Monday, June 22, 2009

a WhOLe DiFfErEnt RaLLy

A Whole Different Rally

Rebecca Ilham*

editor : kasihsayang

(copy from iluvislam)

It was a counter-protest, really. The pro-Israel rally was on the steps of the State Capitol, so we gathered across Lincoln Street and held our pro-Palestine signs up, chanting. Some of the chants were now at the back of my head, and together with the lady that I have befriended at the Golden mosque (she's a Caucasian American Muslim), we started up some really good chants, such as: "Free, free Palestine!" "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" "Gaza Gaza don't you cry, Palestine will never die" "Stop the murder, Stop the hate, Israel's a terrorist state" "Down with the Occupation" "1, 2, 3, 4 Occupation No More, 5, 6, 7, 8 Israel's a terrorist state"
I was also near a group of teenagers, so we started the hip hop version of "Free Free Palestine" chant that we picked up on Friday night. It was a HUGE hit. During this time, when the pro-Palestine protesters were calling out for a permanent end to the genocide, mass murder and bombings of schools and households in Palestine, the pro-Israel side was blaring up some music and started dancing. The lady next to me could not contain her anger and yelled out: "Stop dancing and start addressing the issue!" But the music only got louder, especially when we started chanting "Stop celebrating the death of civilians!" When it was a serious matter for us, looked like it was a picnic for them. A spokesperson from the Colorado-Palestine Coalition (I just saw him on Channel 9) said that they were drumming on some war drum. Is that a message of peace? Earlier during the protest, when a guy from the pro-Palestinian side crossed over and I don't know, trying to reason with some of the people from the other side, he was lynched. So who started the violence? The cops were more involved in this rally than the other ones I've been to of course. There was also more media coverage, but the marshals warned us against talking to some TV station which apparently has been twisting the information around. Gosh, talk about ignorance! The signs from the other side that really ticked me off read "Israel has rights for self-defense" and "Gaza is just another front on the war against terror." What rights, I really want to ask, when Israel does not have the rights to exist in the first place? I can go deep into the principle of jus sanguinis, the principle on which Israel is built on, so ask me if you're interested. But if you do not want to be political, just consider the humanity aspect. That is all I ask for, that is all the Palestinians ask for. And it doesn't have to be about religion either because no people with good conscience would accept the crimes that has been going on in Gaza for 60 (almost 61) years now. At 3 p.m, about an hour and a half into the rally, the call for prayer was heard. We responded to the summon and another congregational prayer in front of the Capitol was performed. There were no words to describe my feeling. To pray together, shoulder to shoulder with strangers who are bonded to me because of our identical faith in God and His messenger and messages was very profound. But what made me teary-eyed the most was the fact that we are united in this issue and we are not afraid to make ourselves heard. Thanks for reading.
We will not go down(a song for gaza)* Rebecca Ilham is a columnist of She is currently studying at Colorado School of Mines, USA and actively writing for Grup Karyawan Luar Negara(GKLN).