Free Palestine

This is the first time I’ve attended a protest by phone. You’re outside the campus of City College of New York. I’m outside under the same stars as you, but I know you can’t see them for the city lights. I ask you if you ever thought our lives would come to all this. You said, “no,” and I replied, “me either.”

I’m feeling the energy of the crowd as they chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever!” And, “Who do you protect, who do you serve?” at the cops that are holding a line.

Earlier, the police presence was heating up, and I was getting nervous on your behalf. You have a better chance of surviving than I would if I were there, and that does make me feel better. I’m sending you and your fellow protesters good vibes.

The energy over the phone is electric. “NYPD, KKK, IOF! They’re all the same!” The crowd cheered wildly as a bus went by full of people that had been arrested. “If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no peace!”

Word spreads through the crowd that all the students in the CCNY encampment have been arrested. It gets a little quieter. New friends introduce themselves and start saying goodbye. Then, “The people united will never be defeated!” followed by, “No justice, no peace!” The crowd noise rises and dominates every thought.

“Students, students, stand with pride! History is on your side!” In the quieter moment between chants, a girl says her relative may have been arrested tonight, as they were in the encampment. Again, the crowd takes up a chant, “Free, free Palestine!”

I can hear a person organizing jail support for the CCNY and Columbia students who have been – and will be – arrested. It gives me such hope that so many people are coming together and willing to do whatever is necessary to help the oppressed. It’s just mind-blowing that our society has fallen back to this level, and that the oppressed are, well, us.