My Comments at the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, Orange County Awards Banquet

By Miko Peled

I thank you all for this gracious award, for Courage and Conscience. But I must say that for someone who comes from a privileged class, as I do, to come out and talk about the injustices committed by that same class, this is not called courage it is called duty.

So I dedicate this award, which I humbly accept and for which I am grateful, to 16 yr old Majd Burnat from Bili'in who is now recovering from surgery after being shot by an israeli solider, and to his father my friend Iyad Burnat who for 10 years has been among the leaders of the Palestinian unarmed resistance against the Israeli occupation and oppression. Because of his daring to stand up against Israel, Iyad the father was not permitted to travel to jerusalem to be with his son in the hospital at this crucial time.

I dedicate this also to my friend Bassem Tamimi and his wife Nariman Tamimi Tamimi from Nabi Saleh. Bassem and Nariman are almost regularly imprisoned, their house raided and their children harassed by Israel for the crime of being dedicated to the unarmed resistance to the israeli occupation and oppression of Palestine.

I dedicate it also to the brave people of Beit Ummar, the fearless Youth Against Settlements ???? ?? ????????? in Hebron, to the brave fighters in Kufr Kaddum and Maasara, all of whom are dedicated to freeing Palestine from the racist, brutally violent, apartheid regime under which they suffer, and believe me, they pay dearly for their courage to stand up.

I dedicate this to Free Shireen Issawi Campaign, a young Palestinian attorney, freedom fighter and political prisoner. She is the sister of Samer Issawi,( The Free Samer Issawi Campaign ) who holds the record for the longest hunger strike in history, 266 days. I dedicate this to her and the thousands of other political prisoners held in Israeli jails.

And finally, I wish to dedicate this to the undefeatable people of Gaza. To the thousands who were murderd in cold blood by Israel this past summer. Murdered in cold blood, with the full support and financing of the US as we, and the rest of the world watched and did nothing. I dedicate this to the brave Gazan fighters who facing the daunting and merciless forces of the Israeli war machine, fought bravely, did not surrender, and exacted a heavy toll on the Israeli military. These Palestinian fighters, who will be remembered as some of the bravest freedom fighters in history, realized that Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, are not faced with an option to resist and be killed or live in peace but rather are presented with the options to be killed standing up and fighting or be killed sleeping in their beds. These brave young Palestinians showed the world what it means to fight oppression and to die standing tall. I dedicate this to the fathers and mothers and children in Gaza who buried their dead with dignity and now go back to their schