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Gaza is our moment of truth

A protest by students at George Washington University. Probal Rashid SIPA USA) Powerful student movements in the 1960s and 1970s shook the world’s conscience to end America’s slaughter in Vietnam and Cambodia. The moral force of Black people rising together in their pain and rage against legislated racism changed the social fabric of America, ending […]

The post Gaza is our moment of truth first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A protest by students at George Washington University. Probal Rashid SIPA USA)

Powerful student movements in the 1960s and 1970s shook the world’s conscience to end America’s slaughter in Vietnam and Cambodia. The moral force of Black people rising together in their pain and rage against legislated racism changed the social fabric of America, ending formal segregation and ushering a new era in the struggle against institutional racialism.

Power did what power does, deploying brute force, murder, intimidation, silencing, marginalizing, surveillance and all manner of corrupt policing.

We see the outcome and we think we know it.

Labels like “victory” and “advancement” are applied. “Civil rights” is a term spoken as an absolute, a singular point of history with a terrible before and liberated after.

It’s the “happy ending” reframing of what is indeed a boundless thread of struggle for Black liberation stretching in both directions through time.

The resilience of elite capitalist rule relies heavily on such narrative construction that manipulates public imagination with platitudes and reversible concessions, followed by a rebranding of oppression.

Enslavement becomes mass incarceration and purposeful drug addiction. Segregation is sacrificed to be replaced with conscription of Black faces around the same table of power ethos.

Rebooted with greater cruelty

Power adapted since the 1960s, creating new stops, levers, gates and gatekeepers. They lulled us back into their system, rebooted it with greater cruelty and corruption, and retooled it with distractions and celebrity worship while they consolidated and concentrated power in the hands of a tiny minority.

They bought politicians, who in turn work to safeguard and increase the wealth and influence of this elite minority, turning millionaires into billionaires and soon trillionaires, a staggering wealth gap built on the misery of the masses. They created laws to exonerate their criminality and criminalize dissent.

They busted up the unions, subjugated workers and pitted them against each other. Instead of confronting the bosses, workers were manipulated into demanding iron borders and separation of families at those borders.

They gutted regulations and bought up the airwaves to now dictate the content of 95 percent of everything we see, hear and read in the way of journalism, entertainment, education and cultural productions.

This is the reason terrorist characters dominate Arab depictions in Hollywood. It’s the reason for the unusually high number of casual mentions of Israeli benevolence or genius in so many television series and films; the reason why Palestinian humanity is ignored or at best obscured in both print and broadcast news media no matter how many atrocities we face at Israel’s hands.

It’s why Black media outlets, owned and run by Zionists of all stripes, take out hit pieces on the likes of Amanda Seales for her righteous stand on Palestine.

Instead of paying taxes, these billionaires “donate” to universities sufficient sums to impose their vision not only for higher education, but for the acceptable expression of constitutional rights like the First Amendment.

For example, outraged by a Palestinian literature festival – a beautiful celebration of Palestinian excellence and indigenous heritage – the billionaires Marc Rowan, Dick Wolf and the Lauder family conspired to remove the president of the University of Pennsylvania for her insufficient deference to their interpretation of academic freedom.

Enlisting their hired goons in Congress, they and others of their ilk, like Bill Ackman, denigrated and/or removed more university presidents for the same reason.

They even managed to bring the internet – which gave the 1990s generation hope for real democracy – under their nefarious control through algorithms and various forms of surveillance and censorship.

Hiding the horrors

Americans tried to stop the march of US corporate and Zionist warmongers toward war in the early 2000s, but they marched on, trampling our will and the bodies of millions of Iraqis. And the world watched as the US pulverized Iraq, a once glorious, high functioning ancient society.

An “embedded” media hid the bloody horrors and kept the secrets of US corporate looting of Iraq’s treasures and laundering of US tax dollars through rebuilding schemes.

Desensitized, Americans didn’t bother protesting when the US did the same in Libya, spurring a staggering de-development of one of Africa’s most advanced nations into a veritable human slave market.

The enslavement and mutilation of Congolese children and whole families in mineral mines to benefit American tech billionaires (as well as Israel’s blood diamond trade) barely elicit a blip in Western media, a shockingly cruel reality they continue to obscure.

There are hundreds more examples of American and Israeli militarism killing and destroying others in the service of this ruling corporate class.

Mass surveillance of the populace followed the gutting and looting of public education in the United States. The rich got richer and the poor became destitute.

In the name of technology and efficiency, capitalists degraded our food and water – poisoned them even – benefitting pharmaceutical billionaires who keep the masses teetering on the edge of health.

Popular gurus pushed philosophies of individualism, contempt for family, and various forms of alienation that shattered community and social or familial bonds, leaving vast swaths of the people unable to cope with life without drug varieties, both legal and illegal.

