In the heart of a revolution transcending one locale, what connects us?
That question looms deep in my mind as I walk through the streets of Ramallah, a city I know so well. I look ahead and am confronted by red and black spray paint on random city walls exposing the birth of a new Graffiti culture. The words, “Occupy Wall Street not Palestine”, “Hungry for Freedom” and “Children of the Stones” create a visual and heartfelt historical testament to the Palestinian collective memory.
Upon my return to Palestine, I started to reflect on my time, well spent, on Freedom Plaza with the Occupy Washington DC movement. The Occupy Movement fueled my desire for grassroots resistance. Inspired by the people’s power and resilience in the U.S., I returned home with my own visual slogans sketched confidently on my clothing. I had a “We Are The 99%” sticker glued onto my leather jacket, and my red spray-painted boots walked with the spirit to revolt. Caught between the graffiti of Palestine and the slogans of the American Occupy Movement, I began to share my story of Occupy with my own people.
What reinforced my love for the Occupy Movement was its transmittable and contagious spirit of colorblind respect of human rights as it traveled into the Palestinian civil society, and translated itself into the heart felt solidarity of the Palestinian people towards the occupy protest family. I felt proud to stand alongside those “fighting corporate greed and military occupations that are profiting from wars.”
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The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) emphasized the importance of uniting strengths stating “We must unite in our common quest for freedoms, equal rights, social and economic justice, environmental sanity, and world peace. We can no longer afford to be splintered and divided; we can no longer ignore our obligations to join hands in the struggle against wars and corporate exploitation, and for a human-friendly world community not a profit-maximizing jungle.”
In my eyes, the Occupy Movement has the potential to become the pumping heart and ambassador of the 99% around the globe. What I see and feel is a movement that transcends borders and provides proof that we have already come a long way since the revolution on the streets of Tunisia. This movement grows bigger and stronger, as it travels from continent to continent occupying the hearts of supporters around the world. Little earthquakes rumble underneath the feet of those greedy for power – even in countries where some Americans don’t know the name. While our victories may seem small, from my vantage point in Palestine, I can see that we are scratching the surfaces of the physical and mental walls and prisons that have surrounded us for so long.
To seek freedom, justice or peace for any nation, we must seek the same for every nation. To free Palestine means to free the world from the iron fists of colonialism, imperialism and capital enslavement everywhere. In order to create a free and just world, we must emphasize the preciousness of human life everywhere, as well as the importance of environmental sustainability. A rebellion has begun for the creation of a truly democratic new world order where the core values are peace, justice, equality and freedom for all. When we falter, we can follow the advice of French novelist Albert Campus who said: “ The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”