From South Africa to Kanesatake, indigenous peoples have, at times, turned to arms in their struggles against colonialism. The battle against British imperialism in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh has often been pointed to by Western observers as the ultimate example of non-violent resistance. Such observers have attempted to dictate this false paradigm of resistance as the only legitimate form of anti-colonial action. The reality is, however, that armed resistance played a crucial role in ridding the Subcontinent of the British yoke. Keeping this in mind, a re-contextualization of the discussion around the current events in Gaza is warranted.
Make no mistake, Palestine is a colonized land and its Arab majority is its indigenous population. And yet, so much of the mass media coverage and popular discussion around the siege of Gaza treats the current incarnation of the conflict as a self-contained spat, initiated by ‘bloodthirsty and militant’ Arabs. Newspaper headlines that make uncomplicated reference to Israel’s ‘right to self defense’ neglect entirely the anti-colonial nature of armed resistance in Gaza.
Such headlines further disregard the sequence of events that brought the conflict to its current stage. From the beginnings of ethnic cleansing in 1947 to the start of the current blockade and siege in 2007, Palestinians have been struggling to survive in the face of Zionism’s racist oppressions. Some Palestinians have made the choice to take up arms in their resistance. When the Israeli government targets the elected representatives of the Gazan people, they are not defending themselves; they are further entrenching their occupation.
When the common question, ‘What is Israel supposed to do in the face of rocket fire?’ is asked, McGill Students for SPHR respond with: “End the siege! Free Palestine!”
—McGill Students for Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights