On 17 April, Georges Abdallah, the Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine imprisoned in France for over 38 years, made a statement from his prison in Lannemezan to commemorate Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. Abdallah has always been a part of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement; not only is he imprioned because of his involvement in the Palestinian and Arab cause, but he is recognized as part of the movement by the Palestinian prisoners themselves and participates in hunger strikes and other collective actions inside his French prison cell in solidarity with his fellow imprisoned freedom fighters in Palestine. Despite being eligible for release since 1999, he has been repeatedly denied his freedom and return to his homeland, Lebanon, even after court victories, as French officials have repeatedly overruled or refused to sign documents to process his release. U.S. officials, from Condoleeza Rice to Hillary Clinton, have also directly pressured the French state to deny his freedom. Read his statement below:
Dear Comrades, Dear Friends,
Just two weeks ago, numerous activities were organized in Palestine and in various neighboring countries and elsewhere, to commemmorate Land Day. At the same time, other activities have been developed to mark the International Day of the Revolutionary Prisoner. Today, we are gathered here again, as others do elsewhere, to commmemorate Palestinian Prisoner’s Day and thereby express our unwavering solidarity with the Resistance fighters in the Zionist jails and to support more particularly the various initiatives of struggle in progress these days, in order to snatch from the claws of the criminal jailers Comrade Walid Daqqah, whose state of health is now alarming.
Comrades and Friends, as you know, it was planned that at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the Unified Leadership of the Prisoners’ Movement in Zionist jails would call for an open hunger strike, in response to the fascist measures decreed by the Israeli minister of security, the supremacist Itamar Ben Gvir, against our incarcerated comrades… Everything was well prepared so that this battle would be the battle of all prisoners in Zionist jails and that it would extend and unites with the various fields of confrontation in Nablus, in Jenin, in Jericho, in Asqelan, in Al-Quds, in Gaza and in Umm Al-Fahm. The mobilization and enthusiasm of the popular masses in response to this prospect were such that at the last moment, one day before the start of Ramadan the Zionist government had to withdraw these fascist measures, and therefore the Unified Leadership of the Prisoners’ Movement suspended the call for a strike. Comrades and Friends, this is only a postponement; we all know that it is only according to a certain balance of power that the Israeli government had to accept the demands of the comrades and withdraw its fascist measures. Certainly, it will soon return to these attacks. These thousands of prisoners jailed for so many years, some for several decades, embody today more than ever the Resistance of the Palestinian people in the plurality of its expressions. And this Zionist government more than any before, can only intensify the repression and try to widen still further the field of destruction of all that is Palestinian and, more particularly, all that aggregates the collective will of the global Resistance. Anyway, in its headlong rush it cannot have any other path… Of course, it [the Zionist project] has gone straight for the wall and many of its most zealous protectors and accomplices are well aware; but they, in turn, have no other choice and they also go straight to the wall.
You know, Comrades, nowadays we all live under the hegemony of globalized capital. No country can completely escape the destructive mechanism of this hegemony. It is this “globalised capitalism,” the capitalism that really exists, which is in crisis. And it is indeed this capitalism that the communists and all the revolutionary forces will have to defeat in order to defeat barbarism… For the survival of humanity, for the survival of our planet, it is necessary to know how to get rid of capitalism and its barbarism, faster than ever.
Comrades and Friends, the multidimensional crisis which is shaking the pillars of the system and sharpening more and more the inter-imperialist contradictions, is accelerating everywhere these days, the various processes of fascisation… that is why the Zionist entity, this organic extension of Western imperialism, is one of the places where this fascisation is on full display. Quite naturally, as everywhere, the protagonists of the revolutionary struggle, especially those who embody by their mere existence the collective will of Resistance, are the targeted object of the policies of annihilation that the fascists of all stripes hasten to to implement.
For more than a century, the Palestinian people have been fighting against the imperialist-Zionist settlement project in Palestine. It is within the overall framework of this historical Resistance that one can better grasp the dynamic articulation of the various factors structuring “the collective will to Resistance” and the particular place occupied by “THE PRISONER” in the Palestinian collective memory.
Perhaps it would be useful to recall briefly that the creation of the “Arab Interrogation Centers” dates back to 1920 when the British authorities interrogated Arab prisoners in mandate Palestine using methods of torture, such as waterboarding. The creation of these centers falls within the context of the great violence of British repression during the revolts in Palestine from 1920 to 1939. It was from this period that the policy of generalized repression was implemented, decreeing in particular “administrative detention,” the use of the curfew, collective punishment, destruction of homes. In the context of this criminal policy of all-out repression, they created these “Arab Interrogation Centers” where the British authorities indulged in the worst excesses using torture methods such as the aforementioned waterboarding in order to break the will of the prisoners of the Resistance…
Throughout this historical epic and up to the present day, the resisting prisoner, alongside the martyr, is the icon shared by the majority of Palestinian families… Yesterday there were more than 12,500 prisoners, following the Great Palestinian Revolt, and today there are still more than 5,000 more captive Resistance fighter…In this spirit, Comrades, in 1974, the Palestinian National Conference decreed that April 17 shall be the Day of the Palestinian Prisoner. This was not only intended to denounce the barbarism of the Zionist occupier, nor only in order to honor the captive Resistance strugglers by reminding the popular masses of their sacrifices and their unshakeable will to stand up against to the Zionist military. The commemoration of this Day of the Palestinian Prisoner is intended, above all else, to affirm loudly and clearly the firm determination to reclaim our comrades from the claws of their criminal jailers. Indeed, on several occasions, the vanguards of the Palestinian revolutionary struggle have assumed this task with great courage and self-sacrifice, forcing the enemy to release thousands of captive comrades without any compromise on their part.
Certainly, today as yesterday, the release of revolutionary prisoners is a duty and a priority; it has always been a moment of great popular enthusiasm and has participated in the most significant way in the influence of the Palestinian revolution and in the enrichment of the struggle, both at the regional level and at the international level.
Let us, Comrades, live up to this duty! And if necessary, let’s remind everyone loudly that this is the most sacred duty and that every revolutionary must always be ready to fulfill it!
Let us be worthy of the epic of the torches of freedom, these indomitable Resistance Heroes captive in Zionist jails! Free them!
May a thousand solidarity initiatives flourish in favor of Palestine and its promising Intifada!
Solidarity, all solidarity with the resistance fighters in Zionist jails, and in solitary confinement cells in Morocco, Turkey and the Philippines and elsewhere around the world!
May a thousand solidarity initiatives flourish in favor of our Comrade Walid Daqqah!
Solidarity, all solidarity, with the revolutionary comrades in the jails in Greece!
Solidarity, all solidarity, with the proletarians on strike in this country (France)!
Honor to the Martyrs and to the popular masses in struggle!
Capitalism is nothing but barbarism, honor to all those who oppose it in the diversity of their expressions!
Together Comrades, and only together will we win!
To all of you, Comrades and Friends, my warmest revolutionary greetings.
Your comrade Georges Abdallah
April 17, 2023