Saint Paul vigil in solidarity with Palestine as Israel continues genocide
By Sarah Martin and Kim DeFranco
St. Paul, MN – On October 20, over 150 people rallied at the weekly Palestine vigil of the Women Against Military Madness’s (WAMM) Middle East Committee. The people filled each part of the intersection of the busy streets of Snelling and Summit Avenues. The bannering called for an end to the genocidal Israeli bombing of Gaza, to let Gaza live and end U.S. aid to Israel. Protesters also came to stand with Palestinians in their struggle for liberation.
The crowd was almost double the number that demonstrated at the vigil last week. It represents the upsurge of pro-Palestine rallies in the Twin Cities and across the world. A diverse crowd representing all ages including a contingent from nearby Macalester College, members of the Palestinian and Somali communities and of organizations representing all parts of the people’s movements.
The honks and fist pumps from motorists passing by were constant as they responded to the chants, “Netanyahu you will see! Palestine will be free!” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes!” Signs and banners included, “Stop funding Israeli massacres” and “End the bombing of Gaza, let Gaza live.”
Robyn Harbison, an emcee and director of WAMM, welcomed the crowd, “I joined the movement in the Twin Cities two years ago and what motivated me was the attacks on Sheik Jarrah. When I found reliable information, I was justifiably fueled with anger. But I found I could use my anger for something worthwhile and join the working people of the world who are showing up by the millions. If not now when? We must not allow genocide funded by U.S. tax dollars to happen before our eyes.”
Harbison went on to talk about the Minnesota state money which is invested in Elbit system, Israel’s largest weapon manufacturer and Lockheed, the largest U.S. weapons maker which makes F-16s used in the horrific bombing of Gaza.
Sara Olson, member of WAMM, gave an opening fiery speech, said. “Israel, which did not exist 75 years ago, was established through one of the most violent acts of ethnic cleansing in modern history with the unwavering support of British imperialism at the time and later U.S. imperialism alongside French and other European imperialist forces,” adding the imperialists “proposed to address the issues of Jews in Europe by establishing the state of Israel and colonizing Palestinian land, displacing its people.”
Olson continued to explain, “This is similar to American history, particularly in terms of wiping out as efficiently as possible the indigenous inhabitants and by denying them their humanity, exactly as the Israelis have done to Palestinians.”
Kent Mori from the Climate Justice Committee rallied the people, “WAMM shows that with this vigil for the past 20 years when we fight, we win. Just as the Palestinians are showing us now. When we fight, we win!”
Liz McLister of the MN Anti-War Committee expressed, “At this juncture I invite you all to remember that the struggle for Palestinian liberation is not a fringe position – not by a long shot. In recent years cracks and grooves have appeared in the bunk ‘both sides, slash complicated, slash conflict’ narrative wall that once obscured the ugly truth about occupied Palestine from the eyes of the average American. Scaling back from the imperial core of the United States, the intersectional, transnational campaign for Palestinian liberation is stronger than ever before.”
Protesters were encouraged to attend the protest on October 22 at Loring Park in Minneapolis at 2 p.m. organized by American for Muslims in Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of MN and the MN Anti-War Committee.