This is the fifth article in a series by Bassem Masri, St. Louis local and Ferguson live streamer/ activist. ReadCONTRA.com first met Bassem Masri on our first trip to Ferguson in August 2014. We have shared his voice and story since then and featured his independent voice on ReadCONTRA.com. Follow him at @Bassem_Masri
A question I keep hearing is: “Why do you link the struggle in Palestine with the conflict in Ferguson?”
It’s a series of similarities that connects both struggles and it starts with the notion that a group of people are superior, or more suited to make decisions for others. In Israel the minority Zionist population controls every facet of life of the majority Palestinian population. From politics to culture, they wish to suffocate the Palestinian people into submission using psychological and violent tactics. Their goals are obvious, and there is no debate that the Zionists despise everything Palestinian, yet want to rob them of their culture and heritage and call it their own.
In Ferguson we see the same trend in politics, where a minority controls the local government, and the police. Our appointed officials do whatever possible to suppress the citizens they supposedly serve. The similarities to Palestine became very clear once the Ferguson police started dumping tear gas on citizens expressing their constitutional rights.
They even choke us when we travel. St. Louis County practices in illegal extortion that is meant to keep a community in constant fear. In the West Bank there are Israeli roads that are designated “Israelis only.” These apartheid roads are meant to strangle the Palestinian economy, and meant to make life harder on the civilians. A trip from a village to Ramallah should be only 15 minutes but with the road situation it takes 45 minutes or more because Palestinians must take longer routes.
In Saint Louis County the police intimidate people off certain roads with predator policing. When people are getting pulled over constantly on a certain road, they too, must take longer routes to avoid this interaction with the police. We have all witnessed it coming down highway 70. Take a drive down Hazelwood Ballwin or Welston, and you’ll see the police pulling over and ticketing poor people and minorities. It’s time we stop issuing warrants for simple traffic tickets. This method of policing is meant to keep certain people out of certain places. The law us supposed to protect us, not criminalize us.
Another similarity between Ferguson and Palestine is state-sanctioned snooping, and privacy invasions. In Israel it’s taken to an extreme level, and the IDF will barge into a home in the West Bank in the middle of the night. They will document where each person sleeps, where his bed is, and even what kind of shoes he wears.
In America we’re supposed to have a constitutional right to privacy, but our privacy is constantly violated by the CIA and NSA. Somebody is always watching, always listening. Our officials fine us and imprison us for breaking the tiniest law, but they are violating our privacy rights in the name of America. I imagine that soon Ferguson will be patrolled by drones, looking in our windows, and spying on us “In the name of America.”
Where does it end? The privacy of Americans is not being violated as bad as the Palestinians, but our government is slowly taking away our constitutional rights through the use of fear and intimidation. If we don’t rise up and challenge the government our rights will end up a myth, murdered for an illusion called “democracy.”
The largest of similarities between Ferguson and Palestine is that the media has always victimized the oppressors, and made the actual victims look like savages and criminals. Propaganda is a weapon that both Israel and the US wield liberally, and the mainstream media helps them with an edited and fictionalized narrative. Nobody is held accountable whom the government does not wish to see held accountable. Those that play along are kept safe, and whistle-blowers are thrown under the bus.
It’s time for our government to change. People are screaming for justice across the planet, and they’re tired of their leaders’ silence. While rubber bullets and canisters of tear gas are flying in the streets, our leaders are wasting their time debating trivial issues in their ivory towers.
As the cries for justice get louder, the enemy will get angrier. We must be prepared for anything. We must take back the planet from the One Percent.
We the people must be unified in our pursuit for justice, all folks from all backgrounds we have one thing in common and its humanity.
Democracy has been kidnapped, and it’s up to the people to rescue it.