The following is a transcript of a talk given by Susan Abulhawa, Executive Director of the Palestine Writes Festival, at a rally of 10,000 people for Palestine on the Art Museum steps, Philadelphia, Oct. 21. Abulhawa is a member of the Philadelphia branch of Workers World Party.
Have we got our adrenaline pumping good? I’m just gonna ask everybody to just be silent for a minute. I want us all to really think about the 5,000 Palestinians who have been murdered, most of them children who barely had a chance to live. There are approximately 20,000 Palestinians who are missing; most of them are presumed to be buried under the rubble and will probably die there if they haven’t already. I just want us to take a moment for all of us to fathom this.
This happened in the span of one week. It happened in the span of one week! The death toll is going to rise to the tens of thousands. We know that because those people aren’t just missing somewhere. We know where they are. I want you all to feel our ancestors come through us. And to also feel this loss and to honor them.
We are all here. We are Black, and white and Brown. We are Muslims and Christians and Jews. We come from all walks of life. You don’t see this kind of turnout for them. Why? Because the only people showing up for them are our corrupt leaders. The only ones showing up for them are the people who have to answer to money, are the people who answer to corruption.
Nobody shows up for them like this anywhere in the world. Because they are the oppressors, not because they are Jews. They want you to think it’s because they’re Jewish. They want you to think we’re antisemites. They want you to think we hate them because they’re Jews. No! Our ancestors were Jews. Our ancestors were Christian. They were Muslim. They converted between religions. We are the people of the land who have been there for millennia continuously for unbroken habitation.
They want the world to believe they are the victims. But let me tell you people who can turn off the water taps for millions of humans are not the victims. People who can stop food and medicine from getting to millions of people are not victims. People who can make the media across the whole Western Hemisphere repeat lies of beheaded babies without any verification — they are not the victims. They are the people with all the guns, with the money, with the political covers, but you know what they do not have and will never have. They will never have this. They will never have the streets.
We are so much more powerful than you can imagine. They want us to think that we are not. That’s why they are coming at us from every direction. That’s why, while they are bombing our people, they are shutting us down here. They are trying to silence us. They are trying to get this corrupt City Council to pass resolutions. They are getting these corrupt governments to put their flags on their buildings. Because that’s all they have.
I want you to feel your power. Do you feel your power? Do you feel the power of your ancestors, the power of the love we have for each other, the love we have for our children? When you go home, make your plans to come back out again when we call you. Free, free Palestine!