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I spent the summer of 2017 in Palestine, living and teaching in Ramallah, traveling around the West Bank & Jerusalem, visiting my family in Akka. It was transformative for many reasons, one being seeing with my own eyes Israel's brutal oppression as an occupying power. This reality is also confirmed by the reports of prominent international human rights organizations.


Now, after the latest massacre in Gaza that left 248 Palestinians dead, including 66 children, and over 1,900 wounded, I've spent a lot of time in silence, wondering what to write here. What is there for me to say that hasn't already been said by activists who can say it far better than I - and whose words still fall on deaf ears? What is there for me to say when grief clogs my throat, as it does the throat of every Palestinian around the world? I am privileged enough to carry this grief around my safe, comfortable American house, while overseas my people are left with destruction that will take years to rebuild and children who are traumatized and considering su*cide at ever-raising rates.


I'm going to link a lot of accessible resources to this post. What I'd ask is, please take the time to check at least one of them out. It's okay to not know everything, to have questions, to have doubts. It's not okay to bury your head in the sand and choose to not learn when learning is an option (especially when, as US taxpayers, we are complicit - see more below).


Before I link resources, here's my humble offering. It's a poem for every one of us who is embedded in the struggle against injustice worldwide, and a reminder that all of us - and all of life - are interconnected.


nature is full of freedom fighters (a story of the people)


when we say

our existence is resistance

it’s not just a protest sign


you bomb us

you beat us

you jail us


which is to say, brother,

you bomb you

you beat you

you jail you


you shut (y)our eyes with phosphorus

and label us the unseeing

you kill (y)our children in the streets

and call us the unliving


you cut down (y)our trees

and burn (y)our land

and take (y)our homes

and try to claim a country

by distorting a religion

we've heard this story before


you spread us out

around the earth

which we fertilize

with our tears


now there is no land

that does not know our struggle

and the trees root for our resistance

the wind carries our songs of freedom

the ocean roars in rage

and the stars are always watching

to tell God what you’ve done


the plants heal us

the rivers hold us

and there is nowhere you can go

that will not demand a reckoning

don’t you hear the question of the birds?

do you see what you’ve done?

look at what you’ve done.


our people are loud and ceaseless

and in the unseeing we know

our people are strong and angry

and in the unliving we are miracles


our existence is resistance

and nature is full of freedom fighters


Resources

  1. On the history of Palestine & creation of Israel through today: https://decolonizepalestine.com/introduction-to-palestine/

  2. Myths about the Palestinian struggle: https://decolonizepalestine.com/myths/

  3. Common questions about Palestine: https://decolonizepalestine.com/faq/

  4. For the readers, a fantastic reading list: https://decolonizepalestine.com/reading-list/

  5. About BDS (the Palestinian boycott, divest, and sanction movement): https://bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds

  6. Resources on the US - Israel relationship:

  7. Noam Chomsky's Explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUQ_0MubbcM

  8. The US gives the Israeli military $3.8 billion a year - that same amount could fund healthcare for 1.6 million children in the US: https://uscpr.org/militaryfunding

  9. This relationship & its resulting oppression is largely fueled by Christian evangelicals: https://truthout.org/articles/progressives-cant-ignore-role-of-christian-zionism-in-colonization-of-palestine/ + + https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/05/14/half-of-evangelicals-support-israel-because-they-believe-it-is-important-for-fulfilling-end-times-prophecy/

  10. Why some Christians do (and all Christians should) support the Palestinian struggle: https://sojo.net/articles/us-christians-can-t-ignore-israel-s-ongoing-occupation-palestine + https://www.kairospalestine.ps

  11. Jewish organizations in solidarity with Palestine:

  12. IfNotNow. Here is a link to their stance on hot button issues: https://www.ifnotnowmovement.org/on-the-issues

  13. Jewish Voice for Peace. Here is a link to their article on Zionism: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/zionism/ and here is a general resource guide: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/conversations/#introduction

  14. Black American and Palestinian solidarity:

  15. Articles: https://prospect.org/world/black-lives-matter-palestinian-resistance-and-the-ties-that-bind/ + https://uscpr.org/blackpalestiniansolidarity/ + https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/05/black-lives-matter-israel-palestine.html

  16. Youtube video in conversation with Black and Palestinian activists (hosted by Dream Defenders): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqn2_os_LJY

  17. BLM statement on Palestine: https://twitter.com/Blklivesmatter/status/1394289672101064704

  18. Indigenous American and Palestinian Solidarity:

  19. Tewa Women United's statement on Palestine: https://tewawomenunited.org/2021/05/statement-on-gaza-and-palestine

  20. Palestinian solidarity at Standing Rock: https://palestinianyouthmovement.com/from-standing-rock-to-palestine

  21. NAISA Declaration of Support for Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions: https://www.naisa.org/about/documents-archive/previous-council-statements/#palestine

  22. Palestinian organizations to check out (our story is often told from every perspective except ours):

  23. For news, The IMEU: https://imeu.org

  24. For rad activism and organizing, check out Palestinian Youth Movement: https://palestinianyouthmovement.com

  25. For a legal perspective, check out Palestine Legal: https://palestinelegal.org and CCR: https://ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/issues/palestinian-solidarity

  26. Other advocacy/legal organizations: https://www.adalahjusticeproject.org + https://www.addameer.org

  27. On antisemitism

  28. Palestinian activists condemn antisemitism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5MWIXlB7dk

  29. Antisemitism and anti-Zionism are not the same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsEzZdR69vg (Noam Chomsky); https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/03/anti-zionism-antisemitism-hate-speech-israel-palestine (Sumaya Awad)

  30. Instagrams to follow:

  31. The IMEU

  32. Let's Talk Palestine (good place to start if you're feeling overwhelmed)

  33. Palestinian Youth Movement

  34. If Not Now

  35. Search the hashtag #savesheikhjarrah for an abundance of further information

  36. Films you can watch to learn more:

  37. https://www.savoirflair.com/culture/547678/documentaries-and-films-about-palestine

  38. Action Items

  39. Educate yourself + your community with the resources above

  40. Amplify the Palestinian struggle by sharing resources you find meaningful to your social media

  41. Global Calendar of Resistance (find a protest near you): https://samidoun.net/2021/05/global-calendar-of-resistance-join-these-events-to-defend-palestine/

  42. Updated calls to action: https://samidoun.net/category/take-action/

  43. Send a pre-drafted letter to Congress: https://act.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/a/stop-weapons?sourceid=1001495 + https://secure.everyaction.com/1bUDFJrq_kWz5sjKEeyoPQ2

  44. Send a pre-drafted letter to the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense: https://secure.everyaction.com/wUAYmd6RzEacXxN3WQuYQQ2

xx

Yasmeen

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