writing archive: interfaith rally speech, 11-september-2010

שנה טובה חברים שלי. عيد مبارك اصدقائي

Nine years ago today, we were asked to stand together as a nation, in the wake of a tragedy. Many of us realized that regardless of how we identified with the US or the stances of its government, we could be targeted as civilians living on its soil. Many of us lost friends or family members, or went through an initial period of fear that we had. For many of us who are young, September 11, 2001 was one of the major events that shaped our political consciousness.

As we remember and as we mourn, we must not fool ourselves. It is very clear that before the wars began, battle lines were already being drawn all over our own society. Fingers were being pointed. Racial profiling was taking place. Hate crimes were being committed, many of them violent.

One can say that these battle lines were drawn centuries ago, drawn by the discourses of colonialism, and still upheld today by scholars, politicians, and spokespeople who with their words deny that we are, even as immigrants struggling for our human dignity, living on stolen land; who insist that we are in the midst of a clash of civilizations.

I am here to tell you today that the lines for this “clash of civilizations” were drawn in the wrong place. If there is a battle, it is one between those who serve and are served by the forces of hate, and those who stand together and resist.

As a Jewish person, i have inherited a long history of oppression and resistance, one of the longest in this world’s memory. With this legacy comes an intimate knowledge of what religious persecution looks like, how its seeds are planted in people’s minds and souls, what it looks like as it grows.

And with this historical inheritance comes an obligation: do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed. We know from our lived histories that the man who lines up your friends to be shot with one hand will shoot you with the other. In these times, solidarity is not an ideal, it is a necessity.

It is easy to feel as if we are facing an unstoppable machine — government, military, corporate media. But I know that if we all stand together, if we deny legitimacy to the lines drawn in this false “clash of civilizations,” and to the borders of race, religion, sexuality, citizenship, ability, and age, we can stop this machine, and build a beautiful future together.


translations:
שנה טובה חברים שלי: shana tovah chaverim sheli, sweet new year, my friends
عيد مبارك اصدقائي: eid mubarak asdiqaa’i, happy eid, my friends

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About mirit mizrahi

artist, writer, activist, giant. זהירות! אני מזרחית
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One Response to writing archive: interfaith rally speech, 11-september-2010

  1. Pingback: poetry archive: the heiress (born on yom hashoah) | mirit writes

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