They’re Arresting the Wrong People Inside of Congress

Image courtesy Celâl Güneş

I was arrested again inside of Congress for speaking out against US-backed genocide. Myself and others were brutally tackled and carried out of the room by Capitol Police. I was charged with “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” for speaking out and holding a sign as the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense testified in Congress for more money for the endless US war machine.

While they are arresting peace activists for exercising first amendment rights they are making plans to host Netanyahu- a war criminal with an actual arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court.

For decades, people following CODEPINK’s lead have been protesting inside the halls of Congress. The year before October 7, there were a handful of us protesting the bloated military budgets and the US warmongering. I was arrested several times on my own, but since October, dozens of us have been arrested in Congress, hundreds in DC, and thousands across the US and the world for Palestine.

The sustained energy and activism are the result of the 40,000+ thousands of Palestinians murdered, millions being starved and displaced, their land, water, and air poisoned, and neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, and refugee camps demolished.

The real criminals are the ones we are protesting against–the ones literally sitting directly in front of us inside the hearing room–and should be the ones arrested, charged, and found guilty for the war criminals they are funding and supporting and the war crimes they are committing.

Any of us speaking and acting out on the side of justice know we are taking risks. We see it as our duty as people in the US in solidarity with and inspired by the Palestinian people facing and resisting this horror.

As I await my court date, I think of the people I spent the night with at the DC detention facility. Just this year, there have been 5 deaths inside the D.C. jail. The dozen or so women in there reminded me that poverty is a policy choice and our carceral, systemically racist state perpetuates harm and cycles of violence.

According to the US Center for Palestinian Rights in Washington DC, for this year alone (before our additional billions of aid weresent), $15,596,311 to Israel’s weapons could instead fund 451,735 households with public housing, 1,322,199 children receiving free or low-cost healthcare, 41,490 elementary school teachers, 10,818,505 households with solar electricity produce, and 100,563 students with their loan debt canceled.

The fight against US militarism is one where the climate, feminist, Indigenous, economic, and racial justice movements are all uniting around right now. And as it deepens and strengthens, we must become more organized as we escalate while we continue to make those in power uncomfortable.

Olivia DiNucci is an anti-militarism and climate justice organizer based in Washington DC.