by RONNIE LEE
“Apartheid is a crime against humanity.
Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians
of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated
a system of gross racial discrimination and
inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and
tortured thousands of Palestinians,
contrary to the rules of international law.
It has, in particular, waged a war against
a civilian population, in particular children.”
– Nelson Mandela
Palestinian nationalism rose as an anti-colonial movement from 1882 to 1948, and to this day, Palestine continues to fight and claw its way to independence. To the misinformed, the movement may seem to be violent acts of terrorism that are anti-Semitic in its roots. But that is a far cry from the truth. And the truth is this: the people of Palestine simply wish to be treated like humans. To have a homeland free from military rule. To never again worry about their safety, or hear the explosions of rockets. To roam free on the streets and live peacefully in their homes without worries of forced eviction.
The continuing provocation by the state of Israel against the freedom-loving Palestinians will only increase the likelihood of future retaliation. The recent conflict brought to light once more the harrowing plight of the Palestinians. We are not only reminded of Palestine’s never-ending fight for freedom, but also how the rest of the world has failed to help the oppressed people of Palestine.
Instead of branding these people as terrorists, democratic nations must support and start to legitimize the Palestinian struggle. Marc Lamont Hill, a former CNN commentator, delivered a speech at the U.N. in support of the Palestinians’ self-determination. He put into words what nations should strive to bring to reality.
He said, “We must advocate and promote non-violence at every opportunity. But we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing. We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action, and international action that will give us what justice requires. And that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
The persistent march of the Palestinian people toward liberation from oppression and tyranny is not measured by the number of steps they make, but by the loudness of their steps towards freedom. But because they continue to be silenced by their oppressors, the rest of the world must march louder than ever before, in solidarity with and for Palestine. PMT