#Refugees4Palestine join Workers’ May Day calls across the UK to #StopArmingIsreal

From our signatory organisation RAPAR:

1 May 2024: RAPAR Members from around the globe have put together their statement making explicit the relationship between the colonialist forces that lie behind the exploitation and oppression in their home countries that have led to them having to flee – from Congo, Zimbabwe, Iran, Eritrea, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone and Cameroon to name but a few – and the Imperialist forces directly and indirectly responsible for the current genocide being carried out in Gaza. 

Launching the hashtag #Refugees4Palestine, RAPAR stands alongside British trade unionists and community-based organisations calling for a #FreePalestine and to #StopArmingIsreal. 

Later this week it will continue to develop its profiling of the relationship between the Gazan Genocide and being a Refugee when it participates in Manchester’s Solidarity Gathering  ‘No to Rwanda’ that will take place in the same location (St Peter’s Square) from 12 noon on Friday 3rd May 2024


Their statement is here:

1 May 2024: RAPAR statement on Palestine – May Day Workplace Day of Action for Palestine

We at RAPAR are primarily a collection of people with living experience of displacement who have been forced to flee our homes for our safety. Our own first-hand knowledge of the effects of political violence makes us experts in the impact and experience of forced migration (both within and across international borders). We share this statement under the umbrella of RAPAR, because, as one member said of their homeland: “If you speak out nowadays, you will be killed”. 

We have witnessed how power, wealth and resources have been accumulated by Western Leaders through the destruction of our homes – ‘Udzvanyiriri’ (Shona) – and we ourselves have been exposed to political violence and religious persecution. We draw on our own experiences as activists who have fled our home countries and been subject to violent conflicts and war in different international contexts. Combined with our own expertise, we also draw on the knowledges of indigenous RAPAR members, who have decades of experience in analysing the consequences of forced displacement in the UK.

We are here to speak on the ‘Ganahatta’ (Bengali), the ‘Ghatleaam’ (Persian), or Cinedhiothu (Irish). These words describe in a few of our own languages the genocide that is occurring in Palestine now, and that has happened historically in some of the countries that we once called home. Whilst these words are from different languages spoken by RAPAR members, we recognise how histories of colonialism – ‘Estemaar’ (Persian)- and colonial exploitation- ‘Vapambi’ (Shona), ‘Samrajjobad’ (Bengali) have brought fear and brutality and continue to do so. We need to talk about these brutalities and the violences that are being inflicted both in Palestine and beyond.

From history, they should learn how colonialism, genocide brought  shame and loss of their power. History doesn’t forget and forgive them.

Just as we have watched in fear and sadness at the decimation of Palestine, we have watched the small boat deaths in the English Channel and from our perspective, in both cases, the English government is paying for these people to die. The English government talks about human rights but it is not upholding human rights and through its arming of Israel is directly implicated in the genocide of Palestinian people and through its treatment of people in the Channel and in its ‘hostile environment here’,  is also directly implicated in the drownings and suicides of asylum-seeking people in the UK.

As people who have living experience of persecution who have been involved in political activism prior to moving, and involvement in political activism in the UK we say to you that we refugee people continue to fight for the people that we were forced to leave behind, and we continue to fight for activism for refugee rights in the UK.

Being frequently unable to speak out for fear of reprisal, we release this statement as a Collective standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and with the survivors of Imperialism’s colonial violence worldwide.  

#FreePalestine #StopArmingIsrael