Sat 13-April-2024

Land Day is an opportunity to urge the international community to stop the Gaza genocide

Monday 1-April-2024

By Eman Abusidu

Palestinians and their supporters worldwide commemorate Land Day on 30 March every year and have done so since 1976. The day has come to symbolize the struggle of the Palestinian people for their legitimate rights to their own land, homes and property – to their homeland. But I think every solidarity stance, every word and every speech delivered on this day has not been enough to express the true meaning of the steadfastness of the Palestinian people.

What is happening in Gaza now and how the people of Gaza are still standing on their land despite the genocides, thirst, hunger, crimes, destruction and homelessness are the greatest proof to the whole world that they have protected this land and still do.

Every year, I deliver a speech, write an article or participate in an event commemorating Land Day on various platforms. However, I realized that all my words across the years were insufficient because my previous speeches were based on what I read in history books or what my grandparents told me.

I’m the daughter of Palestinians who still suffer in the north of the Gaza Strip. Our family house was partially destroyed, our neighborhoods were erased, many members of my extended family were killed and my parents couldn’t find anything to break their fast during Ramadan under the Israeli bombardments. Despite the harsh conditions, they are still standing on their land and refuse to leave Gaza.

I’m sure that 30 March will have a very different feel this year, with the Palestinians in Gaza being killed and starved in defense of their land for over six months. The steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Gaza is deeper and greater than anything we have read in history books, and it is the most appropriate response to anyone who accused the Palestinians of selling their land and abandoning it during the Nakba.

On the other hand, what is shocking is that the whole world remains silent despite the massacres they see daily. Unfortunately, the international community has failed to implement the mechanisms previously that could prevent the colonization of the West Bank and the destruction of Gaza, whether through imposing sanctions on Israel or supporting Palestinian attempts to take Israel to the International Criminal Court. Today, the world fails once again to stop the genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

Of course, we can’t ignore the popular demonstrations and activists’ efforts since the outbreak of Israel’s bombing campaign on Gaza. We saw how the communities in Latin America came together to denounce the Israeli occupation’s actions in Gaza. Even the region’s presidents adopted a united policy of condemning Israel’s action on Gaza, calling for an end to the massacres and for civilians to be protected.

Activists prepare to commemorate Palestinian Land Day across Latin America this year with talks, meetings, cultural activities, media interviews and social media campaigns. The Palestinian flag will rise and people will chant their support on the streets. Support for Palestine from Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador and Chile, in particular, has always been strong.

Palestinian activist and President of the Santa Catarina Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Shahla Othman told me: “As long as Palestine is not free, all our events will be one of condemnation because the Palestinian people have the right to have a free and sovereign state in their homeland like all other countries in the world.”

“The Palestinian cause has already become a world issue because we see how thousands of people on the streets around the world express solidarity with the Palestinian cause, strengthening BDS and denouncing Israel’s crimes. This accumulation of progressive and democratic forces is what put pressure on the end of the Zionist state.”

According to Palestinian activist and representative of Samidoun Rawa Alsagheer, Gaza taught her and the world how to be free even under the occupation. “Gaza freed the mind of the world! The Palestinian struggle is not a struggle of the Palestinian people alone. It is the struggle of all free people around the world who want to put an end to this Nazi-Zionist project,” Alsagheer expressed.

“As a Palestinian woman of the diaspora, it is my duty not only to follow what is happening in Gaza but also to talk about it, demonstrate, do grassroots work and ask the Brazilian government to break all economic, political relations and Israeli arms and military training agreements in Brazil,” she added.

The events in occupied Palestine on 30 March, 1976, when Israeli occupation forces killed six Palestinian citizens as they protested against the government’s expropriation of Palestinian land, form the backdrop of Land Day. Today, tens of thousands have been killed in Gaza and its people are still waiting for the world to stop this genocide against the Palestinian people. Indeed, it is a crime against humanity.

-Eman Abusidu is MEMO’s correspondent in Brazil.

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