It is Day 43 of this conflict now. There hangs an air of uncertainty, of frustration, of helplessness. The Palestinian plight is not the only injustice in the world, nor will it be the last, this is sure. To the PM Sunak, we are “disrespectful”. To our former Home Secretary Cruella Braverman we are a “hate march”. Off the back of the ceasefire vote, the majority of our elected MPs have either voted for more death and destruction, or are cowardly silent. And in Palestine, bombs continue to carpet the sky, death counts mounting with each day, entire family bloodlines wiped from the face of the earth, with true figures unknown.

And yet, despite all these forces, millions of us are on the streets across the entire world every week, the number of pro-Palestine supporters only growing. How can that be?

For me, as a queer, Black person living in London, some could argue I couldn’t be positioned further from that of the life of a Palestinian. But I believe the very reason the Palestinian call is being answered by so many is that it rings loud on universal truths.

Free Palestine speaks of the struggle for self determination. The fabric of our modern democracy is founded on colonial mindsets and apparatus. Free Palestine unveils the state of injustice in our society, and that this injustice threatens all minorities, across every walk of life. That our human right to exercise protest, speak out and resist injustice is in jeopardy. That our governments do not represent the will of the people, and value their calculations and agenda above human life. If Palestinian freedoms are at stake, all of our freedoms are at stake.

To say our mobilising is fuelled by hate is a gross misrepresentation of our call, - what we call for is peace, and the end to an occupation of innocent, indigenous people. It is not complex, but simple.

Free Palestine is an awakening. For many of us, this is the first time we have ever engaged in protest or political discourse. And yet, despite doubts or inexperience, we stand here. In our thousands and millions there is a growing voice. There is a lingering feeling of distrust in the institutions that are meant to represent us, to protect our liberties, to ensure our safety and our dignity. If our politicians, our media, our businesses can have a hand in these human rights atrocities, then what of us? What of the privileges we become accustomed to, that we’ve been raised to take for granted. From our elected representatives, to the companies we consume from, we have been unequivocally failed. They must be held to account, and must know the world is watching.

Palestine Protest 2023

How far we have allowed our sense of shared humanity to stray. It is deeply disturbing to me that we must rationalise and justify the value of Palestinian lives. How caring for people’s safety, their lives, children, their futures, how this can even be up for debate? But I also believe this not to be our fault, but that of the architects of institutions that put their agendas above human life. They capitalise off our doubt, our blind trust, our indifference, our apathy to one another. But if we relearn to tap into our shared humanity, our love and respect for one another, we can close the gaps of misunderstanding and distrust which polarise us.

The Palestinian cause draws off the failures and lessons of the past. My Rwandan heritage compels me to Palestine. To see the same fabricated race war, the power hungry and cold-blooded discourse, the same Western obliviousness and exceptionalism that is the reason I never was able to meet and be loved by my grandmother and grandfather. a legacy fabricated to benefit the powerful. That only once the last bomb falls, the dust clears, that we see not only the true devastation that this conflict has brought, but that of its architects. These architects are European Colonialists that wrote the playbook on how to divide people, to over power people and to punish people for being in the way of their imperial and capitalist desires.

But also the possibilities of the present. A Free Palestine represents our human right to full citizenship, our born right to safety and to dignity. It represents a child’s right to grow, to live, to learn. A mother to see her children grow up.

Free Palestine is not just a protest against the Israeli government, but its foreign patrons, most of which are our western representatives, who continue to endorse the slaughter of entire family bloodlines.

Finally, Free Palestine represents the spirit of the Palestinians, that after decades of enduring a man-made nightmare, does not fade. Unwavering. This is the human spirit. To protect our homes, our loved ones, our community, our autonomy. Our shared humanity.
In fact it is not complex, there is a simplicity to the Palestinian cause, to understand that holding a people and removing their basic born rights is true injustice.
There are a great many of us who see ourselves in Palestine. Our struggles are interwoven. In our shared grief. In our shared rage. In our shared frustration. In the face of this, we must transform our feelings and energy to seek peace, justice and self determination for the Palestinian people. Free Palestine.

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