Photo: Omar Taweh
On July 10, amidst fog and a patter of rain, activists took the streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against apartheid and new efforts of annexation by the settler colonial Israeli government. In a state that has few organizations working on this question and a dependance on major weapons contractors such as Sig Sauer and BAE systems and others as a jobs base, this action was particularly significant and welcome.
The demonstration converged at the African Burial Ground, a local historical landmark were the bodies of nearly 200 enslaved African people were buried, a place of immense symbolism for the day and action given the history of connection between the continuing struggle for Black Liberation and Palestinian Liberation.
Speakers called for solidarity and remembrance of figures such as Huey P. Newton, Malcolm-X, Leila Khaled, Ahed Tamimi and others who have dedicated their lives to seeing all oppressed peoples freed from all vestiges of bondage and apartheid. Quoting Huey P. Newton of the Black Panther Party in his speech, Garrett Walker of the Party for Socialism and Liberation told the crowd:
“‘We support the Palestinians’ just struggle for liberation one hundred percent. We will go on doing this, and we would like for all of the progressive people of the world to join our ranks in order to make a world in which all people can live.‘ This struggle is international, just as the corporations which profit off police brutality are international, just as the capitalist police from around the world gather in Israel to train.”
Following these speeches, the energetic crowd took the streets with a banner reading “Free Palestine,” chanting “Trump Trump, you will see, Palestine will be free!” and “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go!”
Nooran Alhamdan, a key organizer of the protest and first generation child of Palestinian refugees, spoke with Liberation News in an interview after the event.
“In 1948 my father’s family was expelled from their village in central Palestine by force of arms. The Haganah, a Zionist terrorist milita that would later go on to be the Israeli army (along with other Zionist militias guilty of similar crimes), attacked their village twice in July of 1948…
“Palestine is a struggle against settler colonialism, apartheid and systemic racism — defining traits of the United States since its inception. Palestine is even here in New Hampshire. When the New Hampshire State Police have been involved in a Deadly Exchange training in Israel. When they use Israeli cyberware and technology. Palestine is here in New Hampshire and when we demand accountability for the police at a Black Lives Matter protest we must understand that the cruelty inflicted onto Palestinians is taught to the forces that oppress Black people in this country, and the cruelty inflicted on Black people for centuries here in the United States and in apartheid South Africa serves as a blueprint for how Israel treats Palestinians. There is no way to separate the liberation of Indigenous people, Black people and Palestinian people. Our fate is tied to collective liberation and decolonization…
“Liberation in Palestine looks like the refugee camp my father was raised in in Jordan becoming a shell. Vacant. Empty. Because its people will have finally returned home. No longer birthing generations into exile, no longer burying the survivors of the 1948 Nakba in shallow refugee camp graves.
Liberation in Palestine is right of return. It is decolonization of the land and fair redistribution of it. It is a binational state that we must work towards by working to what Palestinian author Noura Erakat calls ‘radical futurism.’ We must think radically about the future. It’s not enough to say we want Palestinians and Israelis to be equal in one state. I do want that. But I also want to imagine a future where we can create a collective memory rooted in transitional justice, redefining identity and breaking out of the modern constraints of nationalism. Palestinian liberation looks like freedom and justice for all, Palestinians and Israelis, Muslims Christians and Jews, in the entire land between the river and the sea. And I believe that I will live to see that day.”