Philadelphians lined up along 19th Street and JFK Boulevard to bring attention to inhumane detention practices in Israel.
It’s been used by occupiers, people who are anti-abortion, tea partiers and slut walkers: Their right to freedom of speech. This fundamental principle in American democracy allows for any person’s opinions, concerns and thoughts to be heard. Resting on this standard, members and supporters of the Palestinian community gathered at 19th Street and JFK Boulevard on Friday, Feb. 17 to protest the Israeli detention of Palestinian prisoners.
“[They were] bringing specific attention to Khader Adnan, the Palestinian man on a [hunger strike] against being arrested without being charged,” junior broadcast journalism major and rally attendee Wafai Dias said.
Adnan, 33-year-old was arrested on Dec. 17, 2011 and has yet to be charged or tried. Since his arrest, he has been on a hunger strike, which amounts to more than 60 days.
“We’re here to show him that people all over the world, in Philadelphia, are thinking of him,” said Kaheema Abusaab, a first year generation Palestinian living in Philadelphia.
Adnan, who is refusing to eat in order to send a message to the Israeli people and to take a stand for the rights of his people, has been examined by doctors, sent from the Israeli branch of the nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights. Doctors have said that without proper nutrition within the next few days, Adnan will die. His family and friends have petitioned for his release, but the Israeli detention has denied the requests and still refuses to charge or try him.
“He’s just one of thousands,” Philadelphian protester Betsy Piette said.
Unfortunately, the case of Adnan is not rare. In the throes of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and occupation of Palestine, unjust arrests and imprisonments have become all too common. Worse still, the Israeli atrocities against Palestinians do not end there.
“[There was] this kid, 11 or 12, they broke his legs because he was too close to the walls,” Piette said.
“It’s their broken bone policy,” said Joe Piette, Betsy’s husband and protestor.
Joe Piette said that, in order to control Palestinians, Israeli soldiers take the ends of their guns and slam it into the legs of the “criminals,” breaking the bones and making it impossible for them to run.
Abusaab said it is for Khader Adnan and the millions of other innocent civilians of Palestine that Philadelphians march.
Sarah Elizabeth Guy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.