Vic Mensa, a Grammy nominated rap musician from Chicago recently wrote an op-ed for US based Magazine, Time, highlighting the similarities between the Palestinian fight for freedom and the struggle he has faced in the US as a man of color.
“I write to inform all those who will hear me of the treacherous denial of human rights to the Palestinian people living under occupation. These scenes of oppression and abuse will be forever etched into my memory, burned into my mind’s eye”, Mensa wrote.
The article titled, “What Palestine taught me about American racism” follows Mensa’s recent journey to Palestine, where he, along with a number of American activists visited refugee camps, spent time in the homes of Palestinian’s whose homes are under threat of being stolen by Israeli settlers, and the Israeli Apartheid Wall.
“The parallels between the black American experience and the Palestinian experience are overwhelming. As I gaze over the 25-foot “separation wall,” the economic disparity is acutely transparent; the Israeli side of the wall looks like the Capitol in The Hunger Games, while the Palestinian side reads like a snapshot from a war photographer.”
Not only did Mensa draw parallels between Palestine and the experience of his community in the US, he highlighted the disparity between the humiliating living conditions of the Palestinians living in places like the Aida refugee camp and luxurious Israeli settlements:
” Staring into the worm-infested water tank on top of a dilapidated house in Aida refugee camp, I can’t help but think of Flint, Michigan, and the rust-colored lead-poisoned water that flows through their faucets. The sight alone is emotional, and many people in the group cried on that roof. Rage cannot describe how I feel thinking of the insects swimming in that water tank, while just across the wall is an Israeli settlement with an Olympic-size swimming pool.”
“For once in my life I didn’t feel like the nigger. As I sat comfortably at a coffee shop, gawking at a group of Israeli soldiers harassing a Palestinian teenager, it was clear who was the nigger.”
Mensa has been nothing less than courageous speaking out and singing for the Freedom of Palestinians, and his voice is being heard. Not only was he published in Time, but he was invited to perform on the popular Late Show with Steven Colbert, where he sang “We Could Be Free” with the names of cities like Ferguson and Palestine displayed on the wall behind him.
Vic Mensa is one of an ever-growing number of artists around the world who are advocating for Palestine in a variety of ways, including participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, refusing to perform in Israel or collaborate with Israeli artists.
#TelAviv #Palestine #Pop
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