Hundreds of people gathered at Victor Steinbruek Park in Downtown Seattle to protest the Russian Consulate as the people of Aleppo are being massacred by the Assad regime. We cried out for the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been lost as a result of state sanctioned violence against Muslims in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo. The demonstration was held in collaboration with Americans for Refugees and Immigrants. The cold of the frost-bitten winter night did not stop protesters from marching, people wore their scarves, hats and gloves while waving their signs through the streets, some signs that pictured lost lives.
After leaving Victor Steinbruek Park the crowd squoze through Pikes Place, the original Starbucks was still serving coffee as cars were stalled while we took over the street. Officers on bikes rode along our side as we exited the open market onto Pine Street. We shouted, “While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” as we approached Westlake Center. “If you don’t like America go back where you came from,” a White man yelled at us as we passed by Nordstrom, the entire corner was covered in Christmas decorations, it didn’t phase us.
I am not from Syria, I did not personally know anyone from Aleppo (until today), and I do not practice Islam, but I showed up because there are people dying in Aleppo, running from bombs, pushing the wounded in wagons, and starving of food and water senselessly. Regardless of geographic distance or social customs I stand in solidarity with Aleppo, for a variety of reasons but the most basic is for humanity. I wrote a piece that lists similarities between the oppression of Blacks in America with those suffering under state occupation in the Middle East in, A Letter to Gaza from Black America. I wrote this after understanding that once we look past the stereotypes represented in the media we realize that it is a worldwide problem of people’s liberties being stolen. Organizers stressed the importance of realizing that no level of differences should keep us from recognizing one’s humanity. People in Aleppo have asked us to cry out for them, the government is not listening and we cannot allow for the massacre of thousands: men woman and children, and it should not have taken 400,000 people lives to be lost for us to take action.
Not only are people dying in Aleppo, people are being raped, degraded, and our lack of concern to take direct action as a nation is a (disgusting) example of how we’ve allowed divisive ignorance to dehumanize an entire group of people. We must end Islamophobia, this is another reason why I felt the need to be at the march there is no reason why a Black women with an Afro cannot stand up for and demand the freedom of Syria. Islamophobia is a form of hatred, it is a parasite that blinds us from being able to connect with others. When we allow this extermination of people to happen to people in Syria, what stops that same force of ignorant divisiveness from occupying the minds of people we may need to save us when we’re under attack? We cannot be idle for any type of injustice anywhere! The people united will never be divided.