This is not the post I was planning on writing this week. I would much rather be writing to you about an exciting new author I’ve discovered or a new book that we’ve just published. But the past few days demand, yet again, that we speak up against racism, police brutality, and an unfit president enticing violence and promoting racial divisiveness instead of taking bold actions to begin dismantling the system of oppression that has existed in this country for so long.
I am in awe of the thousands of protesters who are risking their lives in the midst of a pandemic to come together in this unprecedented moment in our history. It is vital that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and other communities of color and commit ourselves to continuing the struggle against systemic anti-Black racism and the fight for justice. The murder of George Floyd, who was fatally knee-pinned by a white police officer, is the latest in a series of police killings that have taken the lives of too many African Americans in this country. The ensuing uproar—and rightful outcry—over his death reflects pent-up rage against racism, unwarranted deadly force, and the lack of effort to hold police officers accountable for their crimes.
James Baldwin could have been speaking about President Trump when he said that “ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” In the past, Trump called neo-Nazi and white supremacist demonstrators “decent people,” while he recently called anti-racist protesters “thugs” and threatened them with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons.” NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn, but African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer.”
In the absence of justice, there will be protests, riots, and intifadas. As a Palestinian, I know this all too well. Around the same time that George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Israeli police in Jerusalem shot and killed Eyad al-Halaq, an unarmed autistic Palestinian student on his way to a school for people with disabilities after spotting on him a “suspicious object that looked like a pistol.” As Palestinians, we are connected in struggle to movements like Black Lives Matter. We’ve witnessed racial violence, ethnic cleansing, and life under an Israeli apartheid system of oppression. Like Palestinian intifadas, people in this country are taking to the streets to say ENOUGH.
I am outraged and my heart is aching. I hope that this protest will be a catalyst for change toward a more just America and a more just world. At Interlink, my colleagues and I will continue to channel our frustrations into our work and we shall redouble our efforts to amplify the voices of Black writers, Palestinian writers, and those from marginalized communities. We shall seek out writers who will offer valuable insights into strengthening our movement for advancing racial justice, LGBTQ+ and gender equality, and continue our fight against racism, Zionism, settler-colonialism, apartheid, US imperialism, and other forms of oppression.
As we have done over the past 33 years, we remain committed to our mission of providing our readers with books that educate, inspire, and encourage informed debate and active participation in our democracy.
Has Trump finished making America Great again?