This week, many universities will see their Muslim Student Associations, Arab Student Unions, Students for Justice and Peace, International Solidarity Associations, etc. hosting events dedicated to exposing the injustices that are occurring on a daily basis to Palestinians and Arab Israelis at the hands of a theo-democracy aided and supported unconditionally by the United States government.
There will be lectures by intellectuals from all different ethnic and religious backgrounds speaking out for justice, for fairness, for equality, for humanity.
There will be supporters from all different groups, religious and non-religious, who believe that all people, no matter what their faith tradition, ethnic background, political preferences, or physical features, should be treated as humans. They will urge their classmates to listen to the message of tolerance, equality, and respect.
There will also be protestors – Zionists who believe that the “Holy Land” is the birthright of the Jewish population and that Israel, as a nation, has a right, not only to exist, but to expel non-Jews, namely Muslim and Christian Palestinians from their homes and establish settlements that have been deemed by the international legal community to be illegal.
These protestors don’t see Palestinians as human beings, with families, birthdays, soccer balls, toys, goals, aspirations, first loves, favorite ice cream flavors, glowing smiles, memories, family photos, keepsakes, role models, corner markets, tea cups and saucers, music and dancing, shining eyes.
They dehumanize the Palestinians, take away their dignity and their dreams, take away their history and their future, take away their education and their careers and their families and turn them into animals, unfeeling, spiteful, hateful, barbaric, vicious, as if every Palestinian who has ever walked the face of the earth is a slobbering, rabid dog, destined to attack, feared, loathed, spat upon, abandoned and left to wander and die.
This is the way with all supporters of injustice. They are all the same, no matter who they are persecuting. This is not just unique to the Palestinians. The Native Americans were savages, as were the Africans. The Asians were mysterious and sly, conspiring and not to be trusted. The Italians, the Irish, the Eastern Europeans, the Russians, the Aboriginees, the Hispanics. They have ALL been dehumanized.
The Jewish population has also been stripped of their humanity in the past. After the Holocaust, however, the Jewish population made sure that they would not fall prey to oppression ever again. They remind us in magazine advertisements, in lobbyist groups, in the creation of the Anti-Defamation League, in Holocaust Remembrance Day. They remind us of their humanity, of their daily suffering at the hands of brutal oppressors.
They remind us that the world sat by idle while they were stripped of their livelihoods, their families, birthdays, soccer balls.... In an attempt to recapture some of that humanity , members of the Jewish community around the world read the names of those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, to give their life a voice, a heartbeat, a soul.
However, their slogan, “Never Again” cannot be monopolized by the Jewish population. “NEVER AGAIN” is for us all. I pray to God that the Jewish people of this world never experience the oppression and deadly scourge of hate that they dealt with prior to and during World War II. I pray that they never experience ANY oppression or injustice at all. But they also can’t dish it out on anyone else. At all. Ever. Especially since they know what it’s like.
This week is not just about Palestinians. It’s about right and wrong. It’s about humanity. It’s about every human being given the chance to allow his heart to sing and his soul to take flight and his mind to extend past the bounds of imagination. It’s about supporting the idea that NO ONE should be able to take ANYONE’S humanity away from them, ever.
To all the students and organizations sponsoring this week’s events, I dedicate my prayers to you. You are the lights in the darkness, the beacons of hope for the future, the strength in this time of global weakness and temerity. Stand firm and never waver.
To all those who come out to show your support for justice and humanity in Palestine, I applaud you for being bold enough to stand up for what is right in a world that blurs the lines and allows hypocrisy to plague the landscape of our world and policies.
To all those who come out in protest of these events, I quote our current President, “Bring it on!” Every time you protest events that seek only justice, equality, and the freedom to live without fear, torture, terrorism, and dehumanizing policies, you show your true colors – the blackness of your soul.
Keep protesting, keep dehumanizing, keep supporting injustice – it only makes our job that much easier. To quote Eminem (wow, I’m on a role), “I’m glad cuz they feed me the fuel that I need for the fire to burn, and it’s burnin’” and we will continue to return until justice reigns supreme for all and humanity is a staple for every person on the face of the earth.