It’s time to decolonize Thanksgiving – Middle East Monitor


As Thanksgiving approaches, we expect pictures of Palestinian Americans gleefully celebrating the annual holidays. Posting pictures of elaborate dining tables full of food: the turkey with the usual side dishes like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and stuffing. Then come the pictures of the happy eaters after they have eaten too much.

But the Palestinians shouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Our people can refer to the genocide of Native Americans who, like the Palestinians, coveted their land until it was stolen from them. No group knew the fertile land in America better than the indigenous peoples who taught the white European colonists how to harvest it successfully. These colonialists, in turn, enslaved the natives and then brought black slaves from West Africa to “develop” the country and land further. This process is very similar to the one where Jewish refugees (initially) came to Arab Palestine from Europe and were taught by indigenous Palestinians to cultivate the Mediterranean lands (something European Jews were not used to). The Palestinians enthusiastically welcomed Jewish refugees and helped them settle until the Palestinians were finally betrayed by the Zionist movement. This led to genocide in which many Palestinian families were murdered and resulted in the displacement of Palestinians from their homes (and for many, forced migration from the region) and ultimately the seizure of Palestinian land, which is still going on today. This entire process in Palestine is a systematic colonization like that of the Native American people.

America was not a “new” world when it was discovered by Europeans, it was home to over 15 million people of over 600 tribes (numbers vary) who had lived there for thousands of years like Palestine was not “a nation without a people.” “.

Palestinians have lived in Palestine since the Bronze Age. And for almost half a millennium, from the 630s to the Crusader invasion of Palestine, the official Arab-Islamic administration of Jund Filistine existed in the wider geographic region of Al-Sham. Before Jewish migration to Palestine, the region had a large and thriving agricultural economy, thriving schools and theaters, roads, railways, and sophisticated sewer systems. Remnants of it can still be seen today with buildings and manhole covers on which “Palestine” is written in the old cities. One does not have to look far to understand and see the numerous examples of modern Palestinian history in the region that have been documented by the occupiers.

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Since colonizing Palestine, Zionist Jews have insisted that God is an omnipotent real estate agent, claiming that the land of Palestine is theirs simply because they are “the chosen people”. White European settlers in America made similar claims when they accepted a line from Psalm 2: 8: “Ask of me, and I will give you the Gentiles for your inheritance and the outermost parts of the earth for your possession.”

Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning for Native Americans, not one of European conquest. It is a protest against the arrival of European settlers and centuries of oppression. Early US leaders spearheaded the celebration of the holiday, just as Israel celebrates Independence Day on the day of Nakba (the catastrophe). If Palestinians expect others to remember their suffering from the Nakba, they must remember the suffering of others who suffered the same fate.

On November 25th, as every Thanksgiving, my table will be empty and I will take the time to remember the people whose lives were wiped out by colonialism and to pray for justice for all.

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The views expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policies of Middle East Monitor.


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