They have weighed us down with the fake dreams they scripted for us – insurmountable debt as a stand-in for family and education, blood diamonds as a stand-in for love and carnage abroad as a stand-in for greatness. They sold us a glorious pile of shit and made us think it was a normal – even inevitable – way of life.

They glorified obsessive consumerism and obscenely ostentatious lifestyles. And we let them, believing it was our choice.

But we had none.

An American illusion

Choice, like democracy and free press, is an American illusion, a fairytale they peddle in school, newspapers and songs.

Look how quickly they disbanded, silenced and erased memory of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. Look how we are taught to believe that change can only come through the ballot box, where we’re told to “choose” between two war criminals one election after another.

This moment of livestreamed genocide is the culmination of decades of global capitalist criminality and genocidal Western and Zionist imperialism. We watch in horror as whole Palestinian families are buried alive in their homes, crushed beneath the weight of rubble, their bodies torn and shredded.

Then they gaslight us.

Politicians, spokespeople, pundits, journalists and broadcasters take to the airways to convince us that we hadn’t just seen brains, tongues and eyeballs spilling from the crushed skulls of children and babies. Or worse, that they somehow deserved it.

“Fog of war.”

“Collateral damage.”

“Hamas. Hamas. Hamas.”

“The only democracy.”


Over and over they use their wicked justifications and obfuscations. They speak to us as if we’re stupid because they’re accustomed to our silence and acquiescence.

And they go on, prancing into the Met Gala in obscene finery, the vulgarity of which is made all the more apparent in juxtaposition to the burned and dismembered small bodies on the same day, pouring into Gaza’s few remaining hospitals, screaming, bewildered, in shock and in pain.

But thank God for the students.

Thank God for every Palestinian journalist and every Palestinian healthcare worker risking their lives day in and out to serve their people.

For every fighter choosing martyrdom over indignity.

For the local organizations and activists you never hear about, but whose work has been keeping thousands alive. I dare not say their names, lest they become targets.

For Naledi Pandor in South Africa, Francesca Albanese at the United Nations and Clare Daly in the European Parliament.

For the masses rising up in #Blockout2024. For artists and musicians from Roger Waters and Talib Kweli, to Macklemore and Black Thought, Questlove and more.

For Yemen, South Africa and Colombia. For every person who refuses to remain silent.

All dots connected

This time is different from the uprisings of the 1960s and 1970s. There is a new sense of global interconnection, an emerging class consciousness and foundational political analyses predicated on post-colonial studies and intersectionality.

Back then the white students protesting the war wouldn’t unite with the Black Panthers because they couldn’t connect the dots. All dots are connecting now.

Gaza is no longer the enclave sealed and besieged by Israel and Abdulfattah al-Sisi’s Egypt into a concentration camp. Gaza is no longer the densely-populated strip of Israeli-occupied land.

Rather, Gaza is now all the world.

Gaza is our collective moment of truth, the meaning in our lives. It is the clarity we need and seek.

It is the definitive divide between us and the ruling class that tramples us.

It is us or them. There is no middle place now.

All the borders fade, leaving us united to confront this greedy genocidal minority everywhere.

Gaza is the most anguished place on earth at this hour, dimmed by unimaginable Zionist cruelty, which their military and society conduct with perverted glee that they set to music for TikTok.

And from this tortured place of rubble, death and misery there springs the greatest light we have ever known to guide us out of the darkness in which we’ve been forced to live. The light of our ancestors – from Palestine and Alkebulan to Turtle Island and Aotearoa.

Gaza may well be our last chance to save humanity.

If we allow the wheels of this genocidal Zionist engine to keep turning, there will be no more limits to fascism. There will be no shame or red lines before which they will halt.

This struggle can no more be just about a ceasefire. It must demand liberation and accountability across our burning planet.

Already they are using the tactics of brute force, violent intimidation, suspension and marginalization. They will attempt the same dismantlement, silencing and erasure they did with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

They will offer half-baked promises with no teeth, enough to quiet matters long enough to adopt new strategies and enact new laws.

If we stop they will adapt, and they will do so with artificial intelligence, against which we may well have no defenses, not for a long time to come. So beware of their concessions.

Beware of victory that pulls us back into the lanes they made.

We cannot allow Israeli genocide against a defenseless and captive indigenous population to become a whitewashed, declawed historic moment of before and after.

We cannot leave the lawns and streets and courts and battlefields until Zionism is dismantled and Palestine is free.

This moment belongs to the people. We can dream our own dreams and create a new world in every personal act of refusal to participate in this horrible system predicated on genocide and unending exploitation.

Together we are powerful beyond our wildest imaginations. Compassion and defiance are our superpowers, and this is just our origin story.

The youth are leading and showing us that the future is ours, if we dare to claim it.

• First published in The Electronic Intifada

The post Gaza is our moment of truth first appeared on Dissident Voice.

This content originally appeared on Dissident Voice and was authored by Susan Abulhawa.

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