On Saturday, a Ferguson, Missouri police officer shot and killed an unarmed young black man by the name of Michael Brown. Michael was walking down the street with his friend when a police officer pulled over and asked them to get on the sidewalk. After the teenagers dismissed the officer’s request, he began to scuffle with Michael from out his patrol car. When Michael tried to run away, the officer fatally shot Michael several times despite his hands being raised in the air as a universal sign of non aggression and surrender. The incident has caused several protests and looting in Ferguson but the real story is the unjust killing of another black man in this country by police. This comes on the heels of the killing of Eric Garner and John Crawford. It has become a daily occurrence where police in this country are involved in the killing and harassment of innocent civilians. The police mantra is to “serve and protect”, but it seems apparent that when dealing with black people it is to “kill or be killed”. There is a real war being waged by the system on black and brown communities and it is time to stop turning the other cheek and start responding with rage.
Renisha Mc Bride was a 19 year old black woman who was shot to death by Theodore Wafer in Dearborn Heights, Michigan on Nov. 2, 2013. After surviving a serious car accident, Renisha found herself knocking on the front door of Wafer’s house at four in the morning in search of help but instead was met with a shotgun blast to her face. This week, Theodore Wafer was found guilty and convicted of second degree murder in an outcome we don’t see too often in cases involving violence against black and brown people. The McBride incident ignited the conversation about how we deal with the issues of violence against black women when we mostly come across a historical narrative of violence against black men. With this verdict, we must know that we nevertheless do not operate in a system that responds well to the issues of violence on women of color. Renisha Mc Bride reminds us that the life of womyn in general matter just as much when talk about the lives of black and brown people.
Link for album in profile: The #Nargisee project is now available on iTunes worldwide. Produced by @sandhillmusic ft. @offendum @meryemsaci @tamerdam @mahmoodjrere and friends, this all Arabic everything project is dedicated to the children of Iraq, Syria and Palestine in honor of our ancestors and the future that could have Been. Get the album now!
in chaos one man collects
his daughter into a plastic bag
oh my god the bag is leaking
one kisses a cave was baby boy face just this
morning braids unplaiting phosphorous
wordless exhaust smoke shock
what is it that remains of us now
then what is recyclable in us
men’s beards carry their lineage
refracted memory drones
drummed ears echo frequency
children call for siblings reborn
skulls fracture eyes the color purple
here the steeliest doctors weep
the sea waves shelled boys
sirens post explosions
all is shrapnel and hunger
none is safe all are waiting
between wall and wait and sea
and wall there is no day
what are we
flares rain metal escalation
descent upon heads ladders of spine collapse
night eats sleep the people hold fasts
children of lightening no rain
sewage into water skin flamed to ash
the women’s faces track lifelines
grief upon grief astronomical
dust was people last night
tunnel is the people now
raising horizon in coffins
there is no recovery
she says they light the night with bombs
she says that’s not the sun at all
she says this is a crime against my heart
she says nothing
she says listen
we are shelter and target
we are stars exploded
the people run into themselves for refuge
they catch up to their ghosts
between devastate and displace
what is destroyed again is everything
what is created is a hole
(This was written by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. Passing it on as it’s a very useful set of tips)
I have seen a lot of people in my life, myself included, going through hard times right now with the extreme escalation of colonial violence in Palestine. People are sad, angry, and praying. Many people are overwhelmed. Worried for our families. Many people in our communities are learning more about Palestine for the first time, and want to know ways to connect. It’s hard to know what to do from so far away, and easy to feel helpless when you don’t know what to do.
This list is for all of us, to recommit to the work we’ve been doing, to get grounded when this massacre has knocked us off our feet, and to get connected where we haven’t been before.
Please share with your communities!
1. BDS – BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, & SANCTIONS
Boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) is a movement that was called for by Palestinian civil society. It is a grassroots, nonviolent form of resistance that there are so many ways to participate in.
Here is the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: http://www.bdsmovement.net/call
Get involved with (or start) a campaign for your university, workplace, union, etc. to pull out its investments in companies that are connected to Israeli human rights offenses.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has led many successful divestment campaigns at universities across the country. http://sjpnational.org/
We Divest is a project of Jewish Voice for Peace, which has successfully pressured TIAA-CREF around its occupation investments. https://wedivest.org/
Here is a quick list of companies that profit from Israeli human rights offenses.
Consumer boycott is about individually deciding not to buy these products, but it’s also about popular education. Flyering to educate people about what’s behind this stuff. Encouraging local shops not to sell these products.
There are ongoing successful consumer boycott campaigns against SodaStream and Sabra Hummus, for example.
Cultural and Academic Boycott:
As artists and academics, it’s very important that we decolonize the way we produce our work, and don’t let it be used to normalize violent structures.
There is a set of guidelines for cultural and academic boycott from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) that artists and academics can sign on to.
