Palestine Blog #6: African Palestinians: The Playbook of Liberation

Thursday, July 21st

Today African American Heritage delegation met with representatives of the African Palestinian community who have a small district in the Old City of Jerusalem.  African Muslims making their pilgrimage to Mecca from Senegal and north Africa would often add a trip to Palestine to visit the Al Aqusa Mosque. Over time, some of these Africans stayed and built up a community.  These African brothers and sisters welcomed us into their community and told us of their double burden of fighting against the Israeli occupation and against racism.  The were careful to distinguish between the prejudice they can sometimes receive from their Arab Palestinian bothers and sisters, and the institutional racism that is perpetrated against them from the Israeli state. 
This African Palestinian community lives very close to the Al Aqusa Mosque and have become some of the primary caretakers of it.  That is why when Arial Sharon and his Israeli security forces entered the grounds of the Mosque, these African Palestinians played an important role in the second intifada. 

The man we spoke to spent over a decade in an Israel prison for his involvement with the resistance.  He told us a moving story a successful hunger strike they underwent to get a basketball so they could have some recreation.  My thoughts immediately strayed back to the United States where Pelican Bay State prisoners have inspired inmates across California to conduct a hunger strike for their rights.

As Mark, a member of our African Heritage delegation, has repeated often on our trip, "Oppression uses the same playbook the world over, and so does liberation."