by Abaki Beck
Am I sobbing tears of horror at the world, or is it just the pollen? Perhaps both. This week, our Sunday links look at children across the world: abuse of incarcerated Palestinian children (and Palestinian artist/activists to support) and the impact of violent presidential campaign rhetoric on U.S. students (and the importance of social justice education).
According to Human Rights Watch, many Palestinian children who are detained by Israeli police are physically or verbally abused and face violence from the arresting officers. Often, they are arrested for a offenses such as throwing stones - not really threats to public safety, but disruptions of the status quo. These kinds of protests, even by children, are suppressed. Since 2000, more than 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli military forces. On top of that, they receive a 99% conviction rate in military courts. Human Rights Watch interviewed some Palestinian youth who were incarcerated about their experiences, which you can read here and is linked above.
Palestinians living under Israeli occupation face oppression daily - from physical violence and intimidation like these youth face, to having their villages destroyed and turned into national parks (by the way, the organization that funds this is listed as an environmental charity in 50 countries including the U.S.) No incarcerated individual deserves to be subjected to inhumane conditions. But this story is especially chilling as it is children being abused. This is not just physical violence, but a very specific kind of colonial violence. Israel is hailed as a “democracy” in the Middle East and is fervently supported by hundreds of U.S. law makers, yet they commit terrifying violence against the people whose land they occupy.
Here are a few resources to learn more about the conflict and about settler-colonialism in Palestine:
“Past is Present: Settler Colonial Studies in Palestine” special edition of Settler Colonial Studies Journal (includes 10+ open access articles)
Israeli Palestinian conflict explained: an animated introduction Israel and Palestine by Jewish Voice for Peace
It addition to supporting organizations who work against violence and colonialism in Palestine (both in the U.S. and internationally), it is equally important to support Palestinian individuals who use their voices to create change and raise awareness. Here are a few political artists to check out:
Samia A Halaby (painter)
Khaled Jarrar (multidisciplinary visual artist)
Rafeef Ziadah (performance poet and activist)
Abdel Rahman Al Muzain (former PLO general and artist)
Stateside, a recent teacher survey from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) found that the rhetoric of Republican presidential candidates, particularly Donald Trump, is deeply impacting students. Many surveyed said that students of color, immigrant students, and Muslim students were scared because of the rhetoric. Half of teachers also noted an increase of bullying and hate speech along racial or religious lines - essentially imitating Republican campaign jargon. While the survey did not name candidates, an overwhelming number of teachers brought up Donald Trump specifically, while fewer discussed Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Ted Cruz. Whether we realize it or not, children are actively engaged with this election - though in a different way than adults. As this survey found, the fear-mongering language produced by presidential candidates is having real impacts on students of color - who are now facing more fear and harassment by peers because of it.
Here, find social justice education resources to support students of color and combat the violent rhetoric they face, both from certain presidential candidates and from white-washed schooling in general:
Rethinking Schools is a non-profit dedicated to providing resources for social justice oriented teaching and strengthening public education. It's website is a great resource.
Teaching Material suggestions from the Zinn Education Project, which focus on the people’s history of the U.S. - particularly through social movements, people of color, women, and histories of other marginalized groups.
Before you head out, here are a few more interesting news stories to check out this week:
Animated Shorts that celebrate Mexico’s indigenous languages (from Remezcla)
Two black teenagers open a beauty store celebrating all types of hair (from For Harriet)
And in honor of Earth Day, which is next Friday:
Octopus rages against capitalism and escapes aquarium through pipes (from the Washington Post)
Thank you for reading, and have a happy and empowering Sunday!