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Halifax Celebrates 40 Years of Dr. Zayid

Interview with Dr. Ismail Zayid, on being displaced and staying positive

by Miles Howe

Dr. Ismail Zayid [photo: Miles Howe]
Dr. Ismail Zayid [photo: Miles Howe]

K'jipuktuk (Halifax) - Dr. Ismail Zayid, like millions of indigenous Palestinians scattered the world over, is still waiting for the first convenient opportunity (as yet to be determined by the Israeli government) whereby he might return to his home. Now 79, Dr. Zayid has been in something of a holding pattern for over 45 years.

In 1967, his village, Beit Nuba, was forcefully emptied of inhabitants and then dynamited by the Israeli army. The rubble was then covered by the infamous Canada Park. Canada Park is a Jewish National Fund-sponsored (made possible with tax-deductible donations) arboretum of sorts whose real purpose would appear to be to not only "greenwash" history, but to also make free of Palestinians the highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Now, grass-covered rubble and the odd piece of rebar are all that remains of Zayid's ancestral home as well as the villages of Imwas and Yalu, which also were destroyed in this particular effort.

Palestine's loss, in this case, has been Halifax's gain. Dr. Zayid, retired professor emeritus of pathology at the Dalhousie school of medicine, has been a cornerstone of the academic and medical fields, and has tirelessly pushed awareness of the global Palestinian struggle since arriving in Nova Scotia four decades ago.

His 40 years of community work and activism will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 19th, from 6-8pm, at the Jerusalem Cafe, as he will be presented with a "Distinguished Humanitarian" award by Canadian, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace.

Please enjoy the following interview with Dr. Ismail Zayid.

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