Chicago Demo Demands Palestinian Right to Return

Revolutionary Worker #1170, October 13, 2002, posted at

Chicago, September 29--A group of young Palestinian men proudly carry a giant flag of their homeland in front of the Israeli consulate. Courageous women in hijabs march in defiance of the increasingly hostile climate in this country for Muslim people. A punk rock musician from Mexico adds his voice because to him the struggle against dispossession is the same for Palestinians and people in Mexico. There are high school and college students, parents with small children, Palestinians from across the U.S., a wide range of groups and political trends.

About 400 people gathered to celebrate the start of the second year of the Second Intifada (uprising), to mark the Israeli-directed massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon 20 years ago, and most of all, to demand the "Right of Return"--the right of the Palestinian people to regain the homeland that was violently stolen when the state of Israel was established.

Many at the protest expressed strong feelings about the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian struggle and had stories to tell about how their families were driven out of their land. "We demand our rights, we're not going nowhere," said Rama, 22, co-chair of Al-Awda. "We're still standing up and saying, `We are Palestinians, there is a Palestine, and we want to be recognized as a nation.'"

Monszour said his parents were "ethnically cleansed" at gunpoint from Palestine in 1948. "Palestinians are being murdered by American weapons. America paid for, financed and trained [the Israeli military]. So they cannot claim that `we have nothing to do with it.'" He argued against the view that what's happening in Palestine is "religious strife": "The struggle of the Palestinian Israeli conflict is about dispossession, is about war crimes, is about ethnic cleansing. It's not about religion, it's not about being a Jew, it's not about being a Muslim, it's not about being a Christian. We have been dispossessed of our homes, farms, businesses, and schools."

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)