3 min read

The Turning Tide

The Turning Tide

I had another letter planned for today, but I think I need to hold off on it for a minute–for a good reason, for a change.

On Sunday, my wife and I and a couple friends attended a pro-Palestinian protest. We only saw one counter-protestor, and the cops were quiet though omnipresent. It was a fine enough event to begin with, with speakers at the park and chants and a really decent crowd. We marched down the main drag, held up traffic. Toward the middle of the march we started to hear a lot of honking behind us, and of course that raised hackles–always be on the lookout for moving vehicles in protests, y'all, and look for impervious obstacles to hide behind–but nothing violent materialized. Near the end of the march, getting a little tired, and hoarse, admittedly, we weren't exactly in high spirits though we were still defiant. Our group had shifted from the middle of the march to the rear, and then the very rear, so that we could see the source of all the honking and revving: an actual fleet of SUVs, black muscle cars, and trucks, all festooned with the Palestinian flag on their hoods. It was just goddamn cool to see.

Now, I'm not saying that because I went out to protest everything is going to be all right. Everything is decidedly not. But this morning I woke up to the Washington Post morning briefing and it was lightyears ahead of coverage I'd seen last week–coverage, indeed, that made me start writing the very pessimistic letter I'll probably still send out. WaPo went from using genocide in quotation marks to very plainly calling the massacre and displacement of Palestinians what it is: a second Nakba. There is very little equivocating, very little "but Hamas." While the slaughter of Palestinians continues, it appears that most of the world has taken up the fight.

An Opportunity

This letter will make more sense in the context of the other, and it's honestly probably a little silly to put this one out before it, but I am overwhelmed at work and tired otherwise and this is where the spirit has moved me.

There is the potential, here and now and for the world, for a united leftward movement. Its primary purpose must be the end of the genocide in Palestine, but we are in no shortage of genocides and no shortage of dire emergencies across this planet. And if we can mobilize people to this cause, perhaps we can remain upright for others–Sudan is being torn apart by a war between the Sudanese Armed Forces and a rival paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces. We really, desperately, need to organize around the climate crisis. Having a stronger left makes us more ready for a potential rightward swing by the establishment.

We are primed for this moment due to what is known in revolutionary theory as sharpening contradictions–the point at which motivations, ideologies, tactics, and the differences between them on opposing sides, become apparent to the world. (Many thanks to @Palestinianyouthmovement on Instagram for that.) The gulf between what Israel is capable of and any kind of Palestinian resistance is enormous, and the tactics the IOF employees are rather openly barbaric. If you want to have a laugh in the midst of all this, look up examples of their propaganda to find, for example, government ministers stating pristine copies of Mein Kampf have been found in utterly destroyed neighborhoods, with pristine pages and highlights.

Going Forward

First of all, the momentum has to be kept up for Palestine. We have to keep doing what we're doing, and more. Call, write, show up in the streets. As it has been said, the people who are causing this brutality, or at least the ones making money from it, have names and addresses. Boycott, for starters, companies that have fallen in behind Israel. US arms manufacturers, like Raytheon, have offices in the US. Politely disturb their workdays. For that matter, politely disturb our elected representatives any way you can.

It would have been better that the world not have to come around to Palestine. It would have been better that the US not back an apartheid state. But this energy is something. And it could be more. This is not to say we're at a crossroads in the massacre of Palestinians, and that it might end soon. It seems Israel won't rest until Gaza has been both evacuated and leveled, and even then they may turn to the West Bank. The situation is dire, with evacuating Palestinians, already hungry, thirsty, and tired, being bombed–again. Patients in hospitals are being left behind. It's awful, and it will be awful tomorrow and the next day. But if we can keep pushing, maybe the day after that will look different.