Yes, Respect for the Kneelers! Respect for the Raised Fists! Respect for Peaceful Protests! Respect for all those who are Oppressed!
Whether it is Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mohammad Ali, or the hundreds of others across the world and throughout history who have rejected Oppression and Injustice, been persecuted, incarcerated and killed for their Rightful Cause: Respect! Yes, Respect and plenty of it!
And did that Awesome Kneeling Phenomenon begin with Colin Kaepernick in August of 2016 when the footballer knelt during the National Anthem in Protest for all the Injustice and Oppression being daily perpetrated on Black Lives? Or, did it begin when Mohammad Ali refused to fight in Vietnam and got stripped of his title for daring to say that he had no quarrel with the Vietnamese? Or, was it when America’s winning Sprinters raised their fists in the now famous Black Power Salute during the 1968 Olympics? Or, was it in 2014 when Derrick Rose wore a shirt that said: “I Can’t Breathe” after the hapless Eric Garner was killed when he was held in an unnecessary chokehold by NY Police? Or was it after Fergusson, Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter and . . . we can go back to the lynching era when white Christian men, women and children coming out of their churches, during all the years since slavery began and up to the early Fifties (yes, Fifties, not Centuries ago!) stood around the trees and watched black men being strung up, and then had the audacity to clap . . . or do we go as far back as that first ship when its cargo of Black Slaves landed on our shores . . . yes, the Oppression began then, and it hasn’t Stopped!
Some inherently Racist White Americans smugly point to Oprah, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Barack Obama and the hundreds of other, known and unknown, successful – some, very successful – and prosperous Black Americans and say: where’s the Oppression? If the US was Oppressing Black Lives would these examples have made it this far? My answer to that is that successful Black People made it in spite of and despite the Oppression! Some in this nation simply cannot see, do not want to see, or do not understand the issues of Racism and Colonialism because they have never been in our shoes, and that’s precisely why we Kneel and Raise our fists in the admirable Black Power Salute! And, No, this has nothing to do with disrespecting the anthem or the flag, except as a deflection from the real question, especially that the anthem was introduced onto game fields only as a result of the jingoism of 9/11. Such utter nonsense!
However, Oppression is Universal. Today in our world there are more and more Indigenous Struggles going on than ever before. Struggles against a Colonialism that is still rampant and insidious; the aftermaths of that Imperialism, just like the aftershocks of earthquakes, persist and did not end when the armies withdrew leaving behind them Oppressive Rulers to do their bidding; Constitutions, laws and regulations that the Colonists dictated; torture methods and incessant injustice as tools with which to continue their devouring of resources; and, whether it is Black Lives Matter, Native Americans, Catalans, Rohingya (and the list goes on) the Oppressed Human Beings of the world persevere in Protesting and demanding Equality and Justice. Short of that, they are rightfully demanding Secession!
Do you remember when Margaret Thatcher sent her Armada bobbing across the ocean for weeks in order to wage a war against the two and a half people (so to speak, facetiously) of the Falklands? Or, when Ronald Reagan waged his war on the two and a half people of Grenada? What were these two insane wars all about if not re-affirming White, Colonialist and Military Superiority? How utterly sickening! And this is just one example of how White Supremacy continues to wield its power and to intimidate. It is appalling!
I, a Palestinian woman, whose people have been Oppressed by a Criminal Occupation since 1948 and the establishment of Israel on our lands, feel the Oppression being inflicted on Black Lives in these United States much more poignantly! The Suffering is the same. The arbitrary Incarcerations, Confrontations, Humiliations, Blatant Aggression, Intimidations and Extrajudicial Killings that have been going on against the Palestinian people for almost seventy years leave me with much the same Pain, Frustration and Anger that my Black sisters and brothers witness on a daily basis. And, of course, the Oppressor’s disregard of our plight, whether it is the US, Europe, or Israel, is imbued with Racism and feelings of Superiority. And as long as the majority of White people in America and Europe remain silent in the face of this abhorrent behavior towards Black Lives and Minorities, and as long as the majority of Jews remain on the sidelines in the face of the repugnant conduct of the Israeli Government towards the Palestinian people, we will continue to Kneel, to Raise our Fists, to Protest, to Resist and to Condemn the Injustice.
The Silencing of Dissent coupled with the propaganda that falsifies the sordid reality and envelops it in a mantle of white-washed lies and distortions that make the Victims seem like they are the Aggressors is not acceptable to us anymore. The innocent Black Lives being wasted by some in the racist police culture where the murderers receive no punishment, and the young Palestinian lives being wasted by an Israeli Army that is never found wrong are purely evil actions that cannot be tolerated by any person who calls themselves Human, or Compassionate; by any person who knows the true meaning of Justice and Legality; by Anyone calling themselves Fair-minded. Decent people anywhere and everywhere should take a Knee and Raise a Fist.
I alienated some of my friends when I refused to go along with the drum beats pounding against President Trump since even before his inauguration. I felt that my sense of Justice and Fairness compelled me to give him and his administration time and a fair chance, especially that he had no previous political experience. I gave him all the space. No more, because the exchange of infantile, bombastic, braggadocio being hurled across the oceans is taking us where no one wants to go! Is it because the President doesn’t get it, or is it deliberate? In either case, it is very dangerous and irresponsible. Daring North Korea to ignite a war with reckless taunts, name-calling and insidious challenges; lying about Iran as Israel goads us either to start a war over there, or to give them the green light to do so themselves is plain folly; inciting violence against Venezuela because we want to monopolize the oil resource is plain criminal! Everything that’s being said and done is debasing these United States and its people. Shameful! Disrespectful!
So, Yes, we will continue to Kneel, to Raise our Fists in Defiance and to Oppose Inequality!
Yes, we will!
And it will not stop until we defeat Racism, Oppression, Injustice and Colonialism!
We, the Oppressed, will stand together in Support and with Respect!
Yes, we will!