Hope For Palestine

Hope For Palestine

Hope For Palestine I was born a refugee after my parents fled the brutal ethnic cleansing and seizure of land by Idi Amin. Since moving to the UK as a baby, I’ve grown up in a country that treats people like me like a second class citizen, despite its democracy. I have, first hand, felt racism in many forms. I know what oppression is.

My parents originate from a land that was colonised by the British, and on it’s departure divided us based on religion, where that division hadn’t existed before. My parents’ families were from two side in the British-made conflict and suffered for the love they had for each other. I know what the weaponisation of religion does to people and their families.

I grew up and saw the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Another country colonised by European imperialists for its wealth. I had a white South African friend in sixth form college say that they “could never give black people rights because they are barbaric and will destroy us”. This dehumanising was bitter to hear; such an awful lie to believe. I sang “Free Nelson Mandela” and will never forget watching him walk out of prison live on TV. Since, South Africa has had to work hard, giving all people one vote and working towards equality.

I remember The Struggles. I remember fleeing suspected bomb threats from the IRA. A family member lost his best friend in Northern Ireland. Peace was found, and I hope it is not lost again now. There is no land that can be immune to military resistance against European hatred. The Irish were once made slaves, too. We mustn’t forget that. And we must never forget the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia.

I am a Muslim. I love my God and traditions. I’ve grown up suffering hatred for being Muslim in many forms, including phyisical assaults and damage to my property. But that’s nothing compared to my Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine. We see the worst of oppression against the Palestinian people, over many decades, all my life. Their land seized, Gaza turned into an open air prison, the arrest and torture of children, any resistance met with excessive military bombardment. For the Al-Aqsa mosque to be descicrated by Isreali forces recently is by far the biggest insult to Muslim people. It is steeped in history and prophecy. It is a place of prayer and the remembrance of God. My heart breaks for that building. Never in its history has it been violated with such disregard.

Palestinian Lives Matter. We saw the brutal killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, shouted Black Lives Matter and the world woke up to systemic racism. People are becoming more aware of the geopolitical forces at play that affects minorities across the world.

Jewish people have been for centuries long oppressed by European Christian nationalists. They suffered the brutality of the holocaust. The British and Americans promised them their holy lands back. Israel was formed and funded by the same Eurocentric Christians that have historically hated them the most. 100 years ago Jews, Muslims and Christians lived side by side in the Palestinian peninsula. It was the same weaponisation of religion, and divide and conquer mindset that was used to take control of a region that they gave superficial independence to. Lies are fed to both sides, when really that division doesn’t have to exist.

Today there is hope. Just as in the 1980s I heard cries for equality and peace in South Africa, I hear similar echos for the people of Palestine. You cannot gain freedom by oppressing others, that is a blatant lie. I’m glad more and more Jewish people are understanding that. Freedom comes when we recognise the humanity of all of us and work towards peace and equal rights for all, recognising each other’s pain and fears. Remember that, and there is true hope.

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