To free Palestine we have to free the whole world

The atrocities of callous settler colonialism happen every day

This is the week people stood up to power, whether it was protesting the illegal displacement of Palestinians by the Israeli government, blocking a van trying to deport refugees in Scotland, or calling out governments not only for their roles in both, but for their inaction. Citizens around the world are united by the institutionalised terrors happening to our East—and on our doorstep.

Undoubtedly, the siege that took place in Glasgow yesterday was made possible because of the international online uproar over the callous and illegal actions of the Israeli government: Watching families be torn from their homes in the night by police surely inspired the community of Pollokshields to protect their neighbours from deportation. As bodies pile up in Gaza, the significance of Glasgow’s united victory felt international: Scottish people stood up to the government yesterday and won.

Of course, indigenous people do not have the same luxury of winning against settler colonialism, and while all eyes are on the Middle East this week many more stories of callous atrocities against fellow people go unnoticed every day.

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Right now, two million people are displaced in Tigray because the federal government of Ethopia has launched an assault against Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), previously the region's ruling party. The Ethiopian military has carried out massacres while the federal government starves the region.

On the other side of the world, Orang Asli villagers in Malaysia were given 30 days notice to leave their homes of 20 years so that a state-backed company can expand its luxury resort. The Mah Meri tribe was told they have encroached on the land belonging to the Sepang Municipal Council and the company, Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB). Thanks to a deliberately opaque legal structure and an ever-amended land code, these indigenous people do not have land titles nor a mechanism for fighting the eviction.

Similarly, the jungles of Papa New Guinea were ravaged by Indonesia when then-President Sukarno claimed the land from the Dutch in the sixties, and the people of Papa subjected to a genocidal campaign by the Indonesian government. Malaysia’s timber industry then moved in, felling great swathes of forests every year but mysteriously declaring financial losses. Just this week, the government of Papa New Guinea announced they will take legal action against these tax dodgers. That money, of course, cannot undo the atrocities of colonialism already committed.

In the United States, the Dakota Access Pipeline sparked the Standing Rock Protests, drawing attention to the federal government’s ongoing callous treatment of Native Americans. Closer to home, Russia flexes its military muscles on Ukraine’s bolder, fraying the nerves of a nation that has seen thousands die in Donbas in a war with Russia-backed separatists since 2014. Closer still, the Greek government beat protestors in the street in April and seemingly colluded with Facebook to delete written accounts and images on the social media site. Even the German government reportedly used the pandemic as a distraction to evict many historical squats in Berlin.

We live in a world created by colonialism, and that same violence lives on in countries where Western-backed governments created a system of crony capitalism. In the “developed world”, neo-colonialism disguises itself under the banner of globalism and development; the cronies of the new world make up a global network of purpose-backed institutions, governments and organisations.

Let us continue to stand against them everywhere—to free Palestine, and to free the world.


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