Israel’s war on Gaza has ignited a firestorm of international condemnation. In the midst of this outrage, organizations like the Palestinian Youth Movement have spearheaded a global mass movement to fight Israel’s genocide and to stand in solidarity with Palestine. With the temporary truce in Gaza likely ending, this mass movement faces a critical juncture. Yara Shoufani of the Palestinian Youth Movement speaks with The Real News about the tasks of the Western left in this moment, the opportunity to revive anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism as core pillars of the left, and the central role of Palestinian struggle in “sharpening the contradictions” of a status quo that may be breaking apart before our eyes.
The spoken word poem “There are Flowers Blooming in Antarctica,” shared on TikTok by user Madii.sky.blu, speaks of the modern-day man-made horrors that confront us. It highlights the contradictions of witnessing flowers bloom in Antarctica—a reminder of climate change and impending collapse—amidst governmental apathy along with grim reality of observing genocide in Palestine. The resonating words “there are flowers blooming in Antarctica” echo Palestine’s struggle for liberation, a battle not confined geographically, reverberates globally, its ripples reaching the verdant forests of Atlanta, Georgia.
Sixty-six years ago, in the midst of a raging war, the renowned French-Algerian writer Albert Camus delivered his most perilous political speech. On the surface, his speech called for a civil truce in Algeria, but beneath the surface, it subtly rejected Arab nationalist aspirations. In its essence, Camus expressed a humanist commitment to shared possibilities in a land shared by colonizers and the colonized. Amidst calls for armed resistance, Camus, a member of the Pieds-Noirs, the French-Algerian community, positioned himself as an outsider to the colonizer/colonized dichotomy. He aimed to be a mediator, above all, who despised indiscriminate violence and sought dialogue, and a truce, among the French and the Arabs of Algeria.
There’s no shortage of dangerous narratives about the South: that people vote for their own oppressors, that the South is decades behind, that it can’t be saved. Perhaps on the last note there’s a kernel of truth: the South doesn’t need saving. If you read Scalawag magazine, you know that Southerners are saving themselves. Since 2015, Scalawag has produced essential coverage of Southern organizing for collective liberation. From investigative deep dives on Alabama prison facilities to expansive meditations on Black women’s grief, Scalawag grapples fearlessly with the crises of police violence, mass incarceration and capitalism, and spotlights organizers and movements that are fighting towards the world we so desperately need.
Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip has now entered its fifth day on Wednesday, October 11. Israeli airstrikes continued through Tuesday night and into Wednesday, targeting factories, shops, residential buildings, and a university, killing at least 30 Palestinians and wounding hundreds of others. Health officials in Gaza say medical facilities across the Strip are on the brink of collapse, as officials announce the shutdown of Gaza’s sole power plant, plunging the Strip into total darkness. Mondoweiss Gaza correspondent Tareq Hajjaj says that internet connection and cell service are still extremely difficult to come by in Gaza, after Israel bombed the central company that provides internet to Gaza City.
I was nine years old (1948) when there was HUGE celebration in the Bronx at the founding of the state of Israel. No one told me that Arabs had lived on that land for centuries and were displaced by force, tens of thousands of them crammed into postage-stamp-size Gaza, now host to two million Palestinians. The Religious ‘Justification’: Zionist Jews, like the ones now in power in Israel, claim God gave them the land they now occupy. They cite Deuteronomy. But given the way they treat Arabs, they ignore the fact that, according to Deuteronomy, it was a two-part ‘deal’. By their oppression of the Arab population, Israel’s leaders push aside the condition God is said to have imposed on their “inheritance”. It was an “only if”.
The Zionist colonial occupation occupied our Palestinian homeland and displaced our people, destroyed our towns and villages, committed hundreds of massacres against our people, killing children, women, and elderly people and demolishing homes with their inhabitants inside in violation of all international norms and laws and human rights conventions. We have previously warned the Israeli occupation against continuing their crimes and appealed to world leaders to work on putting an end to the Israeli crimes against our Palestinian people and detainees and their holy sites and homeland and to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to abide by international law and resolutions. Neither did the Israeli occupation leaders heed our demands nor did the world leaders act in this regard. Instead, the Israeli occupation intensified its crimes, crossing all red lines, particularly in occupied Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque – the Muslims’ first Qibla and third holiest site.
