Following the detention (and release) of founding organizers and ongoing repression targeting Palestine Action in the UK, Samidoun is sharing the following statement issued by Palestine Action. View the original and more information about Palestine Action’s work at their website.
After founding members of Palestine Action were arrested at the border, interrogated for hours upon hours by the “counter terrorist unit”, one has to ask, are we not allowed to be Pro-Palestinian? Is working for freedom, equality and justice for a marginalised people a ‘terror’ threat? When did the BBC start granting far right-wing extremists multiple platforms to spout their hateful bigotry, while honest, conscientious campaigners working to end apartheid, racism and crimes against humanity become criminalised.
Not so long ago, we lost a generation of young men in the war to end all wars against the rise of fascism, as did Russia — 20 million terrified boys died defending the values of democracy and freedom that we no longer appear to uphold: the right to live, the right to prosper, the right to protest, the right to employ non-violent direct action to forge change for the good, the right to oppose a profiteering war industry where civilian lives are sacrificed, and the right to a secure a fulfilling safe life for all humanity — these values have gone. When did this happen? Did anyone notice?
A police state is a government that exercises its authority and power, restricting society’s freedoms, mobility, political choices and human rights through the use of police force. Under such a state, political control is imposed by anti-terrorist squads, secret police & intelligence agencies that operate outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state. This appears to be where we are.
The UK has waged terror across the world for 100s of years under the flag of the British empire, and is a key part of facilitating Israel’s state-terrorism against the Palestinian people. Israel’s illegal occupying force have spent 72 years destroying Palestinian homes, forcing them out of their homeland, dispossessing, dividing, segregating, maiming and massacring innocent families. Ethnic cleansing has quietly become acceptable; terrorising, abusing, wounding and imprisoning children in military jails, tried in military courts in a language they don’t understand, is the new norm. Question state-terrorism, oppose it, protest it, rally for change, report on it, speak out, support peaceful boycotts, and you are a “terrorist sympathiser”. How did this grotesque oxymoron of a sentence become cemented into the ‘British way of doing things’ and who put it there?
Palestine Action is a growing network of groups and individuals targeting Elbit Systems — an Israeli firm which profits from deaths of the Palestinian people. This is a company who test their weapons on a captive population of civilians, most of which are children and refugees. Elbit is operating from ten production sites across the UK, manufacturing ever-smart weaponry, including illegal bulletry and cluster munitions, making us all complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people. Now, Elbit’s killer-drones will surveil migrants and refugees fleeing war torn countries — these drones are munitions, designed to destroy lives, being used as ‘watchdogs’ over our shores, not save the lives of terrified people drowning in capsized dinghies. When did these “war pigs” hypnotise humanity? When?
The arrested activists were interrogated about their family ties, the quality of their upbringing and religious affiliations — who is Sunni, who is Shia, who is Catholic, why is your passport blank, what does this tattoo mean, where have you travelled to, who radicalised you, who influenced you, what are your pin numbers and passwords to your phones and computers, when did you start supporting Palestine, what do you think about Lebanon, who do you know, why do you speak so eloquently, what does your mother do for a job, why do you not write to her more, “when was the last time you saw your father?” Three hours of intensive, intimidating, personal, intimate body searches and racist questioning that no free citizen should ever have to go through. But in the new Britain, that we were somehow tossed into unwittingly, this is the new ‘business as usual.
The British establishment has waged war on Palestine Action and grassroots tactics which seek to hold companies to account for committing violations of international law and abusing human rights. Firms which produce weapons of mass destruction are advancing their homegrown lethal technologies on our doorsteps. “It is our duty, our right and moral obligation to put ourselves on the line,” says arrestee Huda Ammori upon her eventual and long-awaited release. “We will never stay silent or inactive, when our privilege comes at the cost of oppression of people across the world. Those who suffer from the consequences of weapons manufactured right under our noses, have no choice but to resist, whether they like it or not.”
It’s time for us all to join the resistance and challenge these repressive and hideous scare-tactics. We are allowed to be pro-Palestinian. We are allowed to BE Palestinian. We are allowed to be diverse and multicultural. We are allowed to be anti-racist. We are allowed to be anti-war. We are allowed to not be white. We are allowed to be left-wing. We are allowed to support the Windrush community. We are allowed to welcome refugees. We are allowed to protect our pin numbers and keep our correspondence confidential. We are allowed to join Palestine Action and other solidarity groups. We are allowed to criticise our own government and others, and importantly, we are allowed to resist and rise up as one united force against Israel’s violations of international law and its crimes against humanity.
It’s time to retrieve our right to exist; stick our fingers up to this new abhorrent police state. But, for the sake of humanity, it is imperative that we win — and even more imperative that we KNOW we are allowed to win.