Saturday, November 7, 2015
Here is a speech from Ahmad Jitan on behalf of Muslims for Social Justice at Palestine Solidarity march and rally in Durham on 10/30/15.
"As we stand here in solidarity with Palestine, I want to first recognize the land that we stand on.
This is a land that was ethnically cleansed of its indigenous populations by European settlers who saw it as their divine right.
So I want to bring to mind and honor the indigenous people of this land, those who have passed and those who continue to struggle and live in a country that was founded upon their genocide.
A country that was founded to preserve the life, liberty, and property of white, male, land-owners who enslaved Africans to build their promised land.
They try and make us forget the history of this land and the histories of the people who inhabit it. But we have not forgotten, and we know what is going on today is intimately connected to that history. We have not forgotten. We are here. We are proud and dignified.
I’m here today a son of Palestinian refugees, and we are here today to honor and be in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle. A people who have been and are continuing to be ethnically cleansed by European settlers who see it as their divine right.
A country claimed to have been founded as a homeland for the Jewish people but brutalizes, sterilizes, and imprisons them when they are African.
Which is to say, when I say “Free Free Palestine” I know that dream is not possible just when the occupation ends or when there is a Palestinian state. Which is to say, as I struggle for a free Palestine, I must also struggle for the liberation for all people. Here in the United States, in the South, in Durham, NC that means standing in solidarity for the liberation and self-determination of Black people in this country.
It’s necessary not just as an ethical imperative or a theoretical connection, our lives are materially tied.
The tear gas canisters, the guns, the bombs, the walls, that brutalize, terrorize, murder, and displace our communities are funded by the same sources and produced by the same companies worldwide. They share tactics and information in order how to best oppress us.
White supremacy, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy are global phenomenons. We each have unique histories and particular struggles, yet we are still connected in our fight for justice.
I’m here with Muslims for Social Justice, a grassroots organization based here in the triangle dedicated to fighting racism, white supremacy, and sexism within as well as beyond the Muslim community. I want to make it clear, for those who still may be confused, that the Palestinian struggle isn’t a religious conflict or a war between Muslims and Jews, but a struggle for self-determination against settler-colonialism. Muslims and Muslim communities, however are under attack. When Israel raids al-Aqsa, they are raiding a sanctuary, a religious and cultural symbol for many Palestinian people.
It’s a tactic we see by white supremacists here in the states. In just the past three weeks, six black churches were burned to the ground in the St. Louis area. This is not a coincidence. When they see you fighting for your freedom, they terrorize you by targeting your places of worship, congregation, and community. Your places of safety and security.
Islamophobia has been around since the founding of this country, when the first Muslims who made it to this continent were enslaved Africans.
Today, Islamophobia fuels global wars on “terror” and justifies the expansion of the surveillance and police state here at home in order to protect us from “foreign invaders” and “sharia law.”
In the face of all this, I take hope that I am not struggling alone. I take hope in the ancestors who have paved the way for our struggle and I take hope in the many many leaders of our movement who continue to pave the way toward justice and freedom."