The Guardian • Issue #2075

Freedom for Palestine: Naarm / Melbourne

  • by DC
  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2075

On Sunday 15th October, thousands of Victorians from all walks of life gathered in front of the State Library of Victoria in one of the country’s biggest shows of solidarity towards the Palestinian people.

One scan of the crowd would reveal flags from all across the Middle East: Turks, Lebanese, Syrians, Pakistanis, Kazakhstanis, Omanis, and many others came to show solidarity for their Palestinian brothers and sisters who are facing one of the worst man-made atrocities in human history. Socialists, Aboriginals, gay rights, and trans rights activists were also on the scene to demonstrate that they would not tolerate Israel’s crimes, and that Palestinian rights are human rights.

The speakers were also a mix of Palestinian, Jewish, Socialist, and Aboriginal veterans who all made it expressly clear that Australia and the West’s collective response to the war in Palestine in the past week has been absolutely revolting. One Palestinian survivor spoke of the horror she has felt seeing how eagerly the Australian media has jumped to label Palestinians as terrorists and unprovoked war criminals, all the while her people have been raped and murdered for decades. Indigenous activist Gary Foley emphasised that what the Indigenous people of Palestine are suffering through now, is appallingly similar to what our government is guilty of having done to its people. As victims of an exterminatory genocide in our own lands, the Aboriginal activists present warned us all not to make the mistakes of the past once again.

There were no cries for genocide against Jews, as much as Israel apologists would love to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. In fact there were Jews speaking and present at the rally, and they were adamant in declaring that Israel does not speak for them or the Jews of the world. They urged an end to the Apartheid state of Israel and the acts of terrorism it has committed. This was a rally in solidarity with the victims of genocide, not a rally of hatred against any particular ethnicity.

The Communist Party of Australia does and always has recognised the Palestinian people’s right to sovereignty and liberation and it will continue to do so for as long as they are made to suffer under the boots of imperialism and colonialism.

A worrying sign, and echo of the police intimidation at similar events in Sydney is that police labelled ‘evidence collectors’ were everywhere, recording all attendants exercising their right to peaceful protest.

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