Don’t lecture Palestinians about “violence”!

Expanded version of this article on AlMayadeen English: We will never stop advocating for Palestine! | Al Mayadeen English

Almost eight months of live-streamed genocide and still no end in sight. No meaningful moves by Western powers to halt the Israeli daily atrocities, in fact each day brings new evidence of their complicity. And the Zionist military just announced it wishes to continue for another seven months! 

Recently a small community in British Columbia, Canada held a successful film showing and meeting to support Palestinians and Gaza. They showed the film “Where Should the Birds Fly”, which documents the horrific experiences of one young girl and her friends/family during the 2008-2009 Israeli onslaught. 

A speaker after the film told the audience: “Understand that the kids you saw in that movie are today’s resistance fighters”. And until the Zionist settler colonialist project is truly defeated, then Palestinians will resist and fight for a brighter future, “from generation to generation, until return and total liberation”.  

In an article written late last year, I wrote: “Can you imagine how tired Palestinians are of trying to explain to the world why they deserve to be treated humanely? How tired they are of constantly having to justify why their voices should be not just heard, but trusted? Anyone just waking up to the Palestinian reality in the last two months should know Palestinians have been carrying this burden of telling and re-telling their story for decades, with minimal global response.” 

We also need to address the underlying and deeply entrenched racism that has helped facilitate this genocide. The longevity of the “mass rape” story, despite being debunked repeatedly, has drawn back the curtain on the depth of anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab racism in Western societies. The Zionist lobby seems to have decided from day one that this particular piece of “atrocity propaganda” would engage the most support and sympathy. 

There is of course the normal revulsion at the sexual abuse of any person, male or female, which the Zionists have manipulated par excellence. But this still does not fully explain the ease with which this story keeps getting recycled and amplified and believed in the West, which relies on the centuries old distrust and stereotypes of “Arab men”. Arab men as bloodthirsty, violent, lusting after women (and white women in particular), undisciplined and intensely misogynistic. 

Professor Rudolph Ware has pointed out that this is an age-old tactic that was (and is still) used against the black community in the U.S., detailing how false rape allegations in the US often led to mass lynchings. He also talked about how the issue of “safety” is also weaponized against people of colour, as we are now seeing on many university campuses. 

So, please, don’t watch Palestinian babies burn to death and then lecture those same people about how to resist and when to resist. Don’t wring your hands now about the Rafah massacres if you are in anyway complicit in enabling that trajectory to occur. “Nothing can wash the blood from your hands,” said the Reverend Munther Isaac at an Easter vigil for Gaza, addressing the hypocrisy of Western regimes. 

Now is not the time (if one ever existed) for Western supporters to appoint themselves as the moral arbiters on what constitutes acceptable liberation tactics and behaviour. Now is not the time for them to declare who is a “good” Palestinian or a “bad” Palestinian. If they are genuinely interested in supporting the Palestinian struggle, they must focus all their attention on ridding themselves of their own rotten governments, media and institutions that have been supporting this genocide and have burdened the world with such inhumanity. 

By Marion Kawas