Letter to the people we thought were on our side

By Islam Khatib

Following the past week’s tragic events, which you can learn more about here, I was shocked at the comments of friends & comrades who were justifying racism, who were proudly calling out for violence & who didn’t care that they are cheering for fascism. I was shocked at the neutrality of comrades who fight for social justice, who were arrested and threatened several times, who spent hours & hours talking about Palestine & Syria. I was shocked but I got scared.

I got scared because I forgot that they did this to us too. Love Palestine but hate Palestinians. Love Syria but hate Syrians. Write poems about Palestinian refugee camps then call for its destruction. Ask for reforms because they know all about corruption yet they point their fingers at refugees. How could I forget that? How could I forget that they used Palestinians as tokens? 

I got scared because I thought that this would be it. This would be a chance for us to organize together because what is going on is dangerous for all of us. 

But no. Our comrades chose to side with fascism. Again.

Systemic racism is sick, that anyone with even a shred of morality, should lose their sleep fighting it. To paraphrase Toni Morrison, "the function of racism is distraction" and it keeps people explaining rather than be able to do the work. It sucks that we have to spend our time explaining to our fellow 'comrades' who are supposed to be on our side on why it is important to stand in solidarity with refugees. But they'd rather support fascist regimes & dictatorships. & we all know that racism can’t exist without the sympathetic power structure to support it. It relies heavily on the power to systematically enact it. So, thanks for that.

Of course you’re going to say ‘what about the Lebanese workers?’ What about all workers who are subject to the same exploitative neoliberal policies? Isn’t it possible to fight against those without slipping into a hypernationalist rhetoric? Why are you helping the right win by playing on irrational fears and naked ignorance? 

Of course you’re going to say that ‘not all refugees are good’. Really? Is that your argument now? Well last time I checked, people don't oppose racism because think every victim of it is a pure, gentle, innocent creature who can do no wrong. They oppose it because nobody should be oppressed because of who they are, or which class they belong to. 

Stop justifying racism & patriarchal violence for once. Stop provoking xenophobia and fear. Stop helping the fascist establish an emotional climate fit for mass slaughter and deportation. 

You label anyone who calls you out on your racism, sexism, fetishization of the nation & dictatorships, and violence, a part of the ‘misguided neo-left’, or ‘the new western-influenced leftists’ but you’re wrong. We are the left. You are nothing but fascists in disguise. 

July 19, 2017

in arabic here