Alhamdulillah Muslims from across the world are showing great concern for their brothers and sisters in Gaza. Demos, charities, dua, boycotts etc demonstrate an amazing response from the ummah. So my choice not to use #freegaza or #freepalestine isn’t a criticism of the sincerity of Muslims who may use this hashtag or slogan. It’s more my personal opinion on why I choose to use #LiberatePalestine rather than #FreeGaza.
Firstly, language is obviously important, the careful use of words conveys a subtle meaning that elicit a particular response. So Zionists aren’t occupiers, they are settlers, it’s not an invasion but incursion or ground offensive, innocent civilians are not targeted but collateral damage.
In this context the use of the word free gaza has a subtle implication. Like freeing a prisoner, implying the one who holds them hostage is being appealed to. And/or it’s a wish to see it freed rather than an active process of freeing it. Unarmed Demonstrators in peaceful protests holding placards calling for free Gaza can be seen as an appeal to the jailor, the occupier, those in control.
It therefore empowers the occupiers, giving them the ultimate control over the affairs, while disempowering those campaigning for a “free Palestine/Gaza”.
The word “liberate”, for me at least, doesn’t hold these problematic meanings. Liberating Palestine is not disempowering those who stand against Zionist oppression, rather it’s a mobilising call. A call to liberate from those who stand against the oppressive system of Zionism. Liberating Palestine is a practical response to the aggression of a state predicated on race, that has been oppressing others. Therefore we begin to think how do we liberate the land, what resources do we need, how to motivate the armies of the Muslim lands that surround Israel to fulfil their duty.
Anyways that’s why I hashtag #LiberatePalestine