The only weapons we have are our voices

Earlier this week, an Al-Awda activist from Massachusetts, Amer Jubran, was in court in Brookline, Massachusetts facing charges of attacking a police officer with a dangerous weapon.  The charges against Mr. Jubran stem from a peaceful demonstration that he was taking part in about ten days ago in Boston.  Without going into too much detail, Mr. Jubran was leading chants in a counter-demonstration against supports of the state of Israel, when he was approached and physically assaulted by a supporter of Israel.

According to tens of witnesses, Mr. Jubran stuck to his high ethical and non-violent principles by simply backing away, whilst enthusiastically inspiring the crowd of Palestinians and supporters with the chants that all the Palestinians have to fight with is their voices.  Nevertheless, according to witnesses, the police chose to single out Mr. Jubran and arrest him for his boldness, for his leadership, for the symbolic danger that he represents.

Amer Jubran is Israel’s greatest enemy.  He is more of an enemy than any desperate suicide bomber or human rights activist in the occupied territories.  Mr. Jubran has a voice, a strong one, which can be heard by many.  He has the power of persuasion, and he is given platform, or at least the illusion, of freedom in the West, where he can convince people listen to the ugly truth about Israel, about the Apartheid, about the racism, about the continues dispossession and torment of Palestinians.  Mr. Jubran has the power to wake up a whole people who do not realise that they are each contributing several thousand dollars, every year, to the State of Israel, whilst their own children lack good public access to education and health care.  Mr. Jubran has the power to wake up the dormant and unknowing conscience of America, to recount the moral objectives and bastions promoted by the forbearers of democracy, to remind them what Abraham Lincoln actually stood for.

Amer Jubran should be our champion.  And we are nowhere to be found. When 20 supporters showed up at his pre-trial hearing earlier this week, there were only two Palestinians among them.

Oh Palestine, where is your soul, where is your dogma, where are your patriots?

The trial of Amer Jubran represents to us, everything.  It represents our own validation as citizens of this world, it represents the heartache and suffering of 52 years of exile and dispossession, it represents our solidarity with our brethren under occupation, it represents every village destroyed, every deed and every key to a home in Palestine kept, it represents every child who has been slain, every fighter who has been sacrificed, every hope for return, for justice, for Palestine.

The trial of Amer Jubran is our exhibition to America, that we exist, that we have a right to demonstrate, to ask people of good conscience and will to question the false axioms that they have been led to believe.

The trial of Amer Jubran is for every act of courage that I have witnessed since the founding of Al-Awda.  It is for the son and daughter of a national hero, whose brutal murder none of us can forget, who nevertheless regularly leads chanting in front of the Israeli Embassy in London.  It is for the honourable survivor of Sabra and Shatila who defiantly organises protests at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, despite the memory of events so horrible that I cannot even fathom.  It is for the numerous of asylum seekers who spent time under torture in Israeli prisons who I have witnessed risking their status by demonstrating.  It is for the activist who bravely moves to Ramallah in the middle of the Intifada from his comfortable home in the West to help our fellow compatriots.  It is for every Palestinian who refuses to stay silent.

It is for the chorus that rings true for any movement of justice over time, for every revolution, for every act of civil resistance to oppression and tyranny.  The people united will never be defeated.

For shame to all refugees in the America who have not turned out in support for Amer Jubran.  For shame to those who fear.  This is our chance, our one chance, to truly capture the imagination of anyone who cares about the true meaning of justice.  This is the spark that can ignite our movement. This is the type of incident that sparked the anti-Apartheid movement in the early 1980’s in the United States.

My fellow Palestinians, forget not Amer Jubran.  You are him.  He is fighting for you.  You must fight for him.  For his heart.

Help Free Amer Jubran.  You Will Free Palestine.

Mr. Rabee’ Sahyoun is a economic development policy researcher at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies and is affiliated with the global grassroots Palestine Right To Return Coalition.

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