Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Mourning and Fighting for the Palestinian Dead

If it feels like there are more dead to mourn every day, you would not be mistaken. There are.

The unquiet dead—those who should not yet have died, nor so brutally, whether at the bloody hands of colonialist, statist, and/or capitalist violence, or killer cops and pandemic catastrophe, to name some perpetrators—swirl all around us. They demand that we accompany them, that we stay by their sides til they can find enough justice, through our collective resistance and care, to rest easy as our ancestors. It is our responsibility, in fact: to offer communal support to those who are unnecessarily made sick or dead by this broken world, even as we aspire to end the structures that see so many of us as disposable, as not even grievable.

Last Saturday, on #Nakba73 and Shabbat day, some two-dozen rebel Jews joined in a grief circle on a street corner in Squirrel Hill, so-called Pittsburgh’s Jewish neighborhood—in the same spot that many of them had circled up to mourn the eleven Jews murdered by a white supremacist a little over two years ago just down the street at the Tree of Life synagogue. With those unquiet eleven Jews and the now-hundreds of unquiet Palestinians killed over the past handful of days surrounding us in unquiet spirit, and people out for Shabbes strolls pausing to look at us and our other banner, #SolidarityWithPalestine, we held up this #MournOurDead #MendTheWorld banner, heard how our Jewish traditions for mourning create the imperative for solidarity across deadly borders of all kinds, vocally expressed our commitment to struggle for a #FreePalestine as part of what it means to liberate all peoples, and said Kaddish, the mourners’ prayer.

We do this to remember what and who we love, what kind of world-to-come we fight for, and that feeling deeply is one of our sacred superpowers, as we honor those who should still be here via #DirectActionsOfTheGrieving, til all are liberated.

May their memories spark a blessed revolution! If the solidarity efforts around the globe, filled with Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and so many others this time, for the first time, are any indication, a revolution is already taking place, as homage to our dead.

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This entry was posted on May 19, 2021 by in Uncategorized.
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