On July 24th, PCHRP took to the streets during the national day of action to demand justice for Palestine. This was an urgent call to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza, end the blockade, and end US military support to Israel. In this latest round of violence by Israel, over 500 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured. Seventy-two percent of those are civilians, including over 80 children. One hundred thousand are displaced and living in makeshift shelters; electricity has been reduced to four hours a day for 80% of the population; water has been cut off to hundreds of thousands; hospitals have been bombed and there are shortages of everything from food to medicines.
PCHRP joined Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER), Portland International Socialist Organization (ISO), Portland Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR), Friends of Sabeel Portland, Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation, Portland Jobs with Justice, Individuals For Justice, Veterans For Peace Chapter 72, and Portland Central American Solidarity Committee (PCASC) during the rally and march starting in Pioneer Square while fellow community organizers circled around in their bicycles for the Bike Swarm for Palestine.
At 6:30 a.m. bright and early on Saturday morning BAYAN USA organizations in Seattle joined hundreds in solidarity with Palestine in a community picket to stop the Zim Chicago ship from unloading its cargo at the Port of Tacoma. This action came in the wake of a recent victory, when 2,500 Oakland activists blocked another Zim ship for four days with help from the ILWU longshore men.
“This is actually a call that came from Palestine Civil Society to boycott Israeli companies that are funding the Israeli occupation and war crimes in Gaza and Palestine,” said Amin Odeh from Voices for Palestine.
Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. is the biggest cargo shipping company in Israel, and 10th largest in the world with total revenue of $3.7 billion in 2013.
For the Filipino activist community witnessing this, familiar feelings arise. Having survived a long history of anti-colonial struggle, we see ourselves reflected in the resistance of the Palestinian people. BAYAN Philippine Chair Carol P. Araullo compares the Israeli apartheid to that of Tacloban after Super Typhoon Haiyan — both are man-made, apocalyptic disasters.
“In Seattle, we are hundreds of miles away from Ferguson, thousands of miles away from Gaza, and oceans away from our very own Philippines, where nine months since Typhoon Haiyan, survivors of the typhoon are still not receiving adequate relief,” said Nicole Ramirez. “Despite the distance and the sadness that comes from hearing the news, what I know to do is to continue organizing our communities locally, doing our part to expose the policies and practices of the U.S. government and its military that perpetuates state violence in this country and all over the globe.”
BAYAN is participating in the Block the Boat NW actions because we see this as a way to confront Israel and bring attention to their war crimes. We want to make it known that as Filipinos we also face state-sanctioned violence and human rights abuses supported by the U.S. government. U.S. imperialism continues to play a crucial role in suppressing people’s movements, from Ferguson to Palestine to the Philippines