Kansas City Black Civil Rights Leaders Side With Apartheid and Genocide

Prominent Black leaders in Kansas City betray a storied legacy of civil rights activism by openly supporting an apartheid and genocidal regime. The post Kansas City Black Civil Rights Leaders Side With Apartheid and Genocide appeared first on Kansas City Defender.

Kansas City Black Civil Rights Leaders Side With Apartheid and Genocide

We pen these words not as observers but as Black people in America who know all too well the weight of a racist apartheid’s boot on a neck—the same weight that now bears down upon Gaza and throughout all of Palestine.

When a chorus of blind support for Israel rings out from those in seats of privilege and power, the echo is to be expected from the usual suspects: Joe Biden, white-majority corporations, mainstream politicians. 

Yet, the betrayal is more profound, more hurtful, and far more sinister when it emanates from those who often purport to stand on the side of justice, anti-racism, and liberation for all oppressed people. 

Quinton Lucas, the Urban League of Kansas City—you sing a requiem for the State of Israel while remaining silent as the earth of Gaza and the West Bank is stained with the blood of thousands of Palestinian children and families: martyrs assassinated by a US-supported colonial power.

A United Nations infographic displays the stark difference in casualties. Over 100,000 Palestinians injured or killed prior to 2020, while less than 5,000 Israeli were. Such grotesque disparities indicate it is not a conflict but a 1-sided asymmetrical genocide.

How can you weep for one and ignore the other? How can you lend your voice to a genocidal apartheid regime, yet cloak yourself in damning silence as the skies over Gaza screech with rockets and bombs? 

Aerial photos show Al Remal neighborhood which was destroyed by the Israeli warplanes with more than 50 air strikes. 10.10.23
Entire neighborhoods decimated by bombs and rockets with only rubble and ash left remaining

What you are supporting is this: entire Palestinian neighborhoods ferociously bombed with internationally-banned weapons, homes crumbled into heaps of concrete and despair – the very air thick with the aroma of scorched flesh and charred dreams, over 100 years of violent colonization; Mosques, once sanctuaries of spiritual refuge, now desecrated.

Schools that once echoed with the laughter of children now reverberate only with the cold silence of absence. Hospitals, already stretched thin, teem with the wails of mothers and fathers clutching lifeless bodies—victims of an indiscriminate campaign to erase a people.

The world’s largest open air prison, implemented by the Zionist regime.

A Palestinian medic attempts to save a dying baby, among the thousands of babies and children violently attacked through the indiscriminate bombing in violation of international law

Since this past Saturday, Israel has killed 994 Palestinians including 260 children, destroyed 22,639 homes, 10 medical centers, and 48 schools. There is only one side of the conflict that has decimated such critical infrastructure.

After Egypt delivered its first humanitarian aid package, the Occupation Forces twice bombed the Rafah crossing from which it came – preventing Palestinians from leaving and further aid from entering. 

Let’s dispel a convenient fiction that some, such as Mayor Lucas, deploy as a rhetorical smokescreen: The claim to empathize with Palestinians while simultaneously supporting Israel is a moral paradox that disintegrates under scrutiny.

It’s akin to telling someone whose child was just murdered that you feel their sorrow and empathize with them, yet you were the one who purchased the murderer’s weapon knowing they would carry out the violent act, and vow to continue supplying them with more.

When public figures like Mayor Lucas, the Urban League, or Congressman Cleaver profess to ‘stand with Israel,’ they make a deliberate choice to side with an apparatus that, according to United Nations findings, perpetrates apartheid and crimes against humanity on the Palestinian people.

There is only one people who’s entire country looks like armageddon, as if a nuclear bomb struck, and it is not Israel. Image by @wissamgaza

There’s a vast ethical gulf between mourning acts of violence against Israeli settler civilians, and pledging allegiance to the very machinery perpetuating mass violence against Palestinians.

Not to mention, the glaring absence of critique against Israel in their statements reveals a tacit endorsement of its actions.

One cannot straddle the line when it comes to apartheid and genocide; you are either against it or complicit.

By blindly “standing with Israel,” you are supporting the calculated extermination of a colonized and oppressed people, the Palestinians.

Casualties prior to this past weekend

Today, the Palestinians fight back, breaking out of their colonial siege – liberating and reclaiming the lands their grandparents were ethnically cleansed from.

People are quick to sing hymns of praise for revolutionaries and freedom fighters once the dust has settled but let us not forget how they’re also keen to erase from history the very strategies and tribulations that made those revolutions possible in the first place.  

The Long History of Black-Palestinian Solidarity

When we consider the cowardly betrayal by Black people in seats of power in Kansas City, we can’t help but remember the luminous legacy of civil rights leaders and revolutionaries who stood unflinchingly in solidarity with Palestinians. 

Muhammad Ali, Angela Davis, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson, Toni Morrison—these are just a few names in a long line of Black leaders who have either spoken out vehemently or marched arm-in-arm with Palestinians. 

They recognized that the Palestinian liberation struggle is intricately connected to our own fight against racism, colonialism, the prison and military-industrial-complex. 

The likes of Quinton Lucas and the Urban League of Kansas City not only stand in stark contrast to these figures but, in their calculated silence and complicity, also betray the shared struggle for justice and humanity. 

When we think of Mayor Quinton Lucas and the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, we are reminded of that Baldwin quote: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” 

A man like Lucas, a Black man vested with the power of governance, would, you’d assume, understand the sedimentary layers of systemic oppression. But here we find him, siding with the architects of another people’s suffering.

His words, lamenting “brutal attacks by Hamas on innocent Israeli civilians,” cloak an insidious agenda in the robe of compassion. It’s a betrayal steeped in an ignorance so profound it’s almost tactile. Or is it cowardice? The apprehension of losing political favor, of alienating donors whose checks come easier when one parrots a colonialist line. 

Whichever it is—ignorance or fear—his stance severs a spiritual artery that links the oppressed peoples of the world.

The Urban League, too, betrays a legacy—a legacy of civil rights, of activism, of standing in solidarity with the oppressed. They issue their statement, an anemic call for peace that wilts under scrutiny, a placebo in the face of a full-blown crisis. 

Thus, it was unsurprising that Congressman Cleaver would also utter similar sentiments, giving credence to American ‘leadership’ as ‘instrumental’ in ‘assisting Israel’s defense.’

Cleaver, a Black man who should be acutely aware of the gnawing pain of systemic discrimination, willingly distorts the narrative. This isn’t mere political calculus; it’s a shocking betrayal of the ethics of civil rights and social justice that he claims to champion.

Much like Lucas and the Urban League, Cleaver disregards the universal struggle against oppression, choosing instead to propagate the very systems of power that strangle freedom.

In these times, more than ever, our struggles are interconnected, laced together in a web of globalized oppression.

“The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever he is, as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era.” – Ghassan Kanafani

For Black leaders in Kansas City to stand against an oppressed people’s liberation elsewhere is to stand against it here. 

It’s an affront, a slap in the face to every Black and Brown soul who ever believed that their life mattered, who ever fought against the bonds of systemic oppression.

It’s an erosion of the very ideals that the Urban League was built on, and it’s a blemish on the historical tapestry of revolutionary Black struggle in America.

Yet, our intent is not to mindlessly attack or disparage individuals or organizations with whom we often share common goals.

However, when public statements are made that egregiously betray the principles of justice, liberation, and humanity that we hold dear, it is our moral obligation to address these publicly. Our criticisms are not an end but a call to realign with the values that should unite us all.

An Interconnected Liberation Struggle

When Israel’s defense minister brands an entire people as “human animals,” and the world still rises to sing Israel’s praises, know that we are knee-deep in the currency of dehumanization—a currency all too familiar to Black souls in America.

When the mechanisms of power flick the switch of concern solely for Israel, then summon the gall to label those who resist a decades-long genocide and apartheid regime as terrorists, it echoes in the bones of those of us who’ve marched chanting, “Black Power” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Our calls for justice are met with tear gas; their pleas for sovereignty are met with bombs.

And still, some wonder why the oppressed of the world look to each other and see a reflection of our own struggle. 

The critiques of the methods of resistance are strikingly parallel between Black folks in America and Palestinians. 

When Black people rise up against systemic injustice, take to the streets, or even resort to armed resistance like the Black Panther Party after centuries of oppression, we are told our methods are too violent, too distracting.

“If only you protested peacefully, you’d garner more sympathy,” they say, deliberately overlooking the fact that non-violent methods like kneeling or peaceful protests are met with the same disdain. We’re familiar with this defining characteristic of white supremacy – the belief that the oppressors and colonizers have exclusive rights to violence. 

The Palestinians face the same damning paradox.

After decades of occupation and countless peaceful protests—like the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign and the Great March of Return, which resulted in an unconscionable Palestinian massacre (including Israeli soldiers literally shooting nonviolent Palestinian protesters with snipers)—Palestinians still stand accused of ‘violence’ when they resort to armed resistance after exhausting every other imaginable alternative.

The world has failed to give Palestinians their rights. 

Palestinians peacefully protest at the Great March of Return

Never mind that their non-violent efforts were criminalized, that during the nonviolent Great March of Return, 214 Palestinians, including 46 children, were killed and over 9,204 were injured. 

The world is quick to label them as terrorists, just as Black activists are often labeled such. Both groups are caught in a rigged game, a cruel catch-22: resist and be labeled violent, or don’t resist and continue to suffer under the yoke of oppression.

And still, as Israel moves to overshadow even the Balfour declaration of 1917 and Nakba of 1948—the ethnic cleansing that birthed an apartheid nation and formed the current Israeli “Defense” Forces—Western powers redeploy military assets, not to protect the innocent, but to bolster the aggressor.

And the language grows ever more horrifying, ever more violent. 

“Eradicate.” “Eliminate.” Words now being so casually thrown around they cease to mean the end of human life and become mere rhetoric for political actors to score points with their bases. 

Over 150,000 Palestinians, with over half being children, have now lost their homes. And aren’t allowed to flee the country. The staggering extent of the destruction is armageddon level.
The Israeli warplanes destroy a mosque in Al Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza. 9.10.23 By @alijadallah66

What is happening to Palestinians in the past 75 hours, and the last 75 years, is nothing short of genocide. Israel has razed entire residential neighborhoods, leaving thousands wounded and hospitals in ruin. 

These are not mere numbers; they are human lives—a brother, a sister, a baby caught in a war they didn’t ask for. And the numbers do tell a story: over 100,000 Palestians brutally injured since only 2008, compared to roughly 7000 “Israeli” settlers. 

The discrepancy is more than stark; it’s a horrifying testament to the lopsided brutality of this settler colonial project- an asymmetric war between a nuclear superpower and an imprisoned, impoverished people who have decided to take the issue of their freedom into their own hands after the world failed to grant it to them.

Palestinians have embodied or rallied behind the following sentiment: “Today, we will either be free or be killed – and either is better than being caged.”

The fights of Black people and Palestinians are intrinsically linked. 

The soil may change, the flag may change, but the battle against the colonialism, racial capitalism, and genocide is one and the same. 

In this epoch of silence, where your voice can be both weapon and shield, will you raise it only for your kin or for every soul gasping under the weight of oppression?

Power to the People Who Don’t Fear Freedom!

The post Kansas City Black Civil Rights Leaders Side With Apartheid and Genocide appeared first on Kansas City Defender.