Militant Journalism

San Francisco stands with imprisoned Palestinian hunger strikers

Aarab Marwan Barghouti

Chants of “One, Two, Three, Four, Open up the prison doors, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Israel is a Racist State,” echoed throughout the tall buildings of the San Francisco financial district as people gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate in support of over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners. The prisoners have been on a water-and-salt–only diet hunger strike for over 40 days demanding the Zionist military treat them according to internationally recognized human rights standards and laws. [The strikers ended their 40-day hunger strike on May 27.-Ed]

Aarab Marwan Barghouthi, son of hunger striker Marwan Barghouthi, a popular leader of the Palestinian resistance who has been in prison for 15 years, spoke to the crowd about the strike, “I want to tell the monsters in the Israeli government it that it is time for justice, for not only Palestinian prisoners, but Palestinians in general. I was born in Jerusalem and I can’t even visit Jerusalem. … My father is a Palestinian political prisoner, my father is a Palestinian freedom fighter that advocates for peace, but he is someone who doesn’t compromise on Palestinian human rights. Human rights are not given, human rights are a right for everyone, every human being and Palestinians are not an exception. We will not stay quiet, we will raise our voices for justice. I am representing Karim Yunus, who has spent 35 years as a political prisoner in Israel jails. I wonder when justice will come to Palestinians, but it will come. My father will be free and he will take a Palestinian flag to the seat of Ramallah, to the seat of Jerusalem.”

Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center made the connections between the struggle in Israel and the United States, explaining, “Those 1,500 people on hunger strike in cages do not only represent Palestine and Palestinians. Those 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners represent everyone struggling for liberation and dignity. They represent everyone struggling against racism and xenophobia. They represent everyone defies the racist laws coming down in this country and fighting war and occupation everywhere. There are detainees of ICE right here in this country who are under hunger strike. There are prisoners in this country also on hunger strike. Let’s remember them as they lead us and inspire us to continue to fight back.”

Richard Becker of the ANSWER Coalition, who recently returned from a conference in Lebanon in solidarity with the hunger strikers, spoke to the crowd. Becker recounted the unity of the Palestinian people and the different political parties he observed while at the conference and in a visit to the Shatila refugee camp, stating, “This great unity, none of it, is mentioned in the media here, nothing. If that was a government that the U.S. was hostile to, we would know everything about the hunger strike. There would be daily stories about individual tragedies. There would be daily stories about the Apartheid system of Israel which is undeniable. …There is one fact today there are more than 6,300 Palestinian prisoners illegally held inside of Israeli prisons. There are zero Israelis held inside Palestinian prisons.”

Other speakers included Nadia from the Palestine Youth Movement, Monadal of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, and Rio of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Helen G. of the ANSWER Coalition who chaired the action, closed the rally leading people in the chant, “What we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” Nadia of the PYM called on people to turn out in the future as needed to support the hunger strikers.

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