Chicago Rally Against Genocide in Gaza

Omid Razaian

Summary: Large rally in Chicago against Israel’s genocidal war against Gaza also highlights repression inside the US — Editors

I attended the Saturday rally in Chicago with some other Iranian activists. This rally was not as large as the past 10 demonstrations that I have attended, but still, we had 10-12,000 people participating, mostly younger people under 35. I handed out over 100 flyers with excerpts from the IMHO statement on Palestine.

The events of October 7 and its aftermath have been a turning point in the question of Palestine, occupation, self-determination for the Palestinian people, and international reactions.

We have now officially surpassed the number of Palestinians killed in the Nakba of 1948 (15,000) and displaced (750,000). In 2023, over 21,000 people were killed in Gaza and 1.75 million were displaced. And the massacres and displacement are still continuing.

The intensity of bombing in the last two months has surpassed Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine.

The rally was called by the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine. It started at 1 PM at Michigan Ave. and Congress Pkwy, where there were 5 different speakers. One of the speakers was a young Muslim woman named Jinan Chehade. She is an activist and a recent Georgetown University Law graduate. She gave a powerful speech on her personal experience witnessing anti-Palestinian discrimination and violence, and on the silencing of freedom of expression that is affecting university campuses, workplaces, and everyday life. At a national and international level, we are witnessing people of conscience being attacked for being HUMAN.

She had a job offer from a national law firm, Foley & Lardner, who later took back the job offer after calling her into a meeting where they interrogated her about her advocacy for Palestine while framing her advocacy as supporting terrorism. Her comments can be found on YouTube on Middle East Eye. She was also mentioned on the Democracy Now program by Amy Goodman.

Another powerful speaker was a 13-year-old girl who lost a large number of her relatives in Gaza during the last two months of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Her message was DO NOT be silent. We also had a speaker from Black Lives Matter and from student organizations and solidarity networks calling for a cessation of the genocide and for support for the Palestinian people.

After 2 hours, the march up Michigan Avenue started, and at some point after marching 8 blocks the crowd spilled onto both sides of the street, northbound and southbound, bringing a complete stop to traffic. As people marched on Michigan Avenue, they stopped in front of FOX News studio, chanting, STOP THE LIES, tell the truth, with some people carrying posters saying “mainstream news is Zionist news; tell the truth, we want the unbiased truth.”

Among the chants were stop the genocide, stop all US aid to Israel, end the occupation, justice for Palestine, stop media lies, and feminists demand an end to genocide and occupation. There were posters and banners saying Iraq stands with Palestine and saying that Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Cuba stand with Palestine, stop the war machine, and you do not pause Genocide, YOU END IT.

There were also 3 trucks with Digital messaging on the sides and back driving on Michigan Avenue. Some of the messages were stop bombing children in Gaza, stop the genocide, do not be naïve — genocide is your problem too, over 20,000 killed, over 6,000 children have died, and you want funded schools while Biden wants to give Israel $14 billion in weapons to kill Palestinians.

Our international solidarity is needed more than ever, not to mention our organizational responsibility.


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