**On November 4, philosopher Yasmeen Daher, spoke at the Palestine Solidarity Rally at Alexanderplatz, Berlin, to over 50,000 protesters. This is her speech.
With wrenched hearts, and shattering pain over the genocidal onslaught incessant in Gaza, yet with resilient spirits inherited from our ancestors and with the strength we derive from our rootedness in the plight of our siblings in the global south, we come together today to speak truth to power.
The German vice chancellor Robert Habeck published a recorded message yesterday to which we would like to respond here.
First, let's acknowledge that, as we speak, the German government not only opposes a ceasefire in Palestine, and thereby condoning the use of mass killings and war crimes tactics against a besieged population that is now starved. Drinks contaminated water. Has no electricity. Is left to face their wretched destiny alone.
- Germany also has just deployed their special forces, KSK, to Cyprus to be ready to intervene on behalf of Israel. Thereby actively participating in the genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
Yet, the minister, despite these flagrant violations of core values at the foundations of what humanity should stand for, spoke time and again only of the commitment of the German state towards Israel’s security, due to German historic guilt.
We understand the weight of historical responsibility!
My father was born in 1941 in Nazareth. His birth certificate proclaims Nazareth, Palestine. Do you have the courage to look into the eye of an 83-year-old Palestinian, and tell him that he needs to pay with another Nakba for the atrocities that your grandfather committed?
That we need to be segregated, expelled, humiliated, and finally subjected to genocide for what we did not commit?
He was just 7 years old when Zionist militias took over Palestine by force, backed and encouraged, like today, by mighty colonial superpowers who felt tremendous ease to give what is not theirs to others. Can we free historic responsibility from racial obligations?
Can historic responsibility be universalized?
Can it be distributed equally amongst all nations?
Have you not seen Vice Chancellor the pictures of Israeli soldiers, torturing innocent citizens in broad daylight in the streets of the West Bank this week, dragging them, beating them, and posing with them naked in a picture reminiscent of Abu Ghraib?
Have you not seen the billboards in the enlightened city Tel- Aviv that read “revenge”?
Do you understand that, as we speak, Israeli ministers, heads of offices and media personnel, military commanders are all calling to carpet-bomb Gaza and calling us Palestinians "human animals," thus proving their genocidal intent?
Have you not seen them on live-tv shows calling to ethnically cleanse a population of refugees, to target hospitals and schools, to spare no one?
Do you know that around 2500 Palestinians have been kidnapped from their homes and workplaces in the West Bank, detained and assaulted in less than a month?
It is all over the news and we are afraid that it is not the language or German media censorship that is prohibiting you and other accomplices from seeing and hearing our suffering. Rather it is your strategic interests, political agenda and your fixation on a racial moral obligation rather than a moral obligation full stop.
You will still be called, Vice Chancellor, to answer how you might protect Jewish people by supporting an extremist right-wing settler government in Israel? How does genocide mascarade as self-defense?
The people are not their governments, now you should act!
Our radical, feminist and humanist politics, rooted in our experiences, have taught us that governments are not their people. Even in the so-called western democratic regimes, we understand that conformity, intimidation, fear of exclusion, material loss, structural racism and indifferent apathy are at the root of the silence of so many, especially here in Germany. That’s why we would like to address our co-inhabitants of this city.
In bad faith your media and government is advocating for acting upon a sense of historical responsibility. But what they are really hoping to achieve is to continue weaponizing your individual guilt and historic responsibility to serve their collective colonialist and capitalist, militaristic and racist agenda.
You should start asking questions, such as: why should the Palestinians be the perpetual refugees of this world, and forced to pay for this continent's horrific crimes?
How does sending Israel more weapons and erasing the trail of its war crimes internationally build any brighter future for the region?
Dear people of Berlin, the far right is on rapid rise in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. If there is one cause that will save your souls and minds from the abyss of racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic discourse, it is a clear stance with Palestine.
You have a precious chance to correct this country's history, built on oppression, exploitation, and death. I ask, do you want to be on the wrong side of history twice?
Palestine is the litmus test for a German progressive society, your government is clearly endorsing more death, more destruction and militarism, what will you endorse?
It is at this moment that your silence is betrayal, we still remember the hundreds of thousands which paraded the streets of Berlin for Ukraine, where are you now?
The case for Jewish safety and our liberation!
We will never allow the Palestinian question to be reduced to a conflict between Muslims vs. Jews. Opposition to Israel’s white supremacist settler-colonial regime transcends race, religion, time and place, as we have seen from our Jewish brothers and sisters all over the world. It is a natural position against the age-old European model of colonialism and extractivism.
Our fight is recognized and supported all over the world. It is a just fight. The Palestinian Liberation movement has offered both Palestinian and Jewish people an emancipatory path from a now entangled violent history of erasure and dispossession. Only this realization, and not one that pits groups against each other and makes a moral distinction between those deserving of empathy and solidarity and those who do not, can offer both Palestinians and Jews a shared future and not a false fantasy of predominance of power.
Our vision is indeed seen as radical by those in power, because unlike theirs, it is not built on separation and exclusion and exploitation. It is built on justice, freedom and liberation and solidarity.
The last few weeks made it clearer than ever that the Palestinian cause is central to any conversation about decolonization, justice, and global solidarity. Our natural place is amongst the peoples of the global south. We derive our strength also from the liberation movements and revolutions in the region, from our siblings in Libya, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and others. We are assured that we are not alone, in fact we are many and we are the majority. And together we will win.
Yasmeen Daher is a Palestinian philosopher, co-director of Febrayer, an association of digital Arab media groups.