Remembering Muhammad Ali: “I declare support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland”

muhammad ali

On the occasion of the passing of legendary athlete and struggler for justice, Muhammad Ali, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins millions around the world in remembering Ali’s historic legacy of commitment to the liberation of oppressed peoples and his willingness to sacrifice in order to adhere to those principles.

In 1985, Ali traveled to Israel in an attempt to secure the release of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in occupied Southern Lebanon. This followed on his visits to Palestinian refugee camps in 1974, when he declared in Beirut that “the United States is the stronghold of Zionism and imperialism.” While visiting Palestinian refugee camps in South Lebanon, he declared “In my name and the name of all Muslims in America, I declare support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland and oust the Zionist invaders.”

Ali championed the Black liberation struggle on multiple fronts; within the United States, and as a force against US imperialism worldwide. He wrote poetry in tribute to the Black leaders of the Attica prison uprising. At the height of his career, Muhammad Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War in 1967, was sentenced to five years in prison and stripped of his title. When asked about his refusal while participating in a Louisville housing justice struggle, Ali said:

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end.

I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.

If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

Dave Zirin writes, “Ali’s refusal to fight in Vietnam was front-page news all over the world. In Guyana there was a picket of support in front of the US embassy. In Karachi, young Pakistanis fasted. And there was a mass demonstration in Cairo.”  While Ali’s later depoliticization and cooperation with the US government speak to a more complex legacy, the national and international resonance of his resistance to imperialism in the 1960s and 1970s at the height of his athletic greatness echoed around the world.

Ali’s history of struggle illustrates the lengthy and deep history of joint struggle and mutual solidarity among oppressed peoples and national liberation movements, and that Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon – and the Black Liberation Movement – were centers and incubators not only for the Palestinian revolution and Black struggle, but revolutionary movements the world over. We recall Ali’s role in representing a deep and collective legacy of resistance to imperialism, to anti-Black racism, and to Zionism, and of the struggle to free prisoners – and peoples – from the jails these systems of oppression create.

(Source / 05.06.2016)

Tags: #ICC4Israel

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

Boycott Israeli diamond