Indigenous and People of Color Delegation to Palestine | 2016
Overview: The Indigenous and People of Color Delegation highlights connections between struggles. This second collection of reflections from the delegation focuses on those connections.
The collection begins in the Palestinian village of Bil'in where delegation members from the Movement for Black Lives lead songs of resistance. Next are two collections of photos: the first of the delegation with their hosts - the organizers and revolutionaries of the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh - where they spent the night; the second detailing the connections forged through tear gas. Both Bil'in and Nabi Saleh are engaged in ongoing popular resistance struggles against Israeli appropriation of their lands and resources. Next, delegation member Heather Milton Lightening shares a powerful set of reflections on dispossession and colonization. Then, delegation co-leader Ahmad Abuznaid shares several snapshots of struggle. Finally, Brittany Oliver writes about the plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
"Which Side Are You On?" | Bil'in
Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, an organizer with Project South and the Movement for Black Lives, is joined by Black Lives Matter organizers Jay-Marie Hill, Tanya Lucia Bernard, and others as they lead a stirring rendition of the classic "Which Side Are You On?" This video was shot in the Palestinian village of Bil'in and shared by Manal Tamimi, an organizer from the village of Nabi Saleh.
The delegation visited both villages, sharing stories of life and resistance with the residents. Both Bil'in and Nabi Saleh are engaged in ongoing struggles agains the confiscation of their village lands and resources by Israel for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and the Wall.
The Indigenous and People of Color Delegation includes activists and organizers in the Movement for Black Lives, indigenous activists from North America, undocumented immigrant rights organizers, Palestinian-American community leaders, and more.
This is the final collection of reflections from the delegation. More updates are pending, including original videos and more!
Homestays | Nabi Saleh
Ashara Ekundayo, cultural worker and community leader from Oakland, shared this photo from the delegation's homestay. Members of the delegation with community members and organizers of Nabi Saleh. Photo by Carlton Mackey.
|READ REFLECTIONS FROM THE DELEGATION:
- IPOC Delegation Home
- "We Cried Bitter Tears"
- The Movement for Black Lives in Palestine
|VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE DELEGATION:
Tear Gas, Made in the USA | Nabi Saleh
In attempts to suppress the popular protests in Nabi Saleh and other Palestinian villages, Israeli occupation forces make use of copious amounts of tear gas. The gas, and a variety of spent gas canisters, is ubiquitous in these villages. Every Palestinian resident knows the smell and the taste. As Manal Tamimi, one of the organizers in Nabi Saleh explains:
“At first, we hid our children from the protests, sending them to other villages or homes farther from the center of town to try and protect them. But then we thought to ourselves, ‘what are we teaching our kids?’ We don’t want to teach them to run away from their problems; we want to teach them how to confront them. So we taught them how to observe the direction of the wind in order to escape the tear gas. We taught them how to locate snipers and the best way to run from live ammunition. We know we must teach them to break the barrier of fear that the Israelis want us to feel. We must teach them to control fear and not let fear control them.”
When the popular movement erupted in Ferguson in 2014, people from Nabi Saleh were among the Palestinians who reached out to protesters on the street to offer tips on how to deal with tear gas.
These photos of spent tear gas canisters in Nabi Saleh were shot by delegation members Carlton Mackey and Rahiel Tesfamariam:
Dispossession and Colonization | Haifa, Naqab Desert, North America
Heather Milton Lightening is a Native American organizer and community leader. In a series of posts on Facebook, she shares stories of dispossession and colonization.
The first video is shot in Haifa during a tour with members of Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. The second video is shot in the northern foothills of the Naqab (Negev) Desert near the South Hebron Hills. The third post was shared by Heather during the delegation and addresses what she terms "lessons I learned from #colonization while being here in occupied Palestine."
Snapshots of Struggle | Palestine
Delegation co-leader, Ahmad Abuznaid of the Dream Defenders, posted these three images on Instagram. Each captures a snapshot of a struggle which the delegation held as they journeyed through Palestine.
Brittany Oliver, a community activist, organizer and educator in Baltimore, filed this reflection on her blog after the delegation visited the Palestinian prisoner support organization, Addameer, and learned about the campaign to free Bilal Kayad. Kayad is a Palestinian political prisoner Israel has held in without trail in Administrative Detention after his 14.5 year sentence had expired without his release. On June 15, he began a hunger strike which dozens of other Palestinian prisoners have joined.
by Brittany Oliver
Addameer, a Jerusalem based Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution led a discussion on decolonization, solidarity and liberation for people of color. The organization offers support for Palestinian prisoners and torture victims through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.
A few things I took note of during the discussion:
- Over 7000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisoners and detention centers.
- Most Israeli police are from East Jerusalem, not from communities they claim to serve.
- You can serve life in prison for throwing stones at military soldiers.
- People are often detained without reason. Israeli courts normally don’t want to get involved.
- Human rights attorney’s are not taken seriously by the military courts.
- Political identities are only used when needed to add pressure. For example, there are many women on the frontlines who don’t always identify as feminists.
- Prisoners find creative ways to smuggle things like cell phones, sperm (yes, you read right), and, etc.
- Addameer has been raided in the past without cause. The government confiscated two cameras, 5 computers and coped the entire server with no warrant. The items still have not been returned.
- Main media outlets such as the NY Times and Washington Post don’t always agree on issues. The more blood shed, the more media.
- The government is currently working to ban youth from engaging in activism of any kind.
- On June 26, the Stop Administration Detention campaign by Addameer was relaunched in an effort to stop Israeli military from holding prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.
This piece was originally published on Brittany's blog.
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