Janfrie Wakim: Time to take action over the Gaza bloodshed – hope isn’t enough

"There is no 'both sides' to a genocide" . . . solidarity messages of New Zealand pro-Palestinian supporters in Auckland's Aotea Square today. Image: David Robie/APR

About 5000 pro-Palestinian supporters gathered in Auckland’s Aotea Square and marched down Queen Street today calling for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid in the War on Gaza. A co-organiser, Ming Al-Ansan, said: “We want our voices heard. Palestinian lives matter, so if we don’t do this then the media is not going to notice us.” Palestinian human rights advocate Janfrie Wakim gave the following address to the supporters.

SPEECH: By Janfrie Wakim

Tena koutou Tena koutou Tena koutou katoa

Salaam Aleikum Ma’haba

Greetings to you all and thank you for coming here today to express your solidarity with the Palestinian people — in Gaza particularly — but Palestinians everywhere.

Free Free . . . Palestine!

I acknowledge the indigenous people of Aotearoa — Māori tangatawhenua, who 183 years ago signed the Tiriti o Waitangi with colonists from Britain. Also, Ngati Whatua of Orakei, manawhenua, on whose land we gather today and who battled the settler-colonialism at Takaparawha-Bastion Point in the 1970s.

History matters!

I stand here in solidarity with the indigenous people of Palestine who also have been dispossessed by the setter-colonialism of Zionist Jews.

An unfolding catastrophe
Today we are especially mindful of Palestinians in Gaza who are experiencing an unfolding catastrophe of epic and genocidal proportions.

We appeal to our elected leaders, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, and outgoing prime minister Chris Hipkins, to demand an immediate ceasefire and stop the carnage.

"From the river . . . "
“From the river . . . ” placard in Auckland’s Aotea Square. Image: David Robie/APR

Throughout the world we see the massive outpouring of support for Palestinians. Not from the leaders and politicians but from ordinary citizens — like us — especially those who have some capacity to act.

History matters. Facts matter. Human rights of all people matter.

To take a stand you must understand.

Rightly we know and are reminded of European racism which culminated in the Holocaust.

But the Nakba — the Palestinian catastrophe?

About 5000 pro-Palestinian marchers took part in today's march down Queen Street
About 5000 pro-Palestinian marchers took part in today’s march down Queen Street in the heart of Auckland. Image: David Robie/APR

Sustained by lies
The bloodshed of today and the past 75 years traces back directly to the colonisation of Palestinian land and the oppression and horror caused by Israel’s military occupation.

Israel is sustained by lies: from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to its birth in 1948 when the indigenous Palestinians were driven out — most to Gaza. (750,000 of the 1 million inhabitants of historic Palestine).

It’s a lie that Israel wants a just and equitable peace and will support a Palestinian state.

It’s a lie that Israel respects the rule of law and human rights.

Free Free . . . Palestine.

The Fiji flag flies high among the pro-Palestinian demonstrators
The Fiji flag flies high in the middle of the pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Auckland’s Aotea Square today. Image: Del Abcede/APR

We must ensure the history of the Palestinian struggle for justice is known and understood. Hold our media and leaders to account.

John Minto is the chair of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA) and he regularly speaks out.

Western politicians and Western media are the source of the problem. If this war had been reported accurately from the outset, Palestinians would have the state of Palestine where religion, ethnicity and human rights were respected — as they were before European colonisation of Palestine early last century.

Hope is not enough. We must take action — Go to www.psna.nz and keep in touch with the local movement. Voice your alarm. Educate your friends, inform your workmates, challenge politicians — local as well as national.

Show your solidarity
Visit your MPs — insist on meeting face to face. This is especially important now that we have new MPs.

Join our monthly rallies in Takutai Square . . . show your solidarity.

That justice for Palestinians is achieved is not only a matter for the Palestinian people but also a symbol of overcoming injustice everywhere for all humanity.

As a mother and grandmother, I say: “Make Peace Not War!”

Nelson Mandela, who roundly applauded actions of the anti-apartheid movement in Aotearoa New Zealand, said: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Justice is the seed . . . peace is the flower. Kia Kaha Mauri Ora!

Janfrie Wakim is an Auckland campaigner for human rights in Palestine.

"Israel and the USA have blood on their hands"
“Israel and the USA have blood on their hands” and New Zealand’s “silence” over the Gaza genocide came in for condemnation in today’s pro-Palestinian demonstration. Image: David Robie/APR
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