[Pnews] The response to ‘George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine’

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Oct 29 10:31:52 EDT 2015


*http://sfbayview.com/2015/10/the-response-to-george-jackson-in-the-sun-of-palestine/

*October 28, 2015


  The response to ‘George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine’

/“This is an important event for the Palestinian prisoner.”/ – Dr. Sari 
Nussibeh

/“We have to reinforce solidarity with freedom-minded people all around 
the world.” /– Issa Qaraka

/“The Abu Jihad center does solidarity work movements for liberation.” 
/– Dr. Fayed Abu Al-Hajj

The Abu Jihad museum at Al Quds University is hosting an international 
exhibition titled “George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine,” which opened 
Oct. 20, 2015. It is the first international exhibit of this center for 
prisoner movement affairs located in the Abu Dis village of Jerusalem. 
The exhibition links the Palestinian prisoner struggle with the 
struggles of other political prisoners around the world. It aims to 
raise international awareness about the reality of prisoners in general 
and what the Israeli Occupation State is doing to harass Palestinian 
prisoners in particular.

The ceremonial opening of the exhibition was preceded by a symposium 
focused on George Jackson, the Black revolutionary prisoner of North 
America, and his connection to Palestinian struggles, Palestinian 
writers and Palestinian prisoners. His belief in the Palestinian right 
to self-determination, a strong belief shared by his comrades, was a 
central topic of discussion.

Speakers included Dr. Fayed Abu Al-Hajj, the head of the Abu Jihad 
center, and Dr. Issa Qaraka, the head of the Committee of Prisoner 
Affairs. Also speaking were Sahar Francis, the director of Addameer 
(Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association), and Greg Thomas, a 
political activist and university professor visiting Palestine from the 
United States.

The launch was attended by ex-prisoners themselves, as well as Dr. Sari 
Nussibeh, a member of the Al Quds University Board of Trustees; Dr. Imad 
Abu-Kishki, the current president of the University; and Radi Al-Jarai, 
the deputy minister of the Ministry of Prisoners and a lecturer at Al 
Quds University, not to mention a range of political activists and 
representatives from human rights organizations and prisoner 
organizations. Many media outlets were on hand to cover both the opening 
and the symposium.


      The Abu Jihad museum at Al Quds University is hosting an
      international exhibition titled “George Jackson in the Sun of
      Palestine,” which opened Oct. 20, 2015.

The exhibition generated a tremendously positive reaction, collectively 
confirming the importance of continuing to link people and activists who 
call for freedom and liberation on a worldwide level.

Dr. Sari Nussibeh expressed his appreciation for the Abu Jihad center’s 
enormous efforts in bringing this exhibition to fruition. He pointed out 
that Al Quds University, from its initial decision to house the Abu 
Jihad center on campus, always wanted to make it an active organization 
in terms of forging international connections with political and human 
rights movements enacting human liberation.

Nussibeh explained that enabling Palestinians to experience an exhibit 
on the life of a prison activist incarcerated in America is very 
important for the Palestinian prisoner as well as American public 
opinion on the matter of prisoners and imprisonment, and asserted that 
he will be happy to see such activity continue.

In his turn, Dr. Fayed Abu Al-Hajj expressed his sincere happiness about 
being able to mount such an exhibition, saying: “We, as the Abu Jihad 
center and the Al Quds University family, consider the hosting of this 
event to be like a Palestinian wedding. It is a coming together for the 
Palestinian people, the female prisoners as well as the male prisoners – 
not only the Palestinians and the Arabs, but also for prisoners all 
around the world.

“We are honored to host this historic exhibition that bears the name of 
one of the great Black freedom fighters in America, to honor his legacy 
as he spent his life defending the ethics of liberty and being active 
against oppression, injustice and exploitation.

“This exhibition will be a cornerstone of the Abu Jihad center as we 
practice the vision of Dr. Nussibeh. He is the one who made it possible 
for us to reach this stage of the center’s work, a stage in which we are 
able to communicate with the rest of the world, support them in their 
causes, and win them over to stand up for our cause.”

He pointed out that the Palestinian people know the scale of the 
injustice and racism befalling Black brothers and sisters in the United 
States. “In this regard we remind the people of the whole world, 
including the people of the United States, that our people are facing 
racism, injustice and abuse in all its forms at the hands of the Israeli 
occupation state. And we demand that people stand firm in the face of 
continued occupation and apply pressure on their government to end their 
support for the occupation state.”


