Hundreds of protestors gathered at Water Tower Plaza in Chicago on June 5 to condemn the escalation of violence being perpetrated against Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli military in recent weeks.
As the crowd gathered, including busloads of people from the surrounding suburbs, several heartfelt speeches were given, one by a young woman with Students for Justice in Palestine and Depaul Divest who criticized the U.S. complicity in the violence, saying, “Israel is able to act with impunity because of the political and economic support of the U.S.”
Another speech was given by a young man who had recently come to the United States from Palestine. He called on the crowd to continue taking action: “We will not win any sympathy from the media or the government unless we continue taking to the streets and demand justice!”
These sentiments and others were reflected by many of the youthful crowd in attendance. Nader, 22, voiced his frustration with the biased media coverage, “Palestinians are fighting for their lives with rocks against bullets and bombs and somehow we’re labeled as the terrorists.” Dureshahwar, 22, a young woman in attendance, talked about why she and her friends had come: “We want to raise awareness. The world only knows half the story. What little coverage there is here in the U.S. only dehumanizes Palestinians.”
After the speeches, the large crowd marched loudly and spiritedly through the streets, holding signs and waving Palestinian flags. Chants included “Not another nickel not another dime, No more money for Israel’s crimes!” and “We will not be silenced!”
The march ended in front of the Tribune building. A touching poem, written by the brother of the 16-year-old Palestinian youth Mohammad Abu Khdeir who was kidnapped, brutally tortured and killed by several Israeli men, was read. The poem was written from the point of view of his murdered brother. One touching line read, “Tell my people to stay as I’ve known them, strong in the face of injustice and oppression.”