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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Guest Column: Mock wall aims for understanding

The nearly 1200-foot mock border wall currently standing on the UA Mall has, as we intended, created a crisis of movement and an interruption of daily life on campus. Yes, the wall is disturbing. Yes, it increases tension. But it is — in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a creative disturbance that we intend; it is an educative tension, a “”constructive, nonviolent tension”” with which to call attention to the injustices and brutality of U.S. and Israeli policy. With this installation as our protest, we declare opposition to apartheid, from Arizona and the borderlands to Israeli-occupied Palestine.

Here in Tucson we witness the human effects of U.S. border-policy enforcement, which takes the shape of body bags “”crowding”” the Pima County morgue, as The New York Times reported last July. More than 6,000 human remains have been recovered in the desert in the 17 years since the institution of “”deterrence”” policies and massive militarization of the border aimed at driving migrants into deadly terrain. In the face of mass suffering, death and incarceration here in the borderlands, we are moved to act.

In Arizona, we see attacks targeting every aspect of the lives of migrants, indigenous peoples and communities of color — attacks on public safety and movement (S.B. 1070), education and culture (H.B. 2281), access to health, food and medicine (H.B. 2008/H.B. 1405), and more, making life nearly unlivable for many members of our communities. As residents of Arizona, we must mobilize opposition to the terror in our region.

Today the state of Israel boasts an apartheid wall of its own — backed by an annual $3 billion of our tax dollars in U.S. military aid, alongside unwavering U.S. diplomatic and ideological support — while manufactured and maintained by some of the same interests and corporations as the wall causing mass death here along the border. We are compelled to support public understanding of the situation at home.

Palestinian people are one of the world’s largest refugee populations; and in their home region, at the hands of the Israeli state, Palestinian people are subject to military occupation, apartheid laws, mass incarceration and premeditated mass murder. Israel’s violent assault on the Gaza Strip from Dec. 28, 2008 to Jan. 19, 2009 killed 1,400 people — a genocidal assault on innocent life.

Immediately following Israel’s massacre last May of international civilians on the humanitarian “”Gaza Freedom”” convoy en route to Gaza, the international group of Elders, including former South African President and founding member Nelson Mandela, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop and Elders’ Chair Desmond Tutu, denounced the raid and described Israel’s crushing siege and blockade of the occupied Palestinian territory as “”one of the greatest human rights violations”” in the world today.

The Israeli apartheid wall we protest plays a key role in separating Palestinians from their homes and families, and is intended to make further illegal occupation and annexation of Palestinian land a “”fact on the ground”” in popular parlance.

We will not stand idly by nor stay silent regarding the enormous suffering being inflicted either in our local deserts and cities, or 10,000 miles away in Israeli-occupied Palestine. The common driving force is U.S. policy, which we can affect with our choices and our will to enact change.

Today, the world cries out for justice in Arizona, for justice in Palestine, for an end to the separation, dislocation and murder of people based on race, ethnicity, and nation. The U.S. government, the state of Arizona, and the people of the world will hear our dissent and recognize our action. The wall on the UA Mall symbolizes our consciousness of the violence surrounding us and supporting our wealth and privileges. Most of all, it symbolizes our collective will to end global apartheid and work toward a world that truly offers justice for all.

— AZ Jewish Voice for Peace is a UA-based affiliate of the national organization inspired by Jewish ethical traditions, seeking security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians, an end to violence against civilians and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East. It can be reached at

jvp-arizona@jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

— UA No Más Muertes/No More Deaths is an affiliate of the humanitarian/migrant rights organization of the same name, devoted to helping end death and suffering in the U.S./Mexico borderlands by civil initiative: the conviction that people conscience must work openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights. It can be reached at uanomoredeaths@gmail.com

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