Academic boycott guidelines: http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1108
Cultural boycott guidelines: http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1047
If you are an Israeli citizen, you can also sign the Boycott from Within statement, and get involved with their work: http://www.boycottisrael.info/
An excellent resource, which can help you find information for whichever kind of BDS campaign you decide to get involved with, is the Who Profits? database: http://www.whoprofits.org/
Donating money is not an action that everyone can afford to get involved with, but if you have even a small amount to spare, here are some great places to donate to:
Middle East Children’s Alliance: http://www.mecaforpeace.org/
Palestinian Center for Human Rights: http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA): http://www.anera.org/
United Palestinian Appeal: http://www.helpupa.org/
3. PARTICIPATE IN LOCAL PROTESTS & VIGILS
Protests and vigils are a great way to make the Palestinian struggle visible in your city, and also to build community with other people who are feeling the same way you are.
If you go to a protest, come through with good friends that you can trust, and have a plan for what to do if police or counterprotestors escalate.
For organizers: Palestinian liberation is connected so intricately with all of our liberation. Reach out to members of other oppressed communities and build coalitions, feature their voices at your demonstration (for example, African, Latin@, and Indigenous activists). Keep racial, gender, and disability justice as the foundations of your work.
4. MAKE ART! & SUPPORT ARTISTS
This is giving us a whole lot of feelings, right?! Write/draw/paint/act/sing/print/dance it out! Bring attention to Gaza and Palestine within your artistic communities.
Endorse the USACBI statement, commit to its principles. Educate other artists you know about it, and encourage them to sign as well. http://www.usacbi.org/about/
Tell your story and tell it true. Be ethical and accountable in the way you handle the stories of others.
If you are not an artist: Help support Palestinian artists, and artists from other communities in struggle against Israeli apartheid. Donate, purchase work, host events, for example.
5. CHECK YOURSELF
Make sure that the information you have is accurate. Behind every single news story is a human being with a life as full as your own, and you owe it to them to get the facts straight. Do not re-post gory images of dead children on social media with no context—this is extremely disrespectful.
Below are a few (but not the only) reliable English-language news sources:
Al Jazeera English: http://www.aljazeera.com/
Ma’an News Agency: http://www.maannews.net/eng/
The Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/
Read and understand the BDS call, and its demands and guidelines, and do not present false information about it. This is very important, because oftentimes even people who are part of the Palestine solidarity movement can misunderstand the guidelines, and fall for Zionist misinformation about them. Read the calls for yourself and figure out how you can plug in. (see above for the guidelines)
Think about what your role is in this movement. Ask yourself some questions before you take action:
What is your relationship to Israeli apartheid historically, and the recent colonial violence?
What are you directly complicit in and what can you do to address that?
Who are you being accountable to?
Amplify the voices of, and support people who are more directly impacted than you. Step back when you need to and when you are told to.
Avoid false and oppressive binaries, like Arab/Jew. Remember that Israeli apartheid is a multi-layered system, and bring that understanding to your work.
Think about your social position in the country where you’re doing this work, and consistently check yourself on this, too. Again, keep racial, gender, and disability justice as the foundations of your work.
Don’t judge people for not being able to take part in the same forms of resistance as you.
6. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF & EACH OTHER
Mourn the dead. Speak their names. Publicly and privately. Do rituals if this helps you.
Read/watch/listen to/share poems/music/film/art by Palestinian artists.
Make art. (even if you are not “an artist.”)
Write it out. (even if you are not “a writer.”)
Cook Palestinian food. Share it with your loved ones.
Take time and space to feel.
Lean on your friends and let them lean on you.
Tune out the news if you need to. (Keep the news on, if you need to be reassured by the steady flow of information.)
Don’t go to protests/demos/events alone.
Take alone time if you need it.
Turn to your faith if that helps you.
Stay committed to healing, and recognize healing as part of the work.
If you are close with them, stay in touch with your family and friends in Palestine.
Remember, it is not your responsibility to educate your oppressors!
Keep checking yourself.
Affirm life. Affirm life. Affirm life.
“We teach life, sir” by Rafeef Ziadah : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKucPh9xHtM
“What I Will” by Suheir Hammad : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFbE8RBhSDw
Here we go! We are gearing up for our culiminating run of Love Balm For My SpiritChild at BRAVA Theater Center in San Francisco. Get your tickets here and share this widely!
Drew Barrymore photographed by Mario Sorrenti, 1996
Never offer your heart
to someone who eats hearts
who finds heartmeat
but not rare
who sucks the juices
drop by drop
like a God.
Never offer your heart
to a heart gravy lover.
Your stewed, overseasoned
he will sop up your grief
and send it shuttling
from side to side
in his mouth
If you find yourself
with a person
who eats hearts
you must do:
Freeze your heart
Let him—next time
he examines your chest—
find your heart cold
flinty and unappetizing.
Refrain from kissing
lest he in revenge
dampen the spark
in your soul.
sail away to Africa
where holy women
on the shore—
long having practiced the art
of replacing hearts
|—||Alice Walker, “Never Offer Your Heart to Someone Who Eats Hearts” (via outsideoverthere)|
Balint Zsako, Series 1, #42, watercolor and ink on paper, 2014
This work will be shown at Papier Montreal from April 25 to 27;