- Published on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 08:19
By Yousef Aljamal, CPDS
The Centre for Political and Development Studies (CPDS), Gaza, held a lecture on Monday, 7th May, entitled 'Intifada on Wall Street From a Palestinian anti-occupation uprising to the global Occupy movement', delivered by Joe Catron, an international solidarity activist, in which he discussed the development of the protests from 1994 in Chiapas, Al-Aqsa uprising in Palestine and the Global Occupy Movement.
"In November 1999, Seattle in the US witnessed protests against the World Trade Organization, yet the September 11 attacks reduced these protests and shifted many people's attention to the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq," said Catron.
Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine
One of the most significance logos the Occupy Movement's activists chanted was 'Occupy Wall Street, Not Palestine', which reflects their opposition to the role of the Zionists lobby in US policy and the economy.
"There has been a huge debate about whether the social justice protests in Israel are a part of the Global Occupy Movement. Some Palestinian activists didn't like the idea of Israelis participating in the movement, thus they were not invited back again", said the American activist.
The Zapatista movement is a mostly indigenous movement from the mountains of southern Mexico. They held an armed uprising on the 1st of January 1994 to demand recognition of their rights and to reclaim the land stolen from them.
"The Zapatista rebellion coincided with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and began with an armed takeover by Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) of territory in Chiapas and first Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle, which declared war against the Mexican state. A ceasefire was reached several weeks later," added Catron.
The Internet as a defensive weapon
"The Zapatistas used the internet to mobilize the international community to ensure their message was widely disseminated and to prevent the massacre of their fighters, far fewer in numbers and far less well-equipped than the Mexican military against who they were pitted. International awareness was their single greatest protection from total destruction."
Tahrir Square: Protest like Egyptians
"The outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada was especially important because in Eqypt in the 1980s and '90s, street activism had been effectively shut down by the government as part of the fight against Islamist insurgents. It only continued to exist inside university campuses or party headquarters. But when the 2000 Intifada erupted and Al Jazeera started airing images of it, it inspired our youth to take to the streets, in the same way we've been inspired by Tunisia today," Catron quoted Hossam El-Hamalawy, Egyptian journalist, activist, and blogger.
The overwhelming pro-Palestinian sentiment in Egypt appeared clearly in the Tahrir square mass protests that brought down the Egyptian president.
"I recall the first time I heard protesters en masse chanting against the president in April 2002, during the pro-Palestinian riots around Cairo University. Battling the notorious central security forces, protesters were chanting in Arabic: 'Hosni Mubarak is just like [Ariel] Sharon, " added the Egyptian blogger.
"Regarding Al-Aqsa Intifada, I don't claim that I know about it more than Palestinians. I will leave it for you", Catron concluded.