Host: The string of rallies in Sarasota in response to the war in Gaza continues. Two weeks ago, hundreds walked across the Ringling Causeway bridge in support of freeing the hostages taken by Hamas, under the slogan “Stop the Hate”. Now, an organization called “A Better World is Possible” is staging a rally in Sarasota demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Our news team talked to Bryan Ellis, one of the organizers.
Johannes Werner: At least 15,000 Palestinians, by far most of them civilians, have died since Israel began its military response in Gaza to Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, killing and kidnapping 1,200 civilians. Bryan Ellis, an organizer of the protest, told us what it’s like to live in Gaza right now.
Bryan Ellis: Right now, living in Gaza is a living hell. If you don’t have food, you don’t have water, you don’t clean water, you don’t have medicine, you’re not safe, every every day could be your last day, or your family’s last day. And often it is. There’s an outcry all over the world about this genocide. And so we want to be a part of that outcry and speaking out here in Sarasota, with millions of people who are standing on the right side of history and standing with Palestine.
JW: Ellis’s group is calling for a rally tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 2, 4 pm, at the new roundabout on Gulfstream Avenue and US 41. It will call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire, and “an end to the illegal siege of Gaza, an end to U.S. aid to Israel”, and an end to “the illegal occupation, apartheid and genocide against Palestinians”.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans support a ceasefire, according to a recent Reuters/IPSOS poll.
BE: So we are calling for a permanent ceasefire because there’s been a four- or five-day pause in the genocide that Israel and the United States are carrying out in Gaza. But the the bombing has resumed as of yesterday, and it’s already killed 100 Palestinians — innocent civilians, mostly women and children.
JW: Ellis expects a peaceful event in solidarity of Palestinians.
BE: I expect there to be a small group to good sized group of demonstrators, and we’re just going to peacefully rally and talk to passersby and the media about Palestine and why the genocide by the U.S. and Israel has to end immediately.
JW: Pro-Palestinian protesters have been accused of helping Hamas. Here is how Ellis responded:
BE: I would say that we need to be helping Palestinians resist Israeli occupation and apartheid. That’s what everyone should be doing. And Hamas was a, is a resistance organization that was formed in the late 80s as a response to decades of Zionism and colonialism. You know, we don’t support attacks on civilians. Those are war crimes, even if Hamas carried them out, which they did on October 7. But it doesn’t justify Israel and the United States committing genocide and killing 20,000 innocent men, women and children in Palestine since early October.
JW: The rally is calling for a “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea”. What about the fear that this denies a future for the state of Israel and Jews?
BE: The phrase ‘From the river to the sea’ has been an issue of controversy. And really what that means is not what Zionists are claiming it means. It’s not the expulsion of Jewish people from Palestine, but rather it’s calling for one state one with with equal rights for everybody, in which Jews and Arabs and Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace.
JW: This has been Johannes Werner, reporting for WSLR News.
WSLR News aims to keep the local community informed with our 1/2 hour local news show, quarterly newspaper and social media feeds. The local news broadcast airs on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6pm.
Monday, February 19, 2024
Sunday, February 18, 2024
Copyright WSLR+Fogartyville 2005-2023
WSLR+Fogartyville is a center for creative expression and community engagement that amplifies the voices of our diverse community, and promotes peace, sustainability, democracy, and economic and social justice.