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We must be honest about our history

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By: Mohammed Khaku

 One hundred years ago, one of the worst instances of racial violence in American history erupted in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On May 31 and June 1, 1921, a white mob attacked the city’s Greenwood district, dubbed the “Black Wall Street,” and inflicted two days of terror.

This massacre was the worst incident of racial violence in American history where 300 Black people were murdered by white supremacists. A fine city of the wealthiest black community in the United States was reduced to rubble. It is sad that my four children who all went to Parkland school district where not taught the true and complete history of the slavery, Jim Crow, and white supremacy.

Israel and US use their control of the education system to prevent the resistance movement of Palestinians and Blacks – BLM. Israeli authorities have erased from school curriculum any material referring to Palestine, Palestinian children do not see the history of their people reflected in the courses taught.

Sound familiar?

In many schools in the United States, Black children do not learn the correct version of Black history and culture. Most school textbooks still claim that Abraham Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan 1st, 1863 that freed all African American slaves.

This is not entirely true. The case in point is the matter of Juneteenth and Tulsa massacres which are omitted from the history books for children to learn. And today many Republican lawmakers are trying to enact laws to prevent the teaching of history of racism and oppression of African American people relationship to the institution of slavery.

Juneteenth is the national celebration of the day – June 19, 1865 – when the last African Americans held in bondage in the state of Texas learned that they had been freed.

The fact was that after nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation! The news was delivered by Union General Gordon Granger in what is known as Order No. 3. Which was delayed intentionally after the cotton harvest was completed.

Black and brown people have been colonized, and incarcerated for no other reason than the race and slavery. Blacks and the Palestinians are both fighting the same historical foe of white supremacy and Zionism to end settler colonialism, imperialism, racism and militarism in all forms.

The struggle of Palestinians and the African Americans

While we might think that this event took place 100 years ago, reverberations of those horrific events continue today.  Juneteenth, the Tulsa massacre, the occupation of Palestine all have similarities. And all these events have to do with occupation, oppression, militarization, and brutality.

Surely, you see the similarities in Black and Palestinian whose struggles has been through the paradigm of militarization, occupation and destruction like in Gaza, the mass open prison reduced to rubble?

The African American suffer at the hands of Police brutality while Palestinians are at the hands of Israeli military.

There is no difference in militarize occupation of black and brown communities in USA and the Zionist occupation, colonization, and the IDF brutality against Palestinians. American Muslims should view the Israel-Palestine and police brutality situation through the prism of racial justice.

For over seven-decade America has supported Israel unconditionally without impunity to commit crimes against humanity. While the US police have immunity against any lawsuits. Many of the same police departments that have brutalized and killed Black people in American streets have been trained in so-called counterterrorism by IDF.

We are in the belly of the beast. The United States gives close to $5 billion to the State of Israel, including $3 billion from Congress and the rest comes as military aid. This does not include fortune 500 companies giving billions more.

The funding with no accountability or transparency from the United States makes the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people possible. Israel is an apartheid state no-one can deny that and if we do deny it, we are part of the Zionist violence.

Nelson Mandela once said that, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Black freedom movement in the United States organized to help end apartheid in South Africa, the same must be done for Palestine.

The Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has for years called for an economic embargo of Israel should be enforced vigorously. BDS resolution should put forward at all city and county level.

President Biden and Congress have put forward to increases the aid to Israel. I believe that Black and Palestinian solidarity must also increase and block any attempt to use taxpayer’s money for occupation.

Blacks and Palestinians freedom is interconnected. The Black Lives Matter movement’s support for Palestine is a reminder how African Americans have linked the Palestinian struggle with theirs since the early days of the black liberation movement.

The US and the international community should end its hypocrisy and double standards with Israeli crimes against humanity. Earlier this month, Israeli soldier held his knee on the neck of a Palestinian protester in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood posting a caption “I cannot breathe”.

On Juneteenth, celebrations are collective liberation of communities in the USA and around the world end White supremacy and Zionism. As Malcom X said: “We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation — all of them from the same enemy. The government has failed us; you can’t deny that.”

The liberation of Palestine can only come by ending the military aid, end occupation and end to apartheid. The mass incarceration in the USA can end when we divert funding of the police department and prison industrial system to better education and job opportunities in Brown and Black communities. It is up to us to be as loud about the liberation of Palestine as we are about the liberation of Black Americans from white supremacy.

The writer is from Allentown, PA USA and can be emailed at [email protected]

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