      “We are honored to host this historic exhibition that bears the
      name of one of the great Black freedom fighters in America, to
      honor his legacy as he spent his life defending the ethics of
      liberty and being active against oppression, injustice and
      exploitation.”

Abu Al-Hajj also elaborated on the fighting life of George Jackson, 
saying that Jackson was just like a thousand Palestinian political 
prisoners. “He taught himself from within his prison cell. He joined the 
Black Panthers, which was active in confronting racism in the United 
States. And we have occasion to remember their struggle, especially when 
we feel the racism, oppression and abuse has reached a peak.”

He also highlighted the importance of practicing solidarity between 
popular struggles, as this provides moral support for Palestinian 
prisoners who are caged in Israeli dungeons. “And let’s remember the 
moment after Jackson’s assassination, when the prison guards told his 
mother, ‘We killed one of your sons last year, and we killed yet another 
one of your sons today. Pretty soon you’ll have no more sons left.’ She 
replied, ‘I have sons all over the world wherever people are fighting 
for freedom.’ It is amazing how many Palestinian mothers have repeated 
these very words, especially when their loved ones fall into the 
clutches of the Israeli prisons.”

On another note, Abu Al-Hajj remarked that the Abu Jihad center is very 
active in networking with the international liberation movements, 
including those in South Africa, reporting that when the vice president 
of South Africa visited the center, he was astonished by the quantity of 
materials in the museum and the cultural and literary reservoir of the 
Palestinian political prisoners.


      *The voice of freedom is one*

On behalf of Al Quds University, Dr. Imad Abu Kishek congratulated the 
Abu Jihad center on this great achievement, affirming that Al Quds 
prioritizes the issues of prisoners because they relate to such a broad 
swath of Palestinian society. He added further that the existence of the 
center’s exhibition featuring Jackson’s political struggle is also 
beneficial to a wide range of students and activists.

“It moves us to look at the prisoners from a wider lens and to relate 
our struggles to the struggles of other people who also suffer injustice 
and discrimination.” He hopes that Abu Jihad center will continue to 
host exhibitions hailing from different areas that support the 
Palestinian cause.

Dr. Issa Qaraka thanked the center and the university for their efforts 
in hosting the exhibition and the opening symposium, “especially at this 
time when our sons are rising up in the face of Israeli state 
oppression, racism and injustice.” In this regard, he pointed out that 
the face of oppression and injustice is one and the voice of freedom is 
also one, “internationally, everywhere.” “This is what unites strugglers 
all around the world.”

He added that Jackson was killed in prison, just like the Palestinian 
Abrahim Al-Raii was killed in his Israeli prison cell. “The cell in 
which Jackson lived under so much oppression and injustice is the same 
cell in which thousands of male and female Palestinian prisoners are 
suffering. They are suffering from injustice, the denial of rights and 
attempted murder.

“Just as Jackson was offered bad food on a daily basis, thousands of 
Palestinian prisoners are offered bad food. Just as Jackson was 
forbidden books and such, our female and male Palestinian prisoners in 
the Israeli dungeons are daily denied literature, letters and 
educational materials.


      “The cell in which Jackson lived under so much oppression and
      injustice is the same cell in which thousands of male and female
      Palestinian prisoners are suffering. They are suffering from
      injustice, the denial of rights and attempted murder.”

“It is not even so strange to find a poem in Jackson’s cell that was 
written by the Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim, titled ‘Enemy of the 
Sun.’ That poem united freedom-minded people of the world. All the 
systematic killing and oppression carried out by the Israeli government 
are just manifestations of other systems that were used against many 
other oppressed peoples.

“This is what guides us and strengthens our solidarity with all the 
freedom-minded people of the world and with the struggles of those who 
are on the road to freedom and justice. We consider the USA to be the 
father of all the oppression and injustice that befalls our people, as 
the USA fertilizes and bolsters the Israeli occupation state.”

Qaraka also pointed out that “Israel” is considered an Apartheid state 
by all the world’s experts on the subject. “Look at what’s happening now 
in the city of Jerusalem and what happened earlier with the building the 
Apartheid separation wall. Look at the ideology of racism that is 
constantly fed to the Israeli youth.

“Look at the legal decisions of the Israeli courts. The settlers commit 
crimes against Palestinian families with impunity, while our sons are 
being sentenced to tens of years in prison for any reaction to the 
violence of the Israeli army and the settlers.”

“Let us not forget the denial of our most basic rights in these courts. 
On this matter, Jackson had ‘put his finger on the wound,’ the 
Palestinian wound that continues to bleed. It is important to recognize 
that what makes his experience so exemplary is that he politically 
educated and re-socialized himself in the prison, taking inspiration 
from the steadfastness of Palestinian prisoners like Samih al-Qasim.