I received dozens of messages inquiring about my thoughts on what is going on now in Palestine and how we are doing and what is going to happen. I also did some TV & Radio interviews. It is really very simple: we have 15 million native Palestinians, 8 million of us are refugees or displaced people (2/3rd of Gaza's 2.2 million are refugees). Israel cannot be allowed to get away with stealing lands and resources and setting up a racist apartheid regime. Even besieged, starving, blockaded people in Gaza manage to break through their prison walls. Miraculously they managed to defeat the supposedly most sophisticated intelligence and military force in the world.
Israel pounded Gaza overnight Saturday in retaliation for a surprise and unprecedented offensive launched by Hamas fighters in Gaza at dawn on Saturday. Israeli leaders threatened unprecedented violence against Gaza in retaliation, with a lawmaker in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party calling for an even worse Nakba than the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. Two-thirds of Gaza’s population of more than two million are refugees from lands in Israel, including those around the periphery of the Strip, that were purged of their Palestinian residents before, during and in the months following the establishment of the state of Israel.
As the morning dawns on 7 October 2023, the resistance is rising throughout occupied Palestine, smashing the siege on Gaza with a comprehensive offensive confronting the occupier by land and air, taking control of Palestinian land, seizing occupation settlers and soldiers and launching thousands of missiles as Palestinian resistance forces fight to advance return and the liberation of Palestine. The new resistance operation, titled the Al-Aqsa Flood by Mohammed Deif, commander in chief of the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, comes on the 50th anniversary of the 1973 war in which Egypt reclaimed the occupied Sinai from Zionist occupation, and is set to alter the direction of the struggle in occupied Palestine, moving from resistance toward revolution and liberation.
The 4-week old turmoil in the West African state of Niger is taking a curious turn that no longer allows a binary vision of “neo-colonialism and imperialism” versus “national liberation”. Niger’s coup leaders are making overtures to the United States and keeping the Russian military contractors, Wagner PMC, at arm’s length — at least, at the present stage of transition of power. The speed with which Washington deployed Kathleen FitzGibbon, an ace Africa hand with intelligence background, as its new ambassador to Niamey signals diplomacy as the preferred course while keeping all options on the table.
Over the past few weeks, significant events have been unfolding across historic Palestine. January 7, 2023, marked the start of Zionist protests in response to proposed Israeli judicial reforms. In parallel, we have also seen an intensification of the ongoing settler colonial violence perpetrated by the Zionist entity against Palestinians – January was the West Bank’s deadliest month in nearly a decade, and the last few weeks have seen heightened violence towards Palestinians in Al-Aqsa. In response to these assaults, we have seen increased resistance efforts from groups across historic Palestine, as well as Lebanon and Syria.
In 2021, the South African government was provided with funding of around €700 million (ZAR13 billion), from the German government to decommission its coal-based power stations in order to transition to green energy. True to their hypocritical nature, the Germans quickly reverted back to coal-fired plants when Russian president Vladimir Putin stopped supplying Russian gas to the rest of Europe. This dynamic is terribly familiar to countries of the global south. The Guinea-Bissauan revolutionary, Amilcar Cabral, already said in 1971: “Imperialism—as you know better than myself—is the result of the gigantic concentration of financial capital in capitalist countries through the creation of monopolies, and firstly of the monopolies of capitalist enterprises.” Cabral was assassinated, in January 1973, by fascist Portuguese just months before the PAIGC (Guinea Bissau’s anticolonial movement) succeeded in achieving Guinean independence.
As apartheid Israel’s brutal siege of Gaza enters its 15th year this June, food sovereignty and climate activists Mohammed AbuJayyab and Asmaa Abu Mezied emphasized the centrality of the agricultural space in building resistance, autonomy and community in the greater fight for justice and Palestinian liberation in a recent public conversation hosted by Adalah Justice Project (AJP) and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). “To talk about agriculture in Gaza particularly, the first thing that comes to mind is the systematic challenges that face farmers in Gaza,” related to climate change and daily worries of production, yield and market prices, says Abu Mezeid, an economic development and social inclusion specialist .“Diving deep into them, you will understand how political and politicized these challenges are.”
There is nothing left to do in the US but to organize and mobilize the masses. The US is a country made up of conservatives who are openly racist and imperialist, and liberals who are incoherent and inconsistent; only “inclusive” when it comes to upholding white supremacy and imperialism. They both give false hope to us, the colonized masses, lie after lie, broken promise after broken promise. We have come to see that the US has always resembled genocide, war, imperialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and so many other cancers that we as the colonized masses are infected with. To be cured, to be free, we must rid ourselves of the tumors and infected areas of our body. Only through collective, protracted, and organized struggle will we obtain liberation.