Media Monitors Network
April 23, 2002
The Palestinian March on Washington
by Ahmed Amr
Thousands of Palestinians rallied in Washington, DC to demand that the Bush administration desist from giving blind support to Sharon’s expulsionist government. They came from Florida and New York. They poured in from Philadelphia and Virginia and the Carolinas. They were old, young, mothers with their children, old villagers with walking canes, outraged young students, working class and small business men, recent immigrant and third generation Americans, Christians and Muslims. And they did not show up alone. Thousands of Americans, including a strong contingent of ultra-Orthodox Jews, came to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and chant loudly for Palestinian liberty and freedom.
Not a single Congressman or Senator was there to hear their cry. The President sent no representative to assure the crowd below that he cared about their long suffering people. The speakers were not exactly from the Washington establishment. Not a single ‘mainstream’ politician came to hear this crowd explain why all decent Americans should stand for liberating the Palestinians from brutal foreign domination. This was in stark contrast to how, just a week earlier, the whores on the hill willingly lined up to do their tricks under the command of ex-Prime Minister Netenyahu. It was a reminder that Congress will rally to the cause of a war criminal and shy away from facing his victims.
Maybe they did not attend out of shame. Although, I suspect that their reasons had something to do with campaign financing and bowing to Sharon’s Yiddish supremacist allies in the mass media.
But the rally went on just the same without the presence of our governors. Palestinian flags, by the thousands, fluttered in the warm breeze with American flags. Slogans called for funding education, not the Israeli occupation. Sharon was denounced by speaker after speaker for his most recent war crimes in the West Bank. The crowd demanded that Sharon answer for his crimes in Jenin, Sabra and Shatila and Qibya. And they were not timid about applauding the heroic Palestinian resistance.
The most amazing thing about this demonstration was that those who participated were not from the ‘old’ established Palestinian-American elite, but from the usually silent working class Palestinians. These where the common immigrant folk, showing up in strength to scream their hearts out for an end to their people’s misery. The mainstream ‘Arab-American’ organizations were visibly absent. Not a single Arab diplomat came to speak to the crowd. Just as well. At last week’s rally, Israeli extremists like Netenyahu and Sharansky were applauded by our Senators. But this was not a suit and tie affair. These were average tax paying common Americans demanding decency and accountability in American foreign policy. Something our Senate is obviously against.
Walking through the crowd was like visiting a gallery of Israeli war crimes. Hand made posters had photographs of individual Palestinian victims being viciously beaten by Israeli soldiers, young Palestinians with their heads blown off, demolished homes and pictures of the recent atrocities in Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and Ramallah. There was one picture of an Israeli soldier menacingly aiming his machine gun at a little girl who cowered behind her little sister who was clinging on to their mother’s skirt. It was the one that stuck in my mind. Next to the picture was a one word statement “why?”. These are the pictures the folks at CNN and the New York Times will not publish. If these ordinary Palestinian-Americans from Tampa and Boston can manage to get their hands on these horrific ‘visuals’ documenting Israeli brutality, why can’t the ‘big boys’ get them? Why does one have to attend a peace demonstration in Washington to visit this gallery?
The photographic documentation presented by these ordinary immigrants was a compelling body of evidence that no American government can ignore. It cannot be that our intelligence community has ‘overlooked’ the evidence. There is simply too much evidence to willingly ignore.
It is time that all Americans examined the ample documentation of repeated Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people. We must ask all our governors, including all the Senators and Congressmen who were absent from this rally, if they have made every American complicit in Sharon’s crimes. An independent outside commission should be appointed to document the evidence and investigate why our politicians continue to sanction the crimes of Ariel Sharon.
The Washington Post reported that 75,000 Americans had attended this rally. Which makes you wonder about all the polls from our Yiddish supremacist poll meisters that claim that Americans are hostile to legitimate Palestinian aspirations. Perhaps they were amazed that they had all actually made it to what will go down as the largest protest by their community in American history. After the rally was over, thousands of Palestinian-Americans and their allies lingered on in the shadow of Congress. Many of their supporters also hung out, all exchanging information on the latest news from the Holy Land. And you could see in their faces that, as Americans, and as Palestinians, they were determined not to be silent about the fate of their brothers and sisters in Jenin and Jerusalem and Gaza and Nablus and Ramallah and Bethlehem. They will not be silent about the institutional bigotry that is inflicted on Israel’s Arab minority. You could see in their faces the determination that has allowed the native people of the Holy Land to endure over five decades of state sponsored terrorism and Israeli repression. I can still hear the echo of their assertive chant “Bush, Cheney, you will see. Palestine will be Free’. If you had attended the rally, you would have no doubts about that very simple statement