When scenes of Ferguson, Missouri police officers decked out in full riot gear – attacking peaceful demonstrators with flash grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets – flashed across television screens everywhere from as far as the Americas to India and Japan, people in nations so-often criticized by the U.S. saw a side of the world’s so-called “protector of democracy” they’d never quite seen before. While people in countries like Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan and virtually all of Latin America know full well that the American Empire never actually practiced what it preaches, some seem to have been unaware of the fact that entire communities within the United States are treated much like occupied territories and the citizens like occupied subjects. People living in the nations of the so-called Third World know very well what it is like to have their voices forcibly suppressed by neo-colonial governments funded by the U.S. and its Western allies, governments armed with advanced, lethal weaponry provided to help quell all popular dissent and see to it the interests of Big Business are kept above the interests of the people. It should come as no surprise then that Palestinians in the West Bank shared messages of support and expressions of solidarity with the protesters currently under siege in the American town of Ferguson, Missouri just outside of St. Louis. As oppressed peoples who are also targeted and subjugated by a large brutal occupier, one which views their lives as being worthless and expendable, the parallels are obvious. And it is in this context that the close relationship between the United States and Israel must be viewed as well. The United States – a nation which rose to imperialism by way of ethnic genocide of the Native American Indians, and was built on the forced labor of mercilessly kidnapped Africans – gives more military aid and weapons to the state of Israel than any other nation on earth. In so doing it assists in doing to the Palestinian Arabs, who’ve inhabited Palestine for over a thousand years, exactly what was done to the American Indians who once populated all of North America. The mentality of the colonial occupier, which has no respect for the rights of those it sees as non-white, is the same.
Here is a sample of some of the tweets sent out by Palestinians to the people of Ferguson, followed by the official statement of solidarity:
*The following statement was originally posted on The Electronic Intifada website, and the names of all 100+ signatories and 16 organizational cosponsors can be viewed on the website.
We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.
From all factions and sectors of our dislocated society, we send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.
We understand your moral outrage. We empathize with your hurt and anger. We understand the impulse to rebel against the infrastructure of a racist capitalist system that systematically pushes you to the margins of humanity.
And we stand with you.
We recognize the disregard and disrespect for black bodies and black life endemic to the supremacist system that rules the land with wanton brutality. Your struggles through the ages have been an inspiration to us as we fight our own battles for basic human dignities. We continue to find inspiration and strength from your struggles through the ages and your revolutionary leaders, like Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Kwame Ture, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale and others.
We honor the life of Michael Brown, cut short less than a week before he was due to begin university. And we honor the far too many more killed in similar circumstances, motivated by racism and contempt for black life: Ezell Ford, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tarika Wilson, Malcolm Ferguson, Renisha McBride, Amadou Diallo, Yvette Smith, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnston, Rekia Boyd and too many others to count.
With a Black Power fist in the air, we salute the people of Ferguson and join in your demands for justice.