Free Derry – Free Palestine

One of the reasons Western governments are confident they’ll get away with supporting genocide in Gaza is that they’ve gotten away with it in other places, time and time again. Bloody Sunday is just one example.

There is a vast difference in scale between the atrocities in the Bogside and in Gaza. What happened around Rossville Street seems microcosmic when placed alongside Gaza City or Khan Younis. But the same principles are in play.

Both the Parachute Regiment in Derry and Israeli forces in Palestine have acted as if those who strayed into their line of fire are subhuman with no entitlement to dignity or rights.

The Paratroopers were sent to Derry to draw out and take on “terrorists”, thereby to subdue a community projected by the British authorities as complicit in terrorism. The strategy was lifted straight from the colonial playbook.

Wounded Knee, Amritsar, Kherson, Darfur, Srebrenica, Ballymurphy. The pattern is clear, the precedents obvious.

When we march against murder on our own streets, we are in lockstep with everybody everywhere withstanding the same horror.

All, or almost all, who watch as events in Palestine unfold cling to hope for an end to the misery of masses of people. But hope too often feels forlorn.

Death rains down on residential streets. Phosphorus sears flesh off the bones of children, women and men. Hordes of humanity stumble ever onwards towards imagined respite. Just as Gerry Donaghey fled pell-mell across the courtyard of the Rossville Flats, desperately seeking sanctuary.

Everywhere, the terror comes overwhelmingly from the guns of oppressive governments, not from groups opposed to governments.

It’s not true that there’s nothing we can do. Massive assemblies have gathered in every art and part to cry together for peace and freedom for Palestine. It is here that hope survives. When we link arms for Palestine, we are part of something huge happening all over the world.

We don’t have to be lookers-on at genocide.

It is for these reasons that the banner of the Bloody Sunday March Committee is raised at every show of solidarity with Palestine. It’s for the same reason that the issue of Palestine will again be front-and-centre at the annual Bloody Sunday march on January 28.


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