(This speech was delivered by Haneen Alsaad at the Free Gaza rally recently held in Utica.)
In the past few weeks we have been seeing and hearing many stories about the crisis in Palestine. But this violence, oppression, and bombings have been going on for decades. This didn’t just begin in the past few days. Palestinians have faced a long history of oppression and occupation. Our people were forced to leave our own land, and now we are facing bombing plus the severe destruction. It is time for the world to hear our voice. It is time to put a stop to the injustice.
The Israelis are killing the Palestinians without any mercy. They persecuted them and they are forcing them to leave their land. They have committed the absolute worst crimes against the Palestinians. Now the circumstances in Gaza are unimaginable. Israel has prevented aid from reaching Gaza. The city is almost completely destroyed. What makes the Israelis kill babies, three months old or even younger? What makes them kill women and the elderly? How can they kill innocent children, who are playing and not hurting anyone, and then claim they did it in self-defense?
The horrible and unacceptable crimes that Hitler did to the Jews in the past are exactly what Israelis are now doing to the Palestinians. When will the killing end? We need to end this cycle of hate. The Israelis keep killing our Palestinian children because they don’t want them to grow up and they don’t want them to fight for their land & rights. They want to destroy all the Palestinians. But we want to let them know that even though they have killed, and are still killing our children, other children will be born. We will never give up on our country. We will fight back until the last day of our lives even if we don’t have guns, or rockets or tanks.
The whole world cares about human rights and especially children’s and women’s rights, but what about Palestinian rights? Aren’t we human also? Palestinian children have a dream of living in their own house, living in safety and peace. These children who dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers, or artists, are being destroyed. The Palestinian children have the right to play and to be happy in their country. They have the right to go to school and learn as any normal child does, to make their dreams become truths in their own country.
I was one of these kids. I dreamt of living peacefully in my country, Palestine. But now, there are so many Palestinian children suffering. I suffered too. For many years, I lived in a refugee camp with horrible conditions that no one could stand. Now imagine if Israel hadn’t taken our country. I, and all the Palestinian refugees, would be living together within our country in peace.
The whole world needs to wake up and stand up for what is right. We all must stand against the crimes that Israel commits against the Palestinian people. Together, we must stop the massacre in Gaza and free Palestine!
by Haneen Alsaad (Haneen is a Palestinian refugee and a recent graduate from Proctor High School)