On Saturday, Nov. 23, tens of thousands gathered on Parliament Hill to express solidarity with Palestine and condemn Ottawa’s uncritical support of Israel.
Protesters converged in the federal capital from Montreal, Toronto and other cities nearby. As they assembled in front of the parliament and marched in the streets of the capital, the atmosphere was upbeat, determined and even carnivalesque.
The Palestinians beamed with pride in wearing their national symbols; Arabs from other parts of the Middle East joined them with equal pride; queers in support of Palestine held their banners and flags with pride; Jews said not in our name; protesters with Black ancestry held aloft Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X’s quotes; Bosnians supported Gaza because they remember Srebrenica; Muslims called out Islamic states of their failure to protect Gaza; and indigenous nations of Turtle Island reminded everyone why the fight against settler colonialism must go on.
A unique aspect of pro-Palestinian support is the diversity of people who identify with the Palestinian cause. There is a universality to the fight for Palestinian liberation. Like a river, it absorbs many different streams to flow as one. This universality from below contrasts starkly with international institutions that claim to be universal but consistently fail to live up to their stated ideals. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the case of Palestine.
As governing structures across the globe are hemorrhaged by expediency, self-preservation, hypocrisy and war-mongering, popular support for Palestine provides the only sense of hope that governments and corporations could be pushed to change their unchecked support for Israel.
The march in Ottawa was an expression of that support. The horrifying images from Gaza leave no doubt over the extent of human suffering Israeli actions are causing. Canadians, like the rest of the world, are plugged in day and night over what is taking place in Gaza.
While the Netanyahu government might try to spin the narrative, Palestinians, with the help of brave and young journalists, simply have to pick their phones and cameras to show the world the reality. Showing the truth has never been simpler. The protesters in Ottawa had seen the truth.