Fair Trade Products on our website)

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