(EN) From Abya Yala/Latin America to Berlin to Gaza: Our leftist solidarity has a memory

From rage, for internationalism

As we write these lines, there is an ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. In less than a month, more than 9,000 people have been killed, with the numbers rising by the minute. As we write these lines, a child dies every 15 minutes in Gaza as a result of the brutal bombardment to which they are being subjected by the State of Israel. As we write these lines, there are thousands of people in the streets of the world mobilizing against the horror without any fear of being repressed, persecuted, imprisoned, silenced, and threatened. Today, we write from our deepest grief, from a place of rage and impotence of seeing the extermination of an entire population before our eyes. In the following lines, we express our political position as a migrant collective in Berlin, a city currently under persecution for those who raise their voices by the police.

Rooted in memory

The Bloque Latinoamericano Berlin is a collective that was born out of the need to express and practice our solidarity with the territories and peoples where we come from and also with the rest of the historically oppressed peoples around the globe. This way, our solidarity with the Palestinian people is rooted in our memory, and with it, we migrated to this country to continue fighting against injustice.

Our hearts from the South are beating strong here and there, everywhere. Our hearts are moving us to organize to end this silence. We understand, by living in this country and at this historical time, the importance of doing a necessary political exercise against oblivion. The horror happening today against the Palestinian people is not an isolated case that began as a response to the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7; on the contrary, it is the continuation of a history of more than 75 years of oppression, occupation, and systematic murder of the Palestinians by the State of Israel. Seven decades of sponsorship of the imperial powers of the United States and Europe is allowing them to bomb, imprison, occupy, torture, persecute, and censor an entire population, inside and outside its own territory, while building a hegemonic discourse in the global media to justify it and make a blind eye to horror.

Zionist wall in the West Bank

We chant from rage! For an international solidarity!

We say it loud and clear: The terrorist State of Israel is perpetuating genocide in Gaza, and it does not represent the Jewish people. Nor does Hamas represent the Palestinian people. 

The actions of the Israeli state, led by the far-right-wing Netanyahu’s government, such as the total siege of Gaza that has left the population without electricity, water, and food, are war crimes. The constant bombardment of one of the most densely populated territories in the world, enclosed and isolated by Israel, is also a war crime and a crime against humanity. Much of the area occupied by Israel today is occupied and invaded territory in contravention of international rights and agreements. Several institutions, such as the United Nations and Amnesty International, have denounced the apartheid system that was installed in the region, just as they are now denouncing Israel’s disproportionate actions, the collective punishment enforced against the Palestinian population, and the genocide they are committing in the name of the right to legitimate self-defense. 

The Bloque Latinoamericano Berlin is anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist, we fight and denounce any form of colonial and imperial oppression that threatens the life and dignity of the peoples. This is not the first time we have positioned ourselves against imperialism because we have experienced it firsthand; this time will be no exception. We are not willing to stand silent and watch a perverse escalation in zones of sacrifice (as is today, among others, Ukraine), where imperial powers compete against each other and enrich a deadly weapon industry. Our duty today is to denounce the genocide in Gaza and the repression against the migrant movements in Germany that are in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Our duty is to position ourselves from a critical, revolutionary, and solidary perspective on the correct side of history. We will never forget.

To differentiate between just resistance and reactionary fundamentalism

If anyone doubts it and if any representative of the current McCarthyist wave needs to read it, we say it loud and clear: we condemn the Hamas terrorist attack and the abducting and murdering of civilians. We express our grief to Israelis, Jews, Palestinians, Latin Americans, Germans, and all those who are now hostages in Gaza or died in the Hamas attack. The Bloque Latinoamericano Berlin does not share Hamas’ political vision and practices. We do not share any ideological similarity with this group. We know that the resistance of the Palestinian people is not reduced to extremist right-wing groups; on the contrary, the Palestinian people have a long history of revolutionary resistance that has inspired leftist and internationalist movements around the world. At the same time, we strongly oppose any attempt to equate the Palestinian people and their grief with Hamas terrorism. We denounce any statement that justifies genocide. We refuse to fall into the binary trap created by the Western media and the Western states that force us to place ourselves either with Hamas or with Israel. The legitimate cause for the liberation of the Palestinian people should not be equated with a group that feeds and justifies the radical extremism and religious fundamentalism of the State of Israel. 

We also understand that all peaceful attempts and all efforts by Palestinians, Israelis, and Jews to achieve a just peace have been criminalized and disabled by Israel or have led directly to massacres (e.g. the Great March of Return protests of 2018/2019), precisely to encourage the advance of extremist right-wing groups both in Israel, in the occupied and invaded territories, and in Palestine. 

We know well that imperialist and colonial powers are always complicit in the inhumane divide-and-conquer tactics, thus achieving the exploitation of the conquered and remaining in power. The connection between the histories of genocide in the world, from Rwanda to Bosnia, and the arming and support of extremist right-wing groups by imperialist states with the intention of destabilizing territories is well documented.

Neukölln, Berlin. October 2023

Migrant resistance from the center of power

This time, the urgency to shout loudly against horror finds us in a country without memory that seeks to eliminate all critical voices against one of the most militaristic, supremacist, and oppressive states of the last two centuries. A state that was founded in an attempt to make amends for the genocidal German fascist horror, whose project was to exterminate Jewish people, along with other vulnerable groups in Europe and the rest of the world. However, this attempt was based on the offer by colonial powers such as Great Britain and France, together with the United States, of land to carry out the Zionist plan. This plan was enacted to guarantee a military base for the imperialists at the gates of the so-called Middle East. We will not forget all the times the U.S. has said that the establishment of Israel is a reason for their state. We want to emphasize that, just as Abya Yala/Latin America already sheltered peoples, dreams, and struggles when the European powers “discovered” it, Palestine in 1947 was already the legitimate home of a people who paid with the crime of the Nakba the horrors committed by white Europeans in the Shoah. Our peoples, resilient to occupation and colonization, have a long memory of resistance that we will not let be taken away from us, we emphasize that stripping a people of its territory to use it as a state project is settler colonialism and supremacism. 

The German state today represses and criminalizes migrant movements that take a stand against genocide. We repudiate and denounce these racist and anti-democratic measures. What is happening today in Germany can be described as a state of repression, especially in Berlin, where the right to assemble and to march on the streets, the Palestinian flag, the use of the kufiya, and a simple shouting “Free Palestine” can lead to being arrested. Police repression against any form of solidarity with the Palestinian people is brutal, with a special focus on the racist persecution of organized and unorganized Arab communities and the silencing of Israeli and Jewish voices against genocide. Berlin police have taken over schools and entire neighborhoods, arrested children, and repressed demonstrators with unpunished violence. As migrants, we are facing a state of exception, where we lost our freedom of free speech and where lighting a few candles for the victims is enough for the police to come and trample on our pain. We say it again: never again! And never again means never again for anyone. These acts of repression are fully anti-democratic and serve to maintain Germany’s complicity in yet another genocide. Turning a blind eye to crimes against humanity is, unfortunately, part of the historical stance of this country.

Today’s German complicity is based on a supposed “fight against anti-Semitism,” but they forget that anti-Semitism comes from Europe and is not a form of “imported” racism, as many seem to suggest. The far-right and large sections of the white German middle class are, to this day, anti-Semitic and still do not understand the difference between Israel and the Jewish peoples, between Zionism and Judaism. The fear of anti-Semitism is well-founded and legitimate because anti-Semitism still exists and must be fought.  

The German right-wing is hiding its anti-Semitism behind its racism and Islamophobia. Unconditional support for the Israeli state and unilateral dehumanizing propaganda are acts of violence against the Palestinian diaspora in Germany and all those who speak out. The banning, criminalization, imprisonment, and deportation of dissenting voices are dictatorial practices and the law of war.

We are today witnesses of an incredible contradiction: while the most rancid extremist far-right is advancing, which has a direct continuity with the Nazi party (the AfD came second and third in the last polls in Hessen and Bavaria, and has 22% of voting intention), the fundamental rights of free speech and assembly are limited when it comes to demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine, under the pretext of defending the Jewish population. Thus, this radical far-right party, the one that wants to see millions of people like us disappear, receives all the protections from the German state. 

The warmth of the peoples

Abya Yala/Latin America shares a common history of liberation with the Palestinian people. We share the pain of losing everything, of facing with our bare skin the unspeakable violence of imperialism and colonialism. We both will rise again from the ashes and will find in the memory of those who are not here today enough love and strength to continue fighting and raising the flag of justice in any corner of the world. This shared memory will certainly allow us today to recover our breath and vindicate once again what Che Guevara told us: “Solidarity is the warmth of the people.” May that kindness be what guides our actions today and forever.

We are no longer islands; today, we are a river that will know how to find its way to the sea. 

No matter if they erase the flag of liberation from Hermannplatz, as many times as they want, we will be here to paint it every day in our hearts.