Do not close eyes to genocide

Durango City Council has voted to preclude constituents from bringing requests for symbolic resolutions related to international issues. Melissa Youssef requested that the council adopt this policy after members of the Durango Palestine Solidarity Coalition introduced a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Palestine. 

More than 60 U.S. cities have passed ceasefire resolutions. And all around the nation, these resolutions have been referred to as “symbolic gestures.” They are symbolic in the sense that local governments have no power to enforce them. Yes, it’s true. The voices of hundreds seem to hold no weight when it comes to our federal government’s decision- making. But in many ways, these resolutions are not symbolic. 

For one, bringing the ceasefire resolution to vote is a way to honor and respect the lived experience, careful learning and embodied wisdom of Palestinians, and Arab, Jewish and indigenous people who consider their lives to be directly bound up with Palestinians, based on cultural identity, shared history and shared political struggle.

By refusing to hear such requests, the Council will save themselves some time. They’ll protect themselves from having to make a decisive comment about a controversial issue. Here’s what won’t change – more than 100 community members will continue to come out each week and protest, and bigoted and aggressive counter protestors with no connection to Israel will continue to accost and yell at members of the group, calling Jewish members “not even Jewish” and Arab and Indigenous members “jihads” or “terrorists.”

Durango City Council, don’t close your eyes and ears, and establish yourselves as apathetic, unconcerned, cowardly. Don’t make the mistake of thinking about deaths in Palestine as happening out there, far away, disconnected from us. You may consider yourselves disconnected from the violence, but we do not see opposing genocide as “symbolic.” It’s real because it’s happened to our people, or it’s still happening. And it’s real because we are complicit.

–Adar Higgs, Durango