FBI Raids will not Silence our Movement
I remember this feeling, I thought as I read that on Friday the FBI raided the homes of peace and justice activists in Minneapolis and here in Chicago. It's the same way I feel whenever the Israeli government decides it's time to round up Palestinians nonviolent activists. In these situations I always find that I feel a little bit confused, a little bit scared, and very, very powerless.
The thing is - that's exactly what a government trying to squash political opposition wants its citizens to feel. When the FBI raided the home of Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner, they didn't make any arrests. They just took 30 boxes of papers and personal items. Some of those papers showed the labor activism and peace activist that Joe and Stephanie have been involved in for so long. The rest of it? Strictly personal items, like baby pictures and letters. That's a tactic designed to scare Joe and Stephanie and their friends. And why does our government want to intimidate us? "All we ever did was work against U.S. military aid to the governments of Colombia and Israel and to support the peoples of Colombia and Israel in their struggle for justice," said Joe.
We have a choice now. We can become scared and and stop talking about about how the United States and Israel are systematically violating human rights in the name of empire-building, or we keep moving forward with renewed energy. Yesterday, activists held a press conference calling this so-called terrorist investigation what it is: political intimidation. Tomorrow, we'll be rallying again and I'm asking you to join us. Because speaking out is what it takes to maintain a democracy.
For myself, I keep thinking about the hundreds and hundreds of Palestinians who've been arrested for their nonviolent resistance: who was tortured for grazing his sheep on his land, Nasser who spent a month in jail for building a house, Hafez who was beaten and arrested for protesting the wall, the guys from Tuba who keep being arrested for doing farm work, the three boys who were taken by Israel soldiers and handed over to settlers who beat them. I'm thinking about all of the political prisoners, including Amer Makhoul, who are in Israeli jails right now. They are why I'm will not be intimated and silenced. I learned from Palestinians the meaning of "samoud," steadfastness. We're not going to give up.