Notwithstanding the lack of good faithed coverage of every protest for Palestine by mainstream media, hundreds of thousands around the world demonstrate for Palestinians in a massive and powerful way against the violence and ethnic cleansing caused by Israeli forces and settlers.
These ongoing demonstrations, rallies, and vigils are taking place in major cities throughout Canada, all across to South Africa, Finland and Japan. Using social media to regain agency in journalism, Palestinians are seen and heard by millions of people around the world.
The occupation of Palestine is on the ground and in the minds of Palestinians wherever they are which makes the news coming out of Palestine extremely difficult and times like these especially sensitive – leaving many mourning and/or feeling traumatized.
This week reiterated the overwhelming resilience and hope for justice in Palestinians who, most of, have seen only a few of the 73 years of Israeli occupation. The collective memory and consciousness of Palestinians are greatly affected by their struggle. Decades of resistance has allowed themes of resistance and liberation to become part of the culture and take forms in traditional embroidery, poetry, art, music and dance.
This political life that they did not ask for has shaped celebration and mourning for Palestinians. Their protests, just as much as weddings, carry the political energy of a national identity which has been protected and passed down through celebratory art forms such as the well-known folkloric dance, Dabke.
Colonial suppression of Indigenous cultures in Canada dates back to 1876 and was institutionalized as deep as a 1921 order which labeled their ceremony and dance as “Indian Offences”. Similarly, Israeli crackdowns on Palestinian artists during the 1970s and 1980s led to events such as banning the work of ‘Palestinian national poet’ Mahmoud Darwish from schools in 2000. Recently, popular singer Mohammed Assaf faced travel bans, Walaa Sbeit of 47Soul was arrested, and head of training and choreography of the El-Funoun traditional dance troupe, Ata Khattab, imprisoned.
The silencing of Palestinians in their homeland and abroad happens through news, media, and institutions. Speaking out for Palestine could jeopardize a career or even lead to harassment by lobbyists. No matter where Palestinians live and what they do, they are resisting.
As resistance exists in many forms, Palestinians understand that it can look different from person to person. Some resist through debate, some through dance. It is important that we hold space for all the ways people choose to resist and protest for Palestine.
The changing narrative, exposure of truth, and Palestinian agency have taught us new terminology. To celebrate this, here are a few new chants to use the next time you protest for Palestine!
Palestinians hold the key!
to stolen democracy!
Here and back to 48!
ethnic cleansing, fear and hate!
native Palestinian rights!
Yalla yalla Falastin,
we know that you’re not a dream!
Louder louder, say it more!
Not a conflict, not a war!
No more hiding, no more fear!
Genocide is crystal clear!
Fight the mainstream, turn the tide!
Our media stands with apartheid!
Justice justice, we know how!
Lift the siege of Gaza now!
Viva viva Palestina!
By Ghassan Miqdadi – YLT Staff