The Vigilant Robot

a watchful eye of creative complexity

Tag Archives: gaza

Rise Up! Don’t Shoot!

Too much has been going on in the world. Too much. I am so angry. Too angry to even put the feelings into words. I am sick and tired of arguing that institutional racism actually exists; I am tired of trying to convince others that black people are human beings, especially to other people of color. It’s nauseating and tiresome. I can’t imagine what it is like for black people walking about this life every day knowing there is someone out there who fears them simply because they are black. How much time must they spend proving that their lives matter? Why do they even need to spend time proving such a thing? Black lives matter. Really! I don’t even understand how anyone can see it any other way. I supposed it must be similar to how I have to try and convince others that Palestinian lives matter—that we are not terrorists and that we have feelings and desires similar to everyone else.

Stop blaming the victims. When a group of people is segregated into an area, denied resources and opportunities, is harassed, has violence committed against them, is portrayed as uncivilized human beings unworthy of life, and is oppressed for decades upon decades, or centuries upon centuries, resistance is justified. The oppressed are not to blame because they rise up, become full of rage, and at times, snap into violence. I am tired of people ignoring the systematic racism that is the root of all of these issues. From Ferguson to Gaza, USA to Palestine, Native Americans to Black South Africans, and on and on. The issues are not completely the same, but are they oh so similar and quite connected.

It’s not enough to be angry. Time and time again we are angry. We rise up angry. We demand human rights. We demand civil rights. And then we are placated. We are pacified and soothed by our temporary stint of outrage and perhaps our lack of hope in any change and time to make it happen. It seems that in this country, the good old USA, change will only occur once every last person is in the street, when even the most well off person has become touched by the horrid nature of this world, has personally become affected by the oppressions running through the streets.

We do not need to wait for the day, however. We all must act now and act every day. Enough is enough. How many Mike Browns or Oscar Grants or Renisha McBrides or Trayvon Martins have to perish before we realize something is incredibly wrong? What has changed since the Civil Rights Movement? It seems like nothing has changed except for the blinds that have been put over people’s eyes to make them believe in the guise of a “post-racial society.” Well, wake up! That world does not exist.

So many images coming out of Ferguson are scary and depressing, yet they are also inspiring. These protestors are standing their ground in the face of a heavily militarized police force, one that calls these brave black souls “animals.” What is happening—and has been happening for decades—is disgusting. It needs to stop. We need justice for all lives. All life matters. I hope the rage coming out of Ferguson spreads to the entire country. It it way past due. Let this rage consume us all.

_____

Inspired by the events in Ferguson, the courageous people in that community, and the last moments of Michael Brown, I sketched “Don’t Shoot” in a way that contrasts the terrible elements of those moments yet flows with hope. 

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dontshoot

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To Love You, Oh Gaza

Oh Gaza,

I have nothing to say. No words can speak the reality you live; no adjectives can comprehend the bombs that fall on you every day; no nouns are effective enough to label the terror inflicted upon you. Too many destructive verbs are assaulting you, yet you survive. You persevere. You are the epitome of resilience. You are pain and sorrow; yet, you are beauty and joy.

I am addicted to the news. No matter how awful, I must see. I must watch. I must read. I must listen. I cannot peel my eyes or ears away. I even listen to poor news sources telling lies just so that I can hear something about you, to be with you. I am consumed by you. The stories, the images, the videos are never enough. This is how I know you. I read the names of those who have been murdered and I stare at the smiles of the children in photographs during happier times before they were ripped from this earth. I see the video clips of young boys looking for their toys in the rubble of their destroyed homes, a teddy bear to grasp on to in the midst of their worldly chaos.

Gaza. I cry for you; I pray for you; I rally for you. I can never stop thinking of you.

Gaza. You are always on my mind.

I go to sleep hoping for hope. I wake up and see that you have been through so much more than the day before. More dead families, more burned children. Flattened houses and obliterated neighborhoods. I move throughout the day, angry for you, depressed, hoping for hope. I want to see an end to your suffering. I want your siege to be lifted. I want hope for you. Oh Gaza. Inside your small strip of land you hold a population so strong and steadfast. Unafraid children, the bravest mothers you can find, reside within your concrete walls and militarized borders. Oh Gaza. You are hope. To see hope is to see the resistance of Palestinians. No matter what heinous crimes you live through, you stand tall. You live. You are tenacious. Your struggle stops at nothing. Your power against injustice is immense. You teach the world that it is possible to fill a prison with beauty. Oh Gaza. You will never fall.

From thousands of miles away, this is what it is to love you. Even when I close my eyes and my ears, it is as though they are open, seeing images in the dark of the night and hearing my mind unable to stop the pandemonium. This is about you, oh Gaza. You, who did not begin on July 8th. You, who has been besieged since 2006. You, who has been occupied since 1948. This is about you, Oh Gaza. This is about every Palestinian slaughtered since An Nakba. This is about every Palestinian—from your sea-coast, Oh Gaza, to the Galilee and the Negev, to the West Bank. This is about every Palestinian refugee scattered across the globe. This is about those who have never seen their homeland. This is about you, and them, and me.

Oh Gaza, I feel a part of you, yet I am not you. I feel a part of Palestine, yet I am not Palestine. I am a fragmented version, like static billowing over the land, split into different frequencies, half there and half here, in this country that aids your destruction. Like a never-ending hum, perpetual white noise, I carry you with me. I carry them with me. I carry my father’s childhood. My father, who in 1967, walked miles after miles for refuge until his shoes had holes; his shoes, imprinted with loss and longing. That loss and longing never gone. Until return.

Oh Gaza, you did not begin on July 8th, but we are able to witness your struggle immediately. A constant barrage of information has poured through since July 8th and I cannot turn away. I watch as your homes decrease in number, the concrete forming piles in the street; I watch as your children are brutally murdered while playing and living a childhood; I watch as your hospitals fill with death and the injured barely surviving; I watch as your water becomes unfit for consumption and your medical supplies deplete; I watch as families scream for their missing loved ones, for those found buried in the rubble.

Oh Gaza, we are also able to witness your strength and resilience immediately. I watch as you continue to pray, knowing your oppressor’s time will soon come; I watch as the children refuse to be afraid, continuing to play soccer and live the lives of children; I watch as you refuse to be afraid, refuse to give in to a life besieged and unworthy of living; I watch as you insist for your voice to be heard, for the global community to hear you and do something; I watch as you demand justice.

The time will come when every person must answer for your tragedy. When that future arrives, only you will be able to answer for your steadfastness, for your ability to live in the face of all that tries to kill you.

The future arrives every moment and your future is bright, Oh Gaza.

And when the future you deserve arrives, we will celebrate together.

 

غزة