Every time I hear American journalists use words like “storming”, “rioting”, “infiltrating” and “terror, terrorism and terrorist” in describing Palestinian protesters marching with flags, or youth throwing stones at tanks, APC’s, and soldiers armed with American weapons, I vow to support those who march for their dignity and resist the theft of their lands and resources.
Every time I read that Palestinian youth throwing stones are met with Israeli soldiers firing teargas, rubber bullets and live ammunition, and now, using attack dogs, I vow to support the youth being shot and mauled.
Every time Israeli soldiers kill a child and our country declares Israel has a right to defend itself, I vow to stand with the children.
Every time America proclaims that people have a right to freedom, and my country acquiesces as non-violent Palestinian activists are shot, I vow to stand with the activists.
Every time America lashes out at China and other countries for the illegal detention of dissidents yet remain mute regarding the thousands of Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, (including over 300 children), I vow to stand with the prisoners.
Every time I hear our Congress pushing resolutions that deny the Palestinians their rights and blame them for their plight, I vow to stand by the oppressed.
Every time I hear our representatives veto resolutions at the UN aimed to hold Israel accountable, I vow to stand with those denied a voice.
Every time I hear Netanyahu proclaim that non-violent Palestinian protesters are intent on “destroying Israel”, and my country stands mute, I declare that my voice will be heard.
Every time I hear someone deny the Nakba (which continues to this day in the Jordan valley and throughout the West Bank) and deny the rights of Palestinians the very same rights we claim are “universal” for others- the right to security, the right to self-determination, the right to land and resources, the right to medical care, the very right “to exist”, I vow to support the Palestinian people in securing these rights.
Every time an innocent dies for the rights and freedoms I take for granted, I vow to stand up in the face of oppression.
Every time I am called an anti-Semite or a “supporter of terror”, I vow to speak the truth to what I witness.
Every time I hear a new war crime charge against “our enemy” while the United States and “our friend” kills with impunity, I vow to stand for justice.
This spring I will join with others on the “audacity of Hope” the American flagged ship sailing to Gaza to break the illegal siege and bring relief and aid to Gaza’s people. For those of you who would like voice your support, the US to Gaza organizers are soliciting letters of support for the Gazan people as well as donations to fund our trip. You can read more about this effort at www.ustogaza.org.
Johnny Barber has traveled to Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Lebanon to bear witness and document the suffering of people who are affected by war. He has just returned from Jordan & Syria where he worked to document the issues facing Iraqi refugees. He can be contacted through his blog at www.oneBrightpearl-jb.blogspot.com