Jan. 17, 2009 — Almost one hundred Virgin Islanders took to the streets of St. Thomas Saturday, protesting the thousands of Palestinian civilian deaths and injuries as a result of the recent clashes between the Israeli Army and the Palestinian Hamas movement.
Men, women, and children of various ethnicities were chanting in unison and calling for a stop to oppression, occupation, and massacre.
The early-afternoon march began at the Havensight Wendys and culminated at the Emancipation Garden gazebo.
Like the slaves that were emancipated, were going to Emancipation Garden, said Sister Sarah Husein, an event organizer and daycare facilitator at Masjib Al-Nur mosque located in Charlotte Amalie. The Palestinians want to be emancipated just like the slaves have been emancipated.
The Israeli attacks began just over a week after a six-month ceasefire with Hamas expired. Israeli military officials claim their offensive in Gaza is in response to more than 50 rockets that were fired into Israeli villages and towns by Hamas and other militant groups based in Gaza.
Its against humanity what they are doing to our people, said Husein.
They are killing our people. They are destroying our homes. They are destroying our lives.
We want to tell the truth so the Virgin Islanders, the people of the Caribbean, the people of the world can actually see who the real terrorists are. The real terrorists are the ones who are occupying our land, killing our children, killing our mothers, destroying our lives.
The truth she spoke of came in the form of protest signs emblazoned with ghastly photos of childhood fatalities, a graphic slide show depicting the everyday conditions of the Palestinian people in war-torn Gaza, and impassioned speeches calling for justice and humanitarian aid.
Participants and onlookers were encouraged to sign an on-line petition on the Council on American-Islamic Relations website at www.cair.com.
According to the website, the petition drive is hoping to collect one million signatures urging world leaders to speak "in favor of peace and justice for all parties in the current humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Gaza Strip."
This is for anybody who cares for humanity and injustice, said Amal Abusoud, Palestinian born and Caribbean raised.
Abusoud added that this is not about politics or religion.
We just want people to know how passionate we are and how hurt we are. If you dont believe in murdering children and women … you believe in this.
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