A Message To The Disengaged

Canada- Many of us in diaspora have found our own reasons for being actively involved in the fight for justice. Through raising awareness on campus of the injustices Palestinians back home are subjected to, promoting Palestinian culture and tradition, and fighting for our rights that are promised to us in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I am proud to say we have made overwhelming progress. Despite the seemingly grim obstacles that lay in front of us, for example trying to do all of the above with very limited resources in comparison to the Israel lobby on campus, we have demonstrated that you don’t need to “pimp-up” oppression to get your message across. We are all humans. It is universal. Alternatively, the only thing that groups such as Israel on Campus, Hasbara, Hillel, and co. have proven is that all the money in the world and all the pinkwashing they spew can’t pull them out of the crimes against humanity the government they advocate for has committed. But I digress, as I was saying, we should all take just one moment to look at where we have reached and what we have accomplished and imagine where we will be in just ten years. It gives me goosebumps, I swear.

For me what remains most shocking is the fact that we have come this far despite the apathy that engulfs our fellow Palestinians in diaspora. I can’t speak for every city in every country, but I can speak about mine. It would be extremely generous of me to tell you that 30% of us here in the U.S. hold the Palestinian cause dear to us. I mean superficially, we’re Palestinian through and through. We drape its colors over our backs, we adorn our necks with its unmistakable shape, we wear its symbols all over our bodies; it furnishes our homes, it hangs from our key chains, in our cars, and beside our beds; we brandish its name (presumably) as an assertion of our pride.  However, it would be extremely naïve of you to believe this was the case.

I’m not here to judge anyone; I’m here to merely question your intentions and plea to you. Ask yourself, how do you affirm your love for Palestine? How do you fight for the oppressed back home? How do you raise awareness? How do you contribute to ongoing initiatives? How do you support and encourage academics who commit much of their life to helping Palestine? On my campus, our SJP chapter holds social events and academic events; last year, we held a fundraiser in which we brought in a highly celebrated YouTube sensation and raised an overwhelming amount of more than $2,000! Over 700 people attended, which exceeded capacity, turning hundreds away. Honestly, I can’t begin to express the satisfaction that gave me. However, the immediate thought that followed was, This many people on campus care for Palestine?!?!. I questioned myself since our gatherings for academic events which feature some of the most brilliant minds are in contrast intimate in size. I can’t help but feel embarrassed when an activist, academic, author, etc. walks into the room to find only 20 people… I can’t help but imagine where we would be today if we had the help of all those hundreds of people that showed up for the fundraiser.

Like I said, I’m not judging anyone; God knows I wasn’t always as active as I am now. Everyone has a time. And in all honesty many of you may have not yet found your reason for being involved, but I urge you to do so soon. It is your responsibility. I’ll tell you where my reason comes from, it comes from the fact that I have not stepped on the earth of my country, I have not seen its skies, nor smelt its air; what I would give to experience just one moment in Palestine is unimaginable. Much of my reason for being involved also comes from the courage of our brothers and sisters back home, which is unparalleled. They stare into face of the oppressors on a daily basis; they’re subjected to its humiliation, distress, and torture. Every time they go through a checkpoint, get their ID’s stamped, are chased and shot at by settlers, and even every time they pass a soldier, they are forced to recall how their land was stolen; how their father, mother, brother, or sister was humiliated, imprisoned or even killed right in front of them. I can’t help but think to myself, would I be as courageous as them? I would be privileged to have just half an ounce of their courage. Here I sit in the comfort of my home without the buzzing of an F16 above me, without the glimmer of a thought that my house may be brought down. I sit on my desk typing on my computer with the luxury of the air-condition keeping me cool and the thought that I may lose electricity doesn’t even cross my mind. Given my privilege, what is the least I can do? No, what is the most I can do? Because I will not turn my back on my brothers and sisters, and on my country.

When you see just a flicker of your reason use it as your motivation aggressively, because all you need is a flicker I promise. It is addicting, like a drug, start getting involved and you will see yourself wanting to get involved even more. Learn about how your family was displaced and share it with your friends. Support pro-Palestinian initiatives at schools (and not JUST the social ones). For god’s sake, please go to lectures that host authors, academics, and activists. Knowledge is our greatest weapon and we ALL need to sharpen our blades; we are about to go to war and we need your help.

Mohammad Horreya

A Palestinian residing in Canada because he is unable to return to his home. Mohammad is an activist in training, an aspiring lawyer, and wannabe writer on the weekends. Mohammad believes in a tomorrow with peace because we’d be fools not to. Mohammad tweets here.

Comments

  1. abu horreya says:

    Reblogged this on Abu Horreya and commented:
    My submission on http://www.beyondcompromise.com

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