“And I believe the real reason for killing him was that he drank from 
the ethics of liberation and the defense of human rights.” He concluded, 
“We as Palestinian people bring to life the legacy of all the freedom 
fighters of the world through this display of Jackson’s life.”


      “We as Palestinian people bring to life the legacy of all the
      freedom fighters of the world through this display of Jackson’s life.”

Sahar Francis was also thankful that Abu Jihad has organized this 
exhibit, stating that it is very important to deepen and empower the 
relationship between the Palestinian revolution and freedom fighters 
internationally. She focused on solidarity that has already been forged 
between many organizations, especially those that challenge prisons, 
policies against political activists, and the many companies that 
facilitate and profit from the “security” complex of the U.S. and 
Israeli prison systems.

Most notable here is “G4S,” the British multinational “security” company 
that is the world’s largest such company. “We recently learned that Bill 
Gates was supporting them and is investing in them. In response, we 
activists applied abundant pressure on him to withdraw his investment. 
And we succeeded.”

She added that this is proof that we can do much more when we work in 
partnership with international organizations. “It is necessary to 
network with other struggles. Then we will bring to justice all the 
companies that violate international law.”

Francis observed that the Israeli occupation state is benefiting from 
every method of oppression and exploitation that has been practiced by 
other governments in their attempts to destroy Palestinian society. “As 
we see in multiple situations and scenarios, arrest or detention is an 
aim in and of itself for the Israeli occupation state, which operates in 
exactly the same manner in the United States of America.

“An example of this is in the schools – whenever a Black student 
violates any kind of rule, he or she will be subjected to the worst 
punishment, which may entail actual imprisonment, which may then lead to 
denial of social services, which may further lead to denial of 
employment or work. This is exactly what Israel is doing by targeting 
school kids.

“Another example is what recently passed in the Israeli Parliament, a 
law that allows the force-feeding of prisoners, as practiced by the 
United States government in Guantanamo. All of this compels us to 
continue cooperation with the freedom-minded people of the world.”

The U.S.-based scholar and activist Greg Thomas presented his sincere 
thanks to Abu Jihad center, represented by the director, Dr. Fayed Abu 
Al-Hajj, whose full support led to the successful hosting of this 
exhibition. Thomas emphasized that the center powerfully represents the 
ongoing and historical struggles of the Palestinian people.

Thomas explained that many international activists regularly celebrate 
the legacy of George Jackson, and that Abu Jihad center, as an 
institution that genuinely appreciates the role of prisoners as thinkers 
and militants, is perhaps the best place to host an exhibition on this 
great revolutionary fighter for freedom.

He added that Jackson was an enemy of colonialism, racism and 
capitalism. He said Jackson became a legend inside the prisons and 
outside of them. A revolutionary role model for his fellow inmates, he 
completed two books in prison, one of which was published after prison 
guards assassinated him, on Aug. 21, 1971, when he was only 29 years old.

The French writer Jean Genet, a supporter of the Palestinian struggle, 
wrote the introduction for Jackson’s first book, “Soledad Brother,” 
describing it as “a striking poem of love and combat.” The manuscript 
for Jackson’s second book, “Blood in My Eye,” was smuggled out of the 
prison shortly before the state assassinated him.

Thomas maintained that Jackson is still alive and present in the souls 
of world revolutionaries against oppression. And he lives on in the 
nightmares of oppressive systems – a symbol of uncompromising freedom.

 From prison, Jackson would join the Black Panther Party, a legendary 
organ for Black power in the United States and a party that supported 
the Palestinian struggle. This led to the establishment of a Palestinian 
group under the same name in the 1980s. Palestinian revolutionaries 
inspired Jackson and his Black Panthers, while Jackson is himself 
considered to be the architect of the modern anti-prison movement in the 
U.S.

Finally, Radi Al-Jarai agreed that this type of exhibition is very 
helpful for the Palestinian prisoners’ cause, since it connects this 
liberation struggle to those of freedom-minded people around the world. 
It also reminds us of the extent to which the Palestinian struggle has 
inspired other movements for justice, as well as other poets and 
writers, across the world.

But perhaps most importantly it increases the level of historical 
awareness among Palestinian youth of the history of oppression of Blacks 
in the United States, the ways they maintain opposition against it and 
the heavy price to be paid for freedom in the struggle for liberation.

/This story was translated by Mahmoud Muna./


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