The March On Washington For Gaza From A Black Perspective

Demonstrators gather for a pro-Palestinian rally in support of a ceasefire in the war between Gaza and Israel at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 2024. | Source: The Washington Post / Getty

If you know anything about Marches on Washington then you know they mean one and one thing only: Politics. You only go there to get the attention of the politicians first and then the people, period. A little organizing 101 if you wanted it and if not then leave it on the floor.

Every activist in the U.S. should know by now that if you’re going to Washington then you better have your demands ready, and last weekend’s March for Gaza rally did. It was exactly what you would expect, too. A whole lot of keffiyehs, black hoodies with white fists on them and even a couple of pink hat feminists were there. It was a typical march in D.C. and honestly, I was confused by it and here’s why.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “How are you confused at a march that wasn’t for you?” But hear me, though. There were enough Black youth there to start a revolution but instead, an outside symposium ensued. What I did see was some real attempts at listening and learning so I’m optimistic of the Black youth I saw in D.C. actively organizing others at the march. I know that there were officials from some African nations who were present that I spoke to off the record on the lack of Palestinian vocalness on sanctions on African nations like Zimbabwe, which in 1988 was the first African country to recognize Palestine as a nation but no reciprocity to date.

Lots Igwebuika, 32, from D.C., joins protesters at a rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 2024, in support of a ceasefire and Gaza in the conflict with Israel. Igwebuika said she joined the protest because she has a Palestinian friend. | Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Revolutionary solidarity doesn’t play tit-for-tat but it does keep score. And Africans and African Americans don’t like the numbers. In the Midwest and the southern United States, Arabs and in particular Palestinians have practiced the same anti-Blackness as other races. From the diaspora to Africa, they exploit us economically by selling overpriced and sometimes outdated products in food deserts assisting in lowering the Black life expectancy rates caused by eating foods that really aren’t food. We know what the quality food options are at the stores that are in our communities and that is not solidarity, sympathy or friendship. It’s funding your liberation movement on the backs of Black economic exploitation. And unfortunately, their flag is mostly seen as no different from the red, white and blue terrorism we have experienced in this nation — they just do it with a different accent and a darker hue. Sometimes…

And then there’s the Black organizations who were at the table. I wanted to see them put something on the table for Black people specifically while they also put their bodies on the line for a Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) that is being drowned out by second- and third-generation liberalism masquerading as revolutionaries. I know them well, we’ve had our share of people living off the names, images and likenesses of our work in Ferguson ’til this day.

If I had the ability to speak to anyone in the PLF, I would ask if they had anything to do with the messaging of “ceasefire” at the March on Washington for Gaza?

The messaging from the march was clear: a Black Lives Matter Movement that mismanaged $90 million has also misled another generation of activists and so most couldn’t articulate a Black reason to be upset with Israel. Honestly, it’s because our fight is with Zionism wherever we find it since it hasn’t left us alone since its inception. I’ve seen more sympathy than solidarity and that’s not what organizing is about at all. Well, not our organizing.

Back in Ferguson, Palestinians like Bassem Masri were deeply involved. Yes, we spoke about the issues that honestly did connect to Africans worldwide, so I get the connection. Every Palestinian wasn’t on the same type of time as the now mysteriously unalived Ferguson front-liner was back in the early days of the movement. But we are not in that movement anymore. Thus, reminding me about the videos sent from Palestinians almost 10 years ago while my people are in the same place as we were since 1948 doesn’t help the case. Simply put, hashtags, videos and shares don’t stop drones, missiles or genocide, so someone better get a better strategy and soon or it’s gonna be a wrap.

Independent presidential candidate Cornel West spoke during the March on Washington for Gaza rally in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 13, 2024. | Source: ALI KHALIGH / Getty

Take BLM’s number one and honestly only issue it still can’t solve: Police terrorism. This is as much of a Black problem as an African one in a scary way — the Zionists of Israel.  And to be clear, I have no clue what every Jew thinks. But we can tell their government loves training killer cops. These trainings in the Middle East are for police departments all across the U.S. and they come trained to disproportionately kill unarmed Black people.

This is something that a Black person should’ve been able to give to the March’s anchor organizations like C.A.I.R. and others, but it wasn’t. With more than one-third of the top 100 cities in the U.S. being governed by African Americans, if I was organizing this, I would start there. Or you could start with Zionists who actively support apartheid in South Africa and put guns in the hands of colonizers in Zimbabwe (liberated from being a colony in April of 1980) or Mozambique and other liberation fronts across the continent. These atrocities alone should have Zionism banned in Africa and if Israel doesn’t denounce these actions publicly with reparations attached then every embassy should be emptied across African nations from the motherland to the Caribbean.

And speaking of the Caribbean, what the Zionists who led Israel have done to Cuba by not recognizing it lets me know that they must be just puppets for the U.S. because why are they mad at Cuba? All it did was protect mama Assata Shakur from the real terrorists, COINTELPRO.

The activist in me is screaming so I better just say it now, but ya’ll know we can tie all this in for each group, right? It’s simple by doing these four calls to action:

Black Americans who care should call and email the African American Mayors Association and tell them to stop sending law enforcement to Israel to be trained to kill black people.
Africans who care should call and email every African Nation to denounce Zionism for putting guns in the hands of colonizers from Harare to Pretoria and if Israel can’t reciprocate then end all diplomatic relations with them.
Palestinian liberation organizers and leaders should sit with Black liberation organizations and leaders so we can start with a real plan where the relationship is centered on anti-zionism and not to call on the blacks when you need protest bodies.
And for all people who actually want to be in solidarity with each other and not just showing sympathy I offer this. We can all work on the Appeal of Assata which connects us against those who are pro-imperialism, pro-colonialism and anti- anything revolutionary.

Just a thought, but y’all know me by now, I speak up for my people no matter the place and time. That’s probably why it was best for me not to speak because I might’ve been the odd or crazy Ferguson protestor — so I played my part. And besides, I think I should go to South Africa next and get the perspective there since I am a journalist and all now. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Love Y’all Black People,

Peace.

Tory Russell is a Ferguson Uprising organizer, internationally recognized Black movement leader and Director of Organizing for the International Black Freedom Alliance.

SEE ALSO:

Personal Stories From An Afro-Palestinian Amid Israel-Gaza Conflict

Why Black Americans Should Stand In Solidarity With Palestinians: Activist And Scholar Explains


The post The March On Washington For Gaza From A Black Perspective appeared first on NewsOne.

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