An aura of hope was in the air as comrades from the Lexington DSA entered the courthouse yard for the “All Out for Palestine” rally on May 22nd. The thought surrounding the protest was Palestinian liberation and judging by the tone of the chant leaders, and the crowd, nothing would deter that goal. People of all denominations were there screaming until their throats were sore, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This phrase was heard over and over until one got the feeling they were screaming for their own liberation. The event was put on by young organizer Jenna Shalash who, despite being a student, was able to make time to speak with me on this crucial topic.
Foster: How old are you? Why did you decide to put on this event?
Jenna: I’m 19, my father is from Palestine and my mom’s parents are from Nicaragua and Palestine. So I really just wanted to raise awareness about what’s going on.
Foster: Is this the first event you’ve ever organized? And were you happy with the turnout?
Jenna: Yes, this was the first thing I’ve organized for a political cause. I’ve done some organizing when I was senior class president but not really anything like this. We were very happy at the turnout, we had professors from Centre College and people from as far away as Dayton, OH show up to support.
Foster: Obviously support for Palestine liberation is increasing, but a lot folks still don’t know exactly what’s going on or understand the history. Could you let readers know about some of the history, as well as just some things they should know about what’s going on?
Jenna: A lot of people don’t really understand that Israel is Palestine, it’s as if you just placed a country literally on top of another. As far as history, when the holocaust happened, Palestine opened their doors to the Jewish community. As the Jewish population increased, however, they went to the U.N. to create their own state without consulting the neighboring states. Recently, Zionists are wanting to eliminate all Palestinians targeting mothers and children specifically.
The latest campaign of slaughter by the Israelis was kicked off by a raid on the Al-Aqsa mosque by the Israeli Defense Forces targeting civilians trying to worship at one of Islam’s most important sites. This later lead to over 200 people (including 66 children) to lose their lives to the seamless, never-ending stream of bombs Israel was dropping on Palestinians.
Foster: What about America’s involvement? Is there anything you want to let the readers know?
Jenna: America has recently given 13 billion dollars to help encourage Israel to move ahead with their settler colonialist project. They give money to Israel as they target covid test sites, cell towers, hospitals, and schools with precision weapons.
Foster: Thanks so for talking with me, it was an honor to get to hear from such a young and brave organizer. Before we end this, are there any final statements you’d like to give readers?
Jenna: Never choose silence, whether you think your voice helps or not, keep talking about it. Think outside of your backyard, the fireworks overheard on the 4th of July would have been terrifying for Palestinian kids. Talk and educate others, the word will keep spreading.