The Bitchin' Kitsch

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An open letter regarding the current attempted genocide in Palestine, and a demand for an immediate ceasefire

I, of course, decry the recent attack and hostage-taking by Hamas against Israeli civilians. My heart goes out to those murdered and lost, the families and communities who are mourning, and those who are traumatized by this attack — both Israelites and folks in the Jewish diaspora who may also see themselves as the target of this violence.

I also decry the violent collective punishment and human rights violations enacted in retaliation by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by order of the Israeli government against the 2.2 million Palestinians — 1 million of whom are children — who are currently trapped in Gaza. My heart goes out to those murdered and lost, the families and communities who are mourning, those who have lived their entire lives in fear while trapped in the Gaza Strip, all the Palestinians still under brutal attack, as well as the folks in the Arab, Jewish, Black, Latine, and Indigenous diasporas who may be traumatized and see their own peoples’ struggles for freedom in the violence being enacted against Gazans today.

Additionally, I worry about the uptick of antisemitic rhetoric in the United States which I fear may lead to more persecution and violence and I plead with folks to learn the difference between Judaism and Zionism. I mourn for Wadea Al-Fayoume, the 6-year-old who was murdered by his landlord because he was Palestinian. I worry about the uptick of anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic rhetoric that has been ever-present in the United States in my lifetime which I know has already led to increased violence.

I am a descendant of survivors of violent genocide and firmly believe that learning from history means doing things differently. I support the rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, the Sámi in Norway, Indigenous groups in Guatemala, Palestinians, and all other groups across the world who are currently experiencing oppression and threats of genocide and erasure to exist and thrive.

As such, I also decry the 75 years of continuous colonial violence against the Palestinian people by the Israeli government.

I worry about the falsified accounts of Hamas’ violence being spread by the Israeli government. I am alarmed by the dehumanizing language the Defense Minister of Israel used when referring to Palestinians in Gaza, when he called them “human animals.” I recognize the demonization and dehumanization of a people as a necessary precursor to an attempted genocide because my ancestors survived these attempts.

I do not support my tax dollars being used to fund the violent occupation of Palestine to the tune of $3.8 billion a year, and I especially do not support the additional $2 billion President Biden is considering providing. I recognize that these tax dollars have equipped Israel with what they need to “open the gates of hell,” as the Defense Minister has promised, on the 2.2 million people trapped inside, what I believe is generously termed “the world’s largest open-air prison” (a prison implies there was a crime, but the “crime” most people in Gaza have committed was simply being born in Gaza).

I support an immediate ceasefire between Hamas and the Israeli government. I demand that humanitarian aid be allowed into Gaza. I demand the Israeli government immediately return the flow of clean water, food, and electricity. I ask my representatives to stop the skewed rhetoric and cease sending military aid to Israel. And I ask that everyone work to the end of the violent occupation.

For more information about anything you see here that you may not be aware of (this is intentional by both the Israeli and U.S. governments), here is a short list of varied resources:

Direct actions you can take (courtesy of Rahimeh Ramezany and Vu Le):

Land Back

I work on the occupied ancestral and traditional lands of the Hinóno'éi-no' (Arapaho), Tsétséhéståhese (Cheyenne), Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), and the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires) peoples. In offering this land acknowledgment, I also acknowledge the state-sanctioned acts of genocide against the original inhabitants of this area and the challenges Indigenous communities face today as a result of colonization. I affirm Indigenous sovereignty, history, knowledge, and experiences. I also pledge to support the Land Back movement and reparations in any way that I can until such time that the land is ceded to its rightful stewards.

- Chris Talbot-Heindl

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