The Violence of Denying Palestinians their Basic Humanity

In the response to the unimaginable violence against Palestine, we are witnessing a disturbing and traumatic treatment of Palestinians. In headlines, in government action, on social media, in conversations around you. The refusal to acknowledge the decades-long pain, suffering, and subjugation of Palestinians. To paint Palestinians as a people to fear, to oppress, to fight. 

Palestinians spend every second of their lives fighting against a settler state that propagates fear and hatred of them. And that results in an impossible battle that forces them just to assert their basic humanity. It means that Palestinians have to beg to be seen as people deserving of life and freedom. This is the work of a settler state that has used these narratives of fear, of threat, to secure its spot as the “victor”, the rightful inhabitant. This results in a world that regurgitates the violent narratives, creating inhospitable and dangerous realities for Palestinians globally. And because of that, whenever Palestine pushes against this status quo, Palestinians are backed into a corner and forced to give context, to give reason, to explain why they have the right to fight for a free life. 

This is an inherently genocidal settler practice. For an oppressor to create this status quo, to paint Palestinian resistance as evil and abhorrent when pushing against systematic and systemic violence - this is the groundwork that leads to the normalization of genocide.  

So not only is Palestine fighting for freedom, but Palestinians must also push against this status quo that insists they should remain under oppression. But this should not be the Palestinians’ job. To fight for one’s life while simultaneously fighting for the acknowledgment of their humanity is a disgusting result of the settler colonial project. 

And when you see someone feeding into this status quo, to buy into these propagated narratives meant to side international audiences with the oppressor, it creates a dangerous reality where the knee-jerk reaction is to support the actions of the oppressor. We’re witnessing this right now with Western media’s (lack of) representation of the atrocities toward Palestine. By publishing emotional headlines about lives lost - but focusing only on one side. By fearmongering about terrorism and victimhood. We’re seeing this status quo play out in real time - which dangerously erases the voices and cries from Palestinians. 

Not only does this lead to the erasure of Palestinian voices, but it also prompts the questioning of Palestinians too. The call for nonviolent, unarmed, unprotected resistance is loud right now. And it creates conditional support for Palestine. Conditional support for a population facing genocide from their oppressor. It creates “nuance” in support for Palestine. But to have these conditions, these “nuances”, means that it is not true support for Palestine - because it asks Palestine to be palatable in response to genocide. This conditional support strips away the basic humanity of Palestinians because it demands explanation and justification as to why they should have the right to use such resistance to fight for life and freedom. And where is this demand for justification and explanation for such violence from the oppressor? There is none. 

They are taking away everything, including hope, from the human beings in Gaza. First they took their freedom, then their food and water, and lastly they tried to steal their humanity.

When we see the horrible images of atrocities toward Palestinians on our timelines, on the news, surely we can stomach to look at them and say “I witness the massacres.” Never look away and leave Palestinians to suffer alone in silence. 

So recognize that when you see instances in headlines, on social media, in conversations of this criticism of Palestine and resistance. Recognize that it should not be the responsibility of Palestinians to beg you to see their basic humanity - to prove their right to life and freedom. Recognize that this is a tool of oppression to keep the status quo and force Palestinians to prove their humanity. This continues to result in devastating and fatal violence toward Palestine. 

If you don’t know how to speak up for the silenced voices of Gaza, share any crafts you’ve bought from Gaza hands and claim their humanity. They were women just stitching and weaving and trying to feed their children and buy this year’s school uniforms.

We urge you to continue showing up for Palestine. Be loud. Be bold. Donate to organizations like the Middle East Children’s Alliance and help get money directly to those facing unimaginable violence. Use your voice, your actions, your work to fight against the narratives and systems that deny Palestinians their basic humanity. Now is not the time to falter in your support for Palestine. 

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