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New Black-Palestinian Solidarity video features Lauryn Hill, Rasmea Odeh, Danny Glover

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Black-Palestinian Solidarity released a powerful video today unifying resistance against state-sanctioned violence both communities are confronting. “When I See Them I See Us” features more than 60 leading Black and Palestinian artists and activists, including Lauryn Hill, Rasmea OdehDanny Glover, Cornel West, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, DAM, Aja MonetSapphire, Rafeef Ziadah, LisaGay Hamilton, the Baha Men, Rashid Khalidi, Dream Defenders Co-Founder Ahmad Abuznaid, Yousef Erakat (fouseyTUBE) and many more.

Black-Palestinian solidarity is neither a guarantee nor a requirement – it is a choice. We choose to build with one another in a shoulder to shoulder struggle against state-sanctioned violence. A violence that is manifest in the speed of bullets and batons and tear gas that pierce our bodies. One that is latent in the edifice of law and concrete that work together to, physically and figuratively, cage us. We choose to join one another in resistance not because our struggles are the same but because we each struggle against the formidable forces of structural racism and the carceral and lethal technologies deployed to maintain them. This video intends to interrupt that process – to assert our humanity – and to stand together in an affirmation of life and a commitment to resistance. From Ferguson to Gaza, from Baltimore to Jerusalem, from Charleston to Bethlehem, we will be free.

Palestinian children killed by Israel in Gaza 2014, When I See Them I See Us

Palestinian children killed by Israel in Gaza 2014, Screenshot: When I See Them I See Us

Participants hold up signs such as “Your Walls Will Never Cage Our Freedom” and “Racism is systemic Its outbursts are not isolated incidents”, while a rhythmic narration pulsates with the voices of martyrs as their familiar images flash before us. Mohammed Abu Khdeir–“They burned me alive in Jerusalem. Rekia Boyd– “They gunned me down in Chicago.” Danny Glover holds a sign with the words of Eric Garner: “They choked me on video. I said I couldn’t breathe.”

Young American Black martyrs gunned down

Innocent Black martyrs victims of systematic American racist oppression.  Screenshot: When I See Them I See US

Nadeem Nawara, When I See Them I See Us

Palestinian Martyr Nadeem Nawara, executed on Nakba Day 2014, Screenshot: When I See Them I See Us

Black-Palestinian Solidarity press release cites renowned scholar and American icon Angela Davis stating that the refusal of Palestinians to surrender after decades of struggle against the oppression of Israeli colonialism is “a great encouragement to black people in the U.S. to accelerate our ongoing struggles against racist state violence”:

“Mutual expressions of solidarity have helped to generate a vigorous political kinship linking black organizers, scholars, cultural workers and political prisoners in the U.S. with Palestinian activists, academics, political prisoners, and artists…. Palestinians have spoken out passionately against racist police violence in Ferguson and Baltimore as black people have vehemently stood up in defense of Rasmeah Odeh. That the Palestinian people have refused to surrender after almost seven decades of continuous struggle against Israeli settler colonialism is a great encouragement to black people in the U.S. to accelerate our ongoing struggles against racist state violence. These powerful images represent a journey from struggle against tyranny to a collective hope for a just future.”

Screenshot: Black-Palestinian Solidarity Video: When I See Them I See Us

Screenshot: Black-Palestinian Solidarity Video: When I See Them I See Us

The idea for the video came to Palestinian scholar and organizer Noura Erakat in the summer of 2014 while bombs were dropping on Gaza at the same time that the Ferguson uprising was sparked by the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Noura Erakat, human rights attorney who produced the video told Al Jazeera “Here were two groups of people dealing with completely different historical trajectories, but both which resulted in a process of dehumanization that criminalized them and that subject their bodies as expendable. Not only were their lives more vulnerable and disposable, but that even in their death, they were blamed for their own death.”

Full Press release available here.

Script by Mari Morales-Williams, Remi Kanazi and Kristian Davis Bailey (Available in Arabic here):

When I see them, I see us

Every 28 hours a black life is stolen
by police or vigilantes in the U.S.

Every two hours, Israel killed a Palestinian child
in its attack on Gaza last summer

Eric Garner. 43 years old
Father of six. Grandfather. Friend

Hashem Abu Maria. 45 years old
Father of four. Human rights worker

Ghalia al-Ghanam. 7 years old
Killed when an Israeli missile struck her home

Aiyana Jones. 7 years old
Killed in her sleep by Detroit police

When I see them, I see us

Harassed, beaten
tortured, dehumanized
stopped and frisked
searched at checkpoints
administrative detention
youth incarceration

When I see them, I see us

From Rikers Island to Ofer Prison
from Rafah to Chicago
lives are being stolen
remember them

We are not statistics
we are not collateral damage
we have names and faces
Sakia, Kimani, Renisha
Nadim, Jawaher, Mohammad

They burned me alive in Jerusalem
they gunned me down in Chicago
they shot our water tanks in Hebron
they cut off our water in Detroit
they demolished our homes in the Naqab
they swallowed our homes in New Orleans

When I see them, I see us

They see our wombs as dangerous
label us demographic threats
They sterilize us without our knowledge
mark our children as criminal

When I see them, I see us

We say no to all forms of oppression
in US cities or on Palestine’s streets
We respect the uniqueness of our struggles
and our varied histories

When I see them, I see us

Resilient, steadfast, determined
I see who we are meant to be
Alive, free, liberated
mapping out our destiny

I see hope, strength, love
a place where our children can dream
I see a road, a partner, a family
a world where we can rise and be seen

"We are not statistics" When I See Them I See Us

DAM “We are not statistics”, Screenshot: When I See Them I See Us

Screenshot: Black-Palestinian Solidarity Video: When I See Them I See Us

Screenshot: Black-Palestinian Solidarity Video: When I See Them I See Us

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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16 Responses

  1. annie
    October 14, 2015, 4:38 pm

    btw, i burst into tears watching this video.

  2. diasp0ra
    October 14, 2015, 7:23 pm

    This is beautiful, truly. Oppressed people band together.

    And similarly, oppressors band together.

    May we all be free one day.

    • October 14, 2015, 11:03 pm

      There is no honor among thieves. Oppressors can never band together with the same solidarity and good-will as the oppressed. They are more likely to kill each other for the chance to oppress further.

  3. Mooser
    October 14, 2015, 10:11 pm

    Great article, Annie. And a nice bit of iconoclasm earlier.

  4. echinococcus
    October 15, 2015, 12:42 am

    Thanks, Annie. The occasional tidbit that works wonders against depression.

  5. DaBakr
    October 15, 2015, 3:05 am

    whlile I am not certain what kind of a bone (except the kind of bone that might nourish all peoples of all religions creeds and cultures-but I doubt this is whats going on here) I have in this discussion I did read an interesting take on Obmaha’s former Preacher, Jeremiah Wright refer what I figured was a previously unacknowledged or perhaps unthought out at the heat of attacks.who (according to a few had used to pull the strings when he gave some of his most moving and important sermon s to his congregation and to those they came to her comforting words but a respected figure in the US Christian Leadership. Wherasrespected (I’m assuming among some leadership but don’t know the details)

    form what I heard clips of I got the understanding the Rv. Jeremiah Right was untended to to refer to the student demonstrate which he ver quickly whipped up into a violent frenzy on two from=nts. Both by inciting old repetitve alarms met to call on security force to converge where the man with a fennel assistant were

    • bryan
      October 15, 2015, 12:55 pm

      Are you alright son? You sound crazier (or at least more incoherent) than ever.

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick
        October 15, 2015, 2:49 pm

        I think he’s saying that it doesn’t take much to get us colored folk riled up.

    • Chu
      October 15, 2015, 1:45 pm

      You see ‘people of color’ in this article’s images and feel it’s an opportunity to bring Jeremiah Wright into the discussion, but your comment is unclear.

    • Mooser
      October 15, 2015, 5:09 pm

      ” where the man with a fennel assistant were”

      Was she a relative, possibly anise?

      • RoHa
        October 15, 2015, 7:54 pm

        Mooser, you are the gift that keeps giving.

      • Mooser
        October 15, 2015, 9:11 pm

        ” you are the gift that keeps giving.”

        It’s an old French custom called n’est pastism. Or sushi said.

  6. Chu
    October 15, 2015, 1:50 pm

    I read that Glover was going to produce a film about L’Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution
    but could not get the funding. Too bad, since it’s a great and interesting tale.
    Film That Never Was, But Could Still Be & Other Films on the Haitian Revolutionary

    Haiten Revolution in 4 parts (1791-1803)

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      October 15, 2015, 2:46 pm

      This might be the same project I read about more than ten years ago. A damnable shame because the Haitian revolution is one of the great accomplishments in human history. From a cinematic point it would make a great movie or mini series. I cannot believe with all the money and talent we have in the black community that it is not getting done.

      • Chu
        October 16, 2015, 9:47 am

        Especially now – you’d think a movie like this would have an audience inside the US, but
        we get lame shows like ‘Empire’ on Fox, which is a trumped up black ‘Dallas’ type show about a backstabbing record producing family, produced by Lee Daniels nonetheless!

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