Watching the barbaric and indiscriminate slaughter of innocent Palestinians in Gaza fills me with rage, helplessness, and determination. My lack of sleep makes me shudder with guilt over the deprivations and hardships that every single family is experiencing everywhere in the Gaza Strip.
Action is the best antidote for anger. I truly believe that much-needed action in many ways (large and small) can make a difference. So here’s a list of what I believe we can do. Please share your ideas in the comments or message me directly.
We must talk with people outside of our “activist bubbles” and inform them about the facts. Don’t let anyone tell you “it’s complicated”. It’s not. But it’s important that people standing in solidarity with the Palestinians educate themselves so they aren’t hoodwinked by Israel’s framing of the narrative — the Zionists’ hasbara. I’m going to continue posting resources that we all might find helpful in our education, but this blog post is not that.
This is a list of actions we can take immediately, assuming we have already informed ourselves of the basics of the Nakba, the occupation, and the siege on the Gaza Strip.
#1 Large signs to catch attention and start a conversation. A home-made sign in your yard or window, or in your car, might do the trick. In just the past 2 days, I’ve had a number of discussions with people who saw my signs and asked me questions. “What’s the Nakba?” I even generated a few supportive honks.
#2 Letters to the Editor and Opinion pieces. Simple and meaningful, especially if they get published. The editor of my local paper just called me (no kidding!) to verify that the letter I sent was really from me. Even if your letter isn’t published, it makes a difference if the editor sees numbers of people care about the issue. Of course, if my letter is published, I’m going to magnify its reach and circulate it on social media. A secret — I even drafted a letter for my California friend to send to her local paper. If you are comfortable writing letters to the newspaper — seek out friends in other communities who might want you to ghost write a letter.
#3 President Biden needs to hear from Americans. I actually write to President Biden every week on an issue of importance to me.
My letter to the President this week using the online contact form. https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Dear President Biden,
You aren’t using the power of your office to end Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law, and I hold you accountable.
As of today (Sunday, May 16) Israel has killed 188 Palestinians, including 55 children this past week. Ten Israelis have died.
Your words echo the milquetoast sentiments that the U.S. government has used in the previous 3 Israeli bombardments on Gaza (2009, 2012, 2014) and they are just as ineffectual in 2021.
The words you need to convey ASAP are: “The U.S. condemns the multiple provocations at Al-Aqsa Mosque and evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem that led up to the current violence.”
“The U.S. condemns violations of international humanitarian law the world is witnessing in Gaza and Israel.”
“The U.S. condemns the violence that the State of Israel has unleashed on the Gaza Strip with weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers.”
“The U.S. acknowledges the imbalance of power, the ongoing Nakba “catastrophe”, and the military occupation that has subjugated several generations of Palestinians, with U.S. support and complicity.”
The actions you need to take ASAP are: “My Administration will not stand in the way of any actions the U.N. Security Council decides to take in response to the current violence in Israel – Palestine.”
“My Administration will freeze expenditures to the State of Israel until we (the U.S., Palestine and Israel) negotiate a conclusion to this violence which must include lifting the blockade of the Gaza Strip immediately with no preconditions.”
President Biden —- you have the power to save lives. Use it. Restore our country’s moral compass. The future of Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans depend on it.
#4 Our Members of Congress need to hear from us too. It’s simple, takes only a minute or two, and you don’t even need to know the names of your U.S. Senators or Congressperson. Just dial the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Tell the switchboard operator which state you live in and they will connect you directly with the correct Senate office. When the Senator’s staff answers, give them a quick and easy message like “I’m watching Israel’s bombing in the Gaza Strip and it’s wrong. Israel must stop killing innocent men, women and children. I want Senator ___ to take a strong position to stop the violence and support the Palestinians.” The Senator’s staff is counting every phone call. Your call counts!
#5 Media needs to hear from us as well. If your local TV or Radio covers the current holocaust in Gaza, listen carefully. If they do a good job, let them know. It makes a difference if they hear support for their work, especially on topics like Israel-Palestine that are so often ignored or treated unfairly. This weekend my local TV covered a Rally we held in the public park. There were strong speakers and great signs. KRQE covered it very well, and I called them to thank them. The person who answered the phone at KRQE sounded surprised, and was speechless. I ended by saying “We appreciate news coverage that is fair and balanced. Thank you!” If you’re a New Mexican, listen to the story on KRQE. Give them a holler at 505-764-5240 and let them know what you think.
#6. Raise funds for an organization helping Palestinians in Gaza. If you’re a fundraising pro —- this is the time to get to work. And if you’re not comfortable asking for money, but you have funds to donate, there are many reputable organizations that deserve your attention. I’m raising money for UNRWA-USA’s annual #GAZA5K — a program that supports mental health services for Palestinian refugees in Gaza. The timing of this year’s #GAZA5K with the horrific bombardment happening now in Gaza is a poignant reminder that Palestinians older than 11 years of age have experienced three (now four) military assaults on their homes and neighborhoods. Nearly everyone in Gaza has some form of PPTSD (perpetual post traumatic stress disorder). Mental health services are critically important. I welcome a donation in any amount here. I recommend this recent episode of Latitude Adjustment podcast where Eric talks with a young Palestinian woman about her experience in Gaza during this bombardment, and why mental health services are so important.
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! LETS DO IT!