Texas banner drop listing Palestinian martyrs creates stir at book fair
Austin, TX – On November 12, activists in solidarity with Palestine carried out a banner drop at a Scholastic book fair. The book fair took place across the street from a large statewide Palestinian protest on the state capitol grounds, with attendees numbering in the tens of thousands.
The names of 10,500 Palestinian martyrs, a list consisting of 40% children, adorned a printed roll of paper that stretched over 100 feet. Activists unrolled the banner at an outdoor book fair taking place across the street from the capitol. Book fair attendees looked on as organizers with megaphones talked about the genocide in Palestine.
Zainab Haider, who took part in the action, explained why the banner drop was at the book fair, rather than the capitol. One factor was that police, stationed at the entrances to the capitol grounds, turned away protestors whose signs were mounted on sticks longer than 12 inches.
“We brought it to the protest and when the capitol security didn't allow us to bring the roll inside because it was mounted on a pole; we decided in the moment to head to the book festival and do an impromptu action there,” said Haider.
“Names of most of the 10,000 innocent civilians who had been killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza, including more than 4500 children, were on this roll of papers. We wanted them to be more than numbers and we wanted a visual to show the reality that each of those numbers was an individual,” Haider continued.
When the demonstrators later successfully brought the banner of names onto the capitol grounds, Haider reported that many people made a personal connection to the list of names. “Several Palestinians approached and pointed out names of family members they had lost,” said Haider.