Colonisers write about flowers.
I tell you about children throwing rocks at Israeli tanks
seconds before becoming daises.
I want to be like those post who care about the moon.
Palestinians don’t see the moon from jail cells and prisons
It’s so beautiful, the moon.
They’re so beautiful, the flowers.
Extract from Fuck Your Lecture on Craft, My People Are Dying by Noord Hindi
I feel like I have been watching the Middle East be set alight for as long as I have been alive — and not the kind of “set alight” ushered in by the bright of fireworks and sounds of celebration. 28 years is a long time to be in witnessing mourning. 28 years is forever to be in a communion of enraged grief with a people; for their lives, loves, home, desires, H/histories, land and freedoms.
Israel’s over half a century’s worth of settler colonialism and military occupation in Palestine cannot be distilled into a languaging that frames it as “conflict” — conflicts are two-sided and suggest equal footing between the two opposing sides, nor does it have anything to do with religion or “religious claims to land”.
The American and British Imperialist funded systematic land theft and ethnic cleansing that the settler state of Israel has been brutally perpetuating against the people of Palestine is one that implicates us all. One cannot think about Palestine, without thinking about their own political ideologies and what living in a Just and Free world, for all, means.
Holding space for Palestine, means calling into question one’s own ideas about liberty, democracy, justice and the nation state, and one’s relationship to ideologies of “humanness”. “Palestinian liberation is innately tied to the overthrow of whiteness [and] capitalism but [is also] particular [and] rooted in place, time & history”. What is politics but the summation of our collective experiences and tragedies into a language of organising and naming theory?
All of our experiences and tragedies have their own H/histories and places of unfolding, although these are sometimes entangled with other H/histories across skies and seas.
Growing up in the type of household I did, meant “family time” at times consisted of attending protests, rallies and marches, and although my young — still forming its own ideas about the world mind — couldn’t always comprehend the full scope of why we were there, I could sense somewhere in my body, that my being there was important.
Perhaps, growing up Black in a country still working its way through the afterbirth of our so-called post-apartheid democracy had something to do with this intuitive sensing. I remember sometime last year, I had made an Instagram story post speaking about Israel and Zionism — Israel as a state created in May 1948, whose formation came out of the spreading anti-semitism in Europe during that time and the persecution of Jewish people, and Zionism as a fascist movement which began in the 19th century that called for a Jewish only state.
One of the responses I got to that particular story thread read, “Something to maybe think about (maybe not) — a German Israeli buddy had mentioned that the actions of a gov don’t necessarily represent the will of the people so we should consider being against the Israeli gov — not necessarily against ‘Israel’”.
Although I tried to articulate in response — as best as I could — why that logic was bankrupt, what would have been a far more coherent response came in the form of a video that greeted me in the morning a few days ago where Afro-pessimist cultural theorist, poet, and scholar Fred Moten is in conversation with historian and academic, Robin Kelley. Moten goes on to say:
I believe that this nation state of Israel is itself an artefact of anti-semitism, okay? If we thought about Israel and Zionism not just as a form of racism that results in the displacement of Palestinians, but if we also think about them as artefacts of the Historic displacement of Jews from Europe, right? In the same way that we might think of, let’s say Sierra Leone or Liberia as artefacts, okay, as artefacts of racist displacement.
Israel as a product of Europe’s nation state ideologies that did not include Jewish people as citizens, and the displacement of Palestinians from their land and homes as product of this History. Nation states do not have rights, people do, and calls for the protection of “the rights of the Israeli state” are nothing but calls from global capital imperialist whose interest is in, and only allegiance is to the vast amounts of natural resources found in that region.
Legacies of nation states, for the most part, can be told through destruction and devastation. Perhaps, this is why I still have a hard time naming myself South African while I hold my breath for the coming of Azania.
This is not a moment, but rather, a revolution and resistance that has been stirring up dust for decades now. And what it needs from us, now more than ever, is to mobilise, organise and work towards visions of the future — and our collective futures — that have freed themselves from all legacies and mutations of whiteness, capitalism and imperialism. “One day [we will] write about the flowers like we own them.”