An article I came across recently in the midst of much depressing news around Haiti, and a lot else, was: “Palestinians in Gaza donate to Haiti.” It spoke of how Gazans were collecting something — anything — to donate to earthquake victims in Haiti. Dr. Jamal Khudari from the Palestinian Committee against the Siege said: “It’s a symbolic donation for the people of Haiti, for the children of Haiti, to tell them that we feel the suffering.”
Receiving this news took my breath away. On the surface I am in awe of the generosity of Gazans who themselves are being pulverized by the ongoing US/Israeli siege. But for me there is deeper connection to this story. I grew up in the South under segregation and know first-hand that a large part of what kept that system of oppression alive was the willingness of the white majority to consider African Americans as sub-human. This notion that “these are not people like us” has kept Haiti the poorest nation in the western hemisphere and kept Palestinians the targets of incessant Israeli attacks. So in addition to being moved by this example of Palestinian solidarity, I am heartbroken that it takes the devastation of two peoples, and their coming together through small acts of kindness, to remind many in the US that Haitians and Palestinians are people too. Jean Entine is on the Board of Grassroots International and Jewish Voice for Peace.