Following the execution of an unarmed black youth by a police officer, images of the over the top militarized response in Missouri toward an entire community have gone around the world. Even the press has been targeted. Many in Gaza have taken note of this, and have offered much appreciated support and advice to the besieged people of Ferguson. For instance, Gazans, via Twitter, advised protestors on how to dilute the acerbic sting of tear gas. This should not be surprising in the least. After all, the Palestinians know better than most of how to cope with the brutality of state violence.
Gaza is an open air prison where 1.8 million people are surrounded by walls, barbed wire and sentry towers; and where they are subjected to collective punishment, humiliation and dehumanization by an occupying military. Their diet is strictly controlled, their water is mostly contaminated. And when they try to fish or farm they are routinely fired upon. They understand what it is like to be in captivity with no voice.
Ferguson is a microcosm of the institutionalized systems of racism that have been permitted to fester and entrench themselves within the American landscape. It is a visible manifestation of the pernicious segregation that never completely dissolved. And so it naturally has parallels to other marginalized and disenfranchised communities the world over, including Gaza.
Solidarity in the struggle against tyranny between two different peoples is irreproachable. It is the recognition that ordinary people anywhere in the world not only wish to live in peace, but demand social and economic justice for their communities. When we finally realize that our strength lies in our interdependence, and is the only answer to state violence and oppression, the powerful tremble. They should. Because this kind of non-violent resistance is formidable. And the legacy of our shared humanity endures far longer than their brutality ever could.
Kenn Orphan 2014
(Photo is of two women attending a vigil in Ferguson, Missouri/Twitter)