We, the undersigned artists, academics, mothers, fathers, students, refugees, and community organizers with ties to Arabic-speaking regions, declare our unwavering solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). We fully and wholeheartedly endorse the policy demands put forth by the US-based Movement for Black Lives platform and its transnationalist vision for Black power, freedom and justice. We join you in reiterating the necessity of shared struggle and collective liberation of all oppressed and indigenous people globally. For liberation to be real and genuine, we all need to get free.
The current iteration of the movement to end the war and genocide against Black people in the US is rooted in centuries of the Black freedom struggle. As we commemorate the month of Black August and its history of radical resistance, we as #Arabs4BlackPower commit to amplifying the rebellions of Black and indigenous people in the settler-colonies of the Americas; and to joining in the fight against white supremacy, patriarchy, and hyper-militarized late capitalism.
Once again, Black people in the US are defending themselves from the violence inscribed in the Americas’ settler colonialist regimes built on the backs of Indigenous, Black, and Brown people through the expropriation of indigenous lands, genocide, and slavery. Once again, Black freedom fighters are refusing colonial and imperial narratives that uphold white supremacy and are continuing to craft a language rooted in the struggle for justice. Once again, Black liberation movements are challenging systems of criminalization that dehumanize, incarcerate, and assassinate Indigenous, Black, and Brown people—systems that simultaneously transcend and reinforce national boundaries through border-control complexes to terrorize people around the world under the umbrella of the global “war on terror.” And once again, Black organizers in the US have put forth a vision to continue imagining and transforming these systems within and across borders.
The U.S. empire violently exerts control over Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities internally and around the globe. People in predominantly Arabic-speaking regions experience empire in locally specific material forms: bombings, drone strikes, forced disappearances, checkpoints, carceral wars, forced migration, indigenous displacement, starvation, the theft of natural resources, apartheid, and more. The geography of ‘Ferguson to Palestine’ is integral to #Arabs4BlackPower charting the structural connections, albeit different manifestations, inscribed by the US-led “war on terror.” It connects anti-Blackness as well as anti-Muslim and antiArab racism in the US with global imperial wars in the rest of the world.
The “war on terror” rests on regional geopolitical alliances forged for the sole purpose of maintaining and furthering imperial and Zionist hegemony. It is situated within a genealogy of colonial legacies that have structured power in Arabicspeaking regions along the lines of gender, religion, ethnicity, skin color, language, and sexual orientation, to name a few. With these genealogies in mind, those of us struggling to rid all communities of the Maghreb and the Mashreq* from militarization and neoliberalism must center the lived experiences and aspirations of women, Black Arabs, Nubians, Imazighen, Kurds, Armenians, migrant workers, refugees, gender-nonconforming individuals, queers, and others. We pledge to work against marginalization within our communities in all its forms and to continue examining the language we use as we continue dismantling colonial legacies. We must refuse and erase national boundaries created to divide us—building with the oppressed from Palestine to Western Sahara, from Yemen to Syria, from Algeria to Sudan, from Tunisia to Egypt and beyond, as we come together in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives.
In pledging to resist and overcome, we as #Arabs4BlackPower unequivocally support the M4BL platform for reparations, invest-divest, economic justice, community control and political power. We recognize, as did many before us, that only through joint struggle will we dismantle the distinct yet intersecting systems that both oppress Black and Indigenous people in the settler colonies of the Americas and institutionalize a war of terror from within US boundaries to the Mashreq, Maghreb, and beyond. To this end, we commit ourselves to combating anti-Blackness wherever we find it in our communities—both within the boundaries of the US as immigrant-settlers complicit in white supremacy, as well as in Arabicspeaking regions where socio-historically distinct forms of discrimination against Black Arabs intersect with other forms of marginalization along the lines of gender, religion, ethnicity, skin color, language, and sexual orientation to name a few.
From Ferguson to Palestine: we will work for liberation. To everyone building towards the Movement for Black Lives:
We see you. We hear you. We stand with you.
**Maghreb and Mashreq are locally referenced geographies within predominantly Arabic speaking regions spanning from the Maghreb (Western Africa) to the Mashreq (Eastern Africa and Western Asia).
In Joint Struggle,
The Dream Defenders in downtown Nazareth, Israel, in January 2015 / Courtesy of May Alhassen