The barren and sad-looking concrete shell of the building, which has served as the home of the families of SUMOUD since their eviction from the Siwanne tent camp in April this year, changed its appearance on 26 August 1998, as SUMOUD prepared for its first anniversary festival. Camp residents and their local and international supporters raised a large banner above the main entrance reading "SUMOUD - Compound of Steadfastness in Jerusalem", worked feverishly to complete the basic installations of the new children's learning center, and set up a symbolic tent and a small stage in the SUMOUD yard adjacent Nablus Road. In the early afternoon, everything was ready: children's drawings and photo exhibits decorated the entrance hall, music and drums sounding from the building showed even to uniformed passers- by that SUMOUD was on the map and celebrating a special event.
The festival itself was a success. The children of SUMOUD, representatives of the Residents' Council and the Lobby for Human Rights in Jerusalem presented SUMOUD's concerns and demands to the approximately 200 visitors, activists and press. IBDA' Children Dancing Troop from Deheishe Refugee Camp performed the story of the Palestinian refugees in the new SUMOUD learning center, their vitality creating a spirit of power and hope. Roses were distributed to SUMOUD mothers as a sign of gratitude and recognition for their endurance and patience. At 6pm some 150 SUMOUD children, women, men, supporters and guests took to the street in a protest march. The march led past the US Consulate and concluded in front of the Israeli Interior Ministry in East Jerusalem. The participants held signs reading "No peace without our capital Jerusalem", "Stop Ethnic Cleansing in Jerusalem", "Stop the Demolition of Palestinian Homes".
However, much remains to be done to make the case of SUMOUD a final success. Learning center, lavatories and preparations for the cold winter months must be completed in order to make life in SUMOUD endurable. The endurance of the residents of SUMOUD can be strengthened by the active, political and moral support provided locally and internationally for their central demands: ADEQUATE HOUSING IN JERUSALEM FOR THE PEOPLE OF SUMOUD STOP ISRAEL'S POLICY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING IN JERUSALEM
This event was organized by the SUMOUD Residents' Council, the SUMOUD Solidarity Committee, and the Lobby for Human Rights in Jerusalem. Special thanks to: IBDA' Children's Dancing Troop, al-Wasiti Center for Art, the Palestinian Land Defense Committee, the Center for Arabic Music, the Palestinian Theater Group, AFSC and the Jerusalem Fund.