On 19 May, it was reported by Arab News:
‘Since fighting began on May 10, Palestinian medical officials said that 223 people have been killed and more than 1,600 injured in aerial bombardments. Roads, buildings and other infrastructure in Gaza have been destroyed as the already dire humanitarian situation has been worsened in the impoverished coastal strip.
Israel has reported 12 deaths, including two children, as a result of Hamas rocket attacks.’ (Note 1)
They then reported the support of BLM for Palestinians:
‘Bruce Wilson, a leader of the BLM movement in South Carolina, told Arab News that his organization will always support the Palestinian people in their struggle to be free and to resist the Israeli occupation of their land.
Wilson, who heads the Greenville, SC chapter of BLM, drew similarities between the struggle of African Americans in the US and the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
“When I see a black man being killed by the police in America and a Palestinian being killed by Israeli bombs, I have to have empathy,” he said. “I would fight for a Palestinian child just as hard I would fight for a black man in America.”
The most telling they quote Bruce Wilson saying:
‘Wilson said black people and Palestinians are waging the same struggle to be free and to achieve justice for their causes.’
It is time for BLM specifically and Black people generally to wake up!
It is, without doubt, an injustice that is happening in Gaza. One of the major criticism of Israel is its lack of proportionality. However, we as Black people have an issue with Arab nationalists: they oppress Black people in their territories and have no regard for Black life. If we are to support Palestine publicly, we should only do so based on reciprocity.
When the Arab nationalist sought to hurt the US by attacking their embassies in East Africa, they killed 212 Africans in order to kill 12 Americans and wounded 4,500 other Africans.
According to the FBI who launched a major investigation after the bombings:
‘On August 7, 1998, nearly simultaneous bombs blew up in front of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Two hundred and twenty-four people died in the blasts, including 12 Americans, and more than 4,500 people were wounded.’ (Note 2)
This atrocity on Africans was greater than the Israeli atrocity on Gaza! While it may be said that it was an Arab terrorist group who planned the bombing, they received massive support in Arab lands and no criticism for their disregard for African lives.
As The Guardian reported:
‘‘When news broke of the double bombings in east Africa, …… Many within the Islamist militant movement were impressed.’ (Note 3)
One of the leaders of this assault , Mohammed Sadeeq Odeh, was himself Palestinian. (Note 4)
This adventure had devastating consequences for many Africans. Let us consider Diana Mutisya. BBC report:
“Kenyan civil servant Diana Mutisya is devastated that she will not be receiving the same compensation as Americans injured in al-Qaeda’s bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi 22 years ago.
She was in a bank next to the embassy in the Kenyan capital fixing a payroll problem when the two explosions hit. The four other people in the room with her at the time died. She went into a coma and was flown to South Africa for treatment, where 15 metal plates were used to hold her spinal cord together.” (Note 5)
I recently discussed this issue with an Arab scholar who completely disregarded the loss of African life, nor would he apologize or even accept that the mistreatment of Black people within Arab lands required addressing.
Supporting Palestinians is both a moral and political act. I do not dispute the moral dimension, but we MUST demand a quid pro quo from Arabs for any support for Palestinians at a political level. Black Lives Matter also in Arab lands and in the minds of Arabs.