“We will not be silent.”

Q (usually rhetorical, not wishing to hear an answer): Where are the Palestinian Ghandis?

A:  Through six decades of Israeli military occupation, countless Palestinians have engaged in nonviolent resistance to the occupation. Many Ghandis have been killed by the Israeli military, and several thousand are currently held in Israeli prisons, many without charge.  The Israeli authorities keep trying to break the resistance with terror and violence.  Non-violent resistance complicates their perpetual propaganda goal: to equate Palestinian resistance with terrorism, and to portray Israelis as perpetual victims.  But still, despite everything, resistance continues.

This is the story of one Palestinian Ghandi who needs our help – or at least our voices.

Hassan KarajahHassan Karajah

Grassroots International, which “works to create a just and sustainable world by building alliances with progressive movements,” reports:

Can you imagine what it would be like if military forces came to your home in the middle of the night, searched your mother, brother, and sisters (including a young child), ransacked your family’s belongings,  blindfolded and arrested you, all without any known charges?

This is what happened just two weeks ago to Hassan Karajah, Youth Coordinator of Grassroots International’s partner, Stop the Wall.  (More detail about Hassan and the arrest.)

Will you stand with us to take action and demand Hassan’s immediate release?

For years, he has been organizing Palestinian youth throughout the West Bank to defend their human rights, develop leadership skills and mobilizing nonviolent resistance to the Wall and to the Israeli occupation.

Hassan played an important role in the coalition of youth groups, farmers and trade unions which, together with international supporters, came together in January to occupy land in an area slated by the Israeli government for settlement expansion in the West Bank, Bab Al-Shams.  Is it a coincidence that Hassan was arrested just two weeks after the Israeli government forcibly evicted Palestinians from this area?

In a May 2012 interview, Hassan Karajah said: “The repression we are currently facing…is simply an attempt to cancel our right to freedom of expression and assembly…. We are apparently asked to sit at home and watch our last lands being confiscated, our homes demolished and thousands of Palestinians being taken away to Israeli jails, many even without trials or charges.  But we will not sit at home and we will not be silent.”

For the past two weeks, Hassan has been held in an interrogation facility, and has reportedly been badly beaten.  No known charges that have been brought against him, and as of this writing he has not been allowed to see his lawyer.

This is not the first time that Israeli forces have detained partners of Grassroots International without charges. Recently leaders of both Stop the Wall and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees were summarily arrested and thrown into detention facilities.

Your action – and the support of thousands of others like you – successfully pushed for the release of human rights defenders in the past.  Together with the efforts of Stop the Wall and international allies, we can do it again, at the same time demanding an end to the criminalization of all human rights defenders and social movements everywhere that fight for rights to land, water, and food sovereignty.

“We will not be silent,” Hassan Karajah said.

Please take a minute to make your voice heard on behalf of Hassan, here via Grassroots International, or here via Stop the Wall.

About Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.
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