Last week’s announcement in which the US declared Jerusalem Israel’s capital and Trump declared the embassy would be moved to Jerusalem in the future, has generated much writing and many public witnesses. EPF PIN member Harry Gunkel attended a rally in San Antonio TX where he heard Moureen Kaki speak out. Kaki is a Palestinian-American student at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she is president of the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. She is also a founding member of San Antonio for Justice in Palestine, a local non-profit organization. We offer her witness here.
Two days ago marked the thirty year anniversary of the first intifada, or uprising. But for forty years prior to that, we have resisted. Today, we continue. Palestinians have fought, suffered and died for our homes, our land, our families, our dignity and our freedom. What we now see is an overt acknowledgment and legitimization by the White House of Israel’s brutal occupation and apartheid. This doesn’t change the home demolitions, or the illegal land theft, or murder, or arrest and detention of Palestinian children. What Trump has done is reignite the resistance. He has emboldened the bigots and occupiers, but he has also fueled the fire of resistance which was ignited 70 years ago when we were stripped of our humanity. In the words of Sheikh Omar Suleiman, “Your recognition means nothing to us. Your maps mean nothing to us. Your embassy is as illegitimate as the occupation it seeks to legitimize. Our land is our land. Our dignity is our dignity. Our determination is our determination. Our Aqsa is our Aqsa. Our Palestine is our Palestine. We never had any expectations of tyrants, dictators or stooges. We bow our heads only to One. We will continue to insist on our freedom, even if the world has ceased to acknowledge it.”
There is no person more resilient than the Palestinian. In the words of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, “Being Palestinian is not a slogan, it is not a profession. The Palestinian is a human being, a tormented human being who has daily questions, national and existential, who has a love story, who contemplates a flower and a window open to the unknown.” He also said “Palestinian people are in love with life.” We love life, we resist, we fight, we dream for life. To be Palestinian is to be the epitome of life, as we stand in the face of daily threats to our existence with our heads held high and our hearts strong.
My existence is resistance in the face of people who tell me I have no home, no country, no people. To those deniers and liars, I tell them nothing. To those deniers and liars, I owe you no explanation, no badge of authenticity. The resistance is in my heart, Palestine is in my blood, my head, my dreams, my motivations and my inspirations. I am the threat. My power is in my life and in this right here—the union of different people to stand for the humanity of a people who have too long been denied.
Let Trump’s announcement make one thing clear- the only resolution is one that includes Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. One that includes the right of return for all Palestinian refugees. One that includes freedom and dignity for all people who have too long been denied justice.
we are the boat
returning to dock
we are the footprints
on the northern trail
we are the iron
coloring the soil
we cannot be erased