Jan 4, 2009

Toledoans Protest Israeli War on Gaza

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I received an advance notice of a protest over Israel's war on Gaza at Central and Secor, and with the freezing rain that iced over area streets, I thought there would be a lower turnout. However, I counted over 150 people at the protest, far exceeding my expectations.

The crowd was quite diverse, with students and business persons, parents and children, and many folks who did not seem to be so readily identifiable - just average people outraged over the latest Israeli violence against the Palestinians.

I had a lengthy conversation with Ziad Hummos, a Palestinian who came to the United States after the First Intifada. He and I expressed our mutual frustration at the unwillingness of American political leaders to speak out against the wholesale slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians.

"Our current President is unwilling to do anything in his last weeks, and [President-elect] Barack Obama has been completely quiet," he said. "Sure, Obama came out and condemned the violence in Mumbai, but why has he been so quiet about this war?"

Yet even the driving rain - which caused me to clean my eyeglasses every few minutes - could not stop this large crowd from voicing its anger and frustration.

"From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free!" chanted the crowd, and many dozens of cars honked in support. The only counter protester I heard was a pedestrian on the Westgate side, who hollered that the protesters "should go back home" if they "don't like America."

Uh, dude? America IS home to everyone who attended the rally today. Perhaps our unhappy friend might move to a state where fascist repression of protest is the norm. Like, say, Israel, where police and government forces regularly harass peaceful protesters like these.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

How do you get 150? Looks like about 40 in your picture.

OFAC said...

Good turnout today, not as big as the massive demo downtown on Friday, but a good showing.

However, it's truly saddening to see this kind of violence against the people in Palestine being ignored or condoned by so many.

historymike said...

Anonymous:

There were people on all four corners, plus this particular photo was taken about 30 minutes before the peak attendance.

historymike said...

OFAC:

Agreed, especially about the Americans who cheerlead this brutal slaughter. There will be a special place in Hell reserved for such folks as Bill Kristol, who does everything but squeal like a prepubescent Jonas Brothers fan whenever the Israelis go on the warpath.

Aya K. said...

Thank you for going to this protest. A lot of people don't even know what's really going on. Some people asked what we were doing. I did notice two more negative feedback; a person who stuck out his middle finger at us, and another lady who said her husband is fighting in the war and what we were protesting against was wrong.

mud_rake said...

a pedestrian who hollered that the protesters "should go back home" if they "don't like America."

Such ignorance is amazing, but not unexpected. During the run-up to the Bush War on Iraq, my wife and I were insulted and spat-upon by hundreds of 'patriotic' people who mocked us for our No-War placards. We were similarly admonished: "America- love it or leave it!"

I wonder if now in 2009, they still think that the Bush War was a grand and uber-patriotic mission. Clearly these propagandized citizens had vengeance in their hearts as they were easily bamboozled to substitute Saddam for bin Laden. The famous Emerson quote regarding the need to explore 'the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart' comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Well first off I want to say I wanted to go but my mom didn't think it was a good idea. :(

"a pedestrian who hollered that the protesters "should go back home" if they "don't like America."

Well I have to find that persons ignorance a bit amusing. I am a recent revert to Islam and would have loved to have replied to that. I live about 30-40 min north of Toledo, so i would have very sarcastically asked if he wanted to give me a ride home. haha.

microdot said...

There were 10s of thousands in the major cities of Europe.It was pretty pathetic to see a man I once admired, the philosopher Bernard Henri-Levi attribuute the demonstrations to a rise in Anti Semitism.
The Israelis have used every thing in their arsenel of PR to quell opposition to this masssacre and I truly don't wish evil to occur, but these actions have only made martyrs and created another generation of enemies that go way beyond the broders of Palestine.

One only has to look at history to see that the Israeli path of aggressive oppression against the Palestinians can never succeed.
There are always other ways, other paths and doors, but arrogance blinds.

microdot said...

p.s. no matter what the Israelis say, BBC has broadcast and posted pictures of the use of phosphorus and cluster bombs in the densely populated urban areas.

No humanitarian disaster?

Mad Jack said...

The leaders of Hamas and other Islamic groups have declared that they will not stop fighting until Israel is a thing of the past. No compromise will be accepted.

Israel has stated that this position is unacceptable, and that Israel will not stop fighting until there is peace - generally meaning a cessation of hostilities against the Israelis.

Now what?

dr-exmedic said...

Perhaps our unhappy friend might move to a state where fascist repression of protest is the norm. Like, say, Israel, where police and government forces regularly harass peaceful protesters like these.
Because it's so much better to live under Hamas rule....

Aya K. said...

Some of my friends are organizing another protest. I was told to spread the word. If anyone's interested: This Friday, the 9th at the corner of Talmadge and Sylvania from 3:45-5:45.

Roland Hansen said...

Read Moral Clarity in Gaza by Charles Krauthammer.

Mad Jack said...

Ronald:

Nice article, but it's a little one sided. Still and all, Mr. Krauthammer does a very nice job of summing up recent history which most commercial media is ignoring.

craig said...

historymike,

I know I'm a little late coming to this party, but where can I find out more about who holds these rallies?
I am interested in attending one, if I can.