This month we bring attention to Palestinian activist, Rasmea Odeh and her struggle against criminalization, incarceration, and deportation. Odeh, a former political prisoner in the occupied Palestinian territories, is currently facing criminal charges and deportation by the US government. The federal government claims that she committed immigration fraud when applying for US citizenship.
We bring together three segments that offer social and political context to Rasmea Odeh’s case. First we hear from Muhammad Sankari, member of the Justice for Rasmea Defense Committee, who sheds some light on Odeh’s political work in the US and the intersections of the carceral system and the “war on terror.” After, we hear Odeh’s speech at the 4th Incite! Conference that was held in Chicago. We hear Rasmesa speak of her experience as a political prisoner in Israel and her organizing efforts towards the liberation of Palestine. Finally, we feature an interview from a local community organizer, Sami Kitmitto of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, who offers an broader understanding of the political landscape in which community organizers like Rasmea are being prosecuted.
Throughout the segments we hear how Odeh’s longstanding grassroots organizing work for Palestinian liberation has centered the lives of arab women and children in both Palestine and US. It is clear from the outpouring of support that she acts as a significant institution in her community.
During her time in jail, activist and scholar Angela Davis wrote the following about the significance of organizing for the liberation of political prisoners.
“One of the fundamental historical lessons to be learned from past failures to prevent the rise of fascism is the decisive and indispensable character of the fight against fascism in its incipient phases. Once allowed to conquer ground, its growth is facilitated in geometric proportion. Although the most unbridled expressions of the fascist menace are still tied to the racist domination of blacks, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Indians, it lurks under the surface wherever there is potential resistance to the power of monopoly capital, the parasitic interests which control this society. Potentially it can profoundly worsen the conditions of existence for the average American citizen. Consequently, the masses of people in this country have a real, direct, and material stake in the struggle to free political prisoners, the struggle to abolish the prison system in its present form, the struggle against all dimensions of racism.”
Rasmea Odeh is a survivor of Israeli colonial institutional violence. Davis’ words offer a framework from which we as community members must build a movement that takes leadership from those of us who experience the direct intersection of state-sponsored colonial-racist violence. Odeh, her defense committee and other community activists continue to challenge the legitimacy of the state’s attempt to detain/incarcerate and deport her. We must understand the significance of this struggle–the ways in which the state utilizes different institutions to target women, people of color, immigrants, and prisoners to break down our movements for self determination and autonomy.
Click HERE to listen to the complete interview
For individual segments click on the links below:
Muhammad Sankari of AAAN Interview
Rasmea Odeh’s Speech at INCITE! Segment
Sami Kitmitto of AROC Interview
“Ya Leil Ma Atwalak/ This Never Ending Night” by Rim Banna ft. Kari Bremnes
“A Letter from a Prison Cell” by DAM
“Somos Sur” by Ana Tijoux ft. Shadia Mansour
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