As European Union leaders passively stand by while mass murder unfolds in Gaza, we are reminded that the European colonial system extends from Melilla to Palestine, materialised in the increasing fortification and oppression of racialised bodies in both territories.
In the last week, after a surprise attack launched by Hamas on Israel, the Israeli government has led a brutal, murderous plan to wipe out Gaza. For context, the overwhelming majority of Gaza’s population are refugees and descendants of refugees from the 1948 Nakba, and the aggressive expulsion being conducted by Israel of the inhabitants of Gaza leads to horrible collective angst that a second Nakba is unfolding. This is exemplified by the fact that, at the time of writing, Israel has dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Gaza; this is more than the US dropped in Afghanistan within a year, resulting in the murder of 3,478 Palestinians and 12,000 injured. This has resulted in the murder of a child every 15 minutes. On Friday, the 13th of October, Israel demanded that the United Nations evacuate over one million Palestinians in northern Gaza as it prepares to eradicate the population in this space.
Despite these striking figures, Western media has still managed to frame the elimination of Palestine from the map as a response to ‘terrorism’ coming from Gaza. In doing so, European society conforms to the racist and Islamophobic narrative that dictates that Palestinians are supposed to witness the dispossession of their land and bodies passively because they are not worthy of humanity. This narrative is at the centre of the same sensationalist political propaganda that convinces us that refugees passing by Melilla to arrive in Europe are threatening individuals who are coming to shake the very foundations of the white-centric European identity.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Union Commission chief, said of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Europe that ‘they are welcome’; however, she said of refugees arriving in Europe through the Mediterranean Sea that ‘those who do not have the right cannot remain’. Just this week, she spoke in the name of Europe, stating that ‘Europe stands with Israel. And we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself.’
These statements are powerful reflections of the European colonial system, which, both in Melilla and Palestine, is based on an essential factor: the dehumanisation of racialised bodies depicted as violent, threatening, and barbaric. Humanity is therefore not afforded to Palestinians or refugees arriving at Europe’s borders but to those that conform to the white European identity. Israel can continue bombing occupied Palestinian territory with the ultimate Zionist goal of expelling Palestinians from their land to create a Jewish homeland. But Palestinians do not have a right to defend themselves. The European Union can continue militarising and fortifying European borders to impede the entry of refugees, leading to people dying in mass in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Western world idly observes and supports these projects, further entrenching the European colonial system. To subvert this system, we must oppose state violence that leads to people dying in the Mediterranean Sea and Palestinians dying in mass in Gaza.
We must make it loud and clear: Free Palestine and abolish the EU border regime.