Once again unable to sleep, I write this blog on a cold rainy Portland morning, as today, in a historic move towards Palestinian freedom, South Africa takes Israel to the International Court of Justice. The ICJ, this highest of courts, was formed during the horrific genocide of the Jewish people during World War II.
It is a momentous day after too many days, too many decades of loss for the Palestinian people, and right now the people of Gaza need our witness, our attention, our steadfastness. As numbness, hopelessness and despair sink in for us, we need to keep breathing, loving, marching, teaching, organizing and pushing our way towards justice for them and for us, for all of us and especially those of us living in a country built on genocide and enslavement that is currently funding and advocating for Palestinian death.
As someone with close ties to Palestine and the region, I’m so proud to be in this collective of artists who have been and continue to be comrades in the Palestinian liberation movement both through their art and their actions. Since October 7th, Justseeds and other artists have contributed many free graphics to be used for rallies, actions and fundraisers for Palestine which you can find on our Graphics page.
(images are not to be sold even for fundraisers, without explicit permission of the artists)
Since October 7th when the most recent bombings on Gaza began, I’ve tried to support my Palestinian friends as best I can. It’s been difficult to focus on anything else. Even art making feels pointless at times. Ten years ago, my dear friend Mohammed came to Portland to study, met his wife and stayed. After getting his citizenship two years ago he was able to go see his family in Gaza for the first time since he left. Now his city of Khan Younis has been destroyed by Israeli bombs and his family fled further south to the Gazan border city of Rafah where they lived in a makeshift tent made from shower curtains for three weeks as bombs rained down.
Through a Solstice miracle (and some friends of friends of friends who knew someone who knew someone-aka a very Egyptian way of things happening) they were able to cross the border and have found refuge in Cairo. They made the bitter decision to leave extended family behind, leave the only home they’ve ever known and cross into a foreign country where they have no connections, not knowing if and when they might get to return, or what they’ll return to.
Now on the 97th, yes 97th, day of the Israeli bombardment, we have found out that our friend Mahmoud’s family of 21 people were able to cross over into Egypt this week. Many tears of relief have been shed, followed by feelings of guilt and sadness for all who have been left behind. We are also working to secure the same safety for my friend Zandi’s family who have witnessed the destruction of their homes, the murder of whole branches of their families and have decided the only “choice” they have is to leave. We are raising money for extended stays in Egypt for these three families and supporting them inside Gaza until they get out.
Please give generously. Please write thoughtful appeals to other folks you know that can give. Every little bit counts. The need is enormous. Many of us are frustrated and angry with our elected officials and feel like our voices and actions don’t matter. This is a way to show you care- directly and quickly to people on the ground in Palestine.
You can read more details in the gofundme that we put together. Please amplify this campaign. Please keep showing up in the streets, offering your skills and calling your elected officials.
You are making a difference.
As we are around the corner from the day celebrating the martyred great Martin Luther King and his legacy of advocacy both here on Turtle Island and internationally, I think of his words during the Vietnam war and know that he definitely would have supported Palestine during this time.
“Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.”
This is day 97 of the bombardment of Gaza and land grabs in historic Palestine. It must stop now.