Standing with Gaza – November 24th 2012
An address given by Father Dave to the ‘Free Gaza’ rally, on the steps of the Sydney Town Hall on Saturday, November 24th, 2012.
Sisters, brothers, salam aleykum, shalom, peace to you all. It is my privilege once again to stand alongside my Muslim and Jewish sisters and brothers as we cry out again for justice for the people of Gaza and the West Bank.
We come from many different backgrounds and places. We are Christians, we are Muslims, we are Jews. We are Arabic people, we are Persians, we are Indigenous Australians, we are European Australians. We are a diverse people drawn from across this city, but in our solidarity with the oppressed people of Gaza we are one!
The people of Gaza have been attacked again, and yet as the smoke clears we find that the people of Gaza are still there! They have been attacked and they have been damaged and they have bled, but they are still there because the Palestinian people are a proud and strong and resilient people and they are not going to go away!
Many have died, and we grieve the death of every innocent man, woman and child – Israeli as well as Palestinian – who has been killed. Many have died, but Palestine has not died! The city of Gaza has been damaged but the people of Gaza have risen up again, and this is something that Mr Netanyahu and his colleagues are going to need to come to terms with that – that no amount of military violence and bloodshed is going to make the Palestinian people disappear.
These terrible weapons of mass destruction – they can kill some of us but they never destroy all of us, and they can never kill our hope – our hope for true justice, for true freedom, for a new Middle East where no one race of human beings is valued more highly than another race and where all persons, regardless of religion, race or colour are truly seen as equals, as we are equal in the eyes of God!
They say of course that there is no other way – that violence is the only language these people understand and that the cultural and historical problems are so complex and intractable that they can never be solved. They said the same about Northern Ireland. They said the same about South Africa – that Apartheid could never end! They said that the Berlin Wall would never come down! We know better! We know that miracles do happen! We know that a true and lasting peace based on justice is possible.
Martin Luther King said that the arc of history is long but that it bends towards justice, and I believe that this is what we are witnessing around the world today. The tide is turning. People are waking up! Around the world the propaganda that holds this oppression in place is gradually being seen for what it is.
Justice for Palestine has been a long time coming, but it is coming, and it cannot be far off now! Continue to pray, sisters and brothers, and continue to hope, as we continue to march in solidarity with people around the world from all different countries, faiths and backgrounds who share our dream of a better world –a world of true equality and justice, where the Palestinian Occupation is no more, where the refugees can return to their homes, where all men, women and children are treated as equals regardless of their race or creed, and where our brothers and sisters in Gaza can truly live in peace.
Justice for Palestine is coming, and it is coming soon. Enshallah.
(to see news video coverage of this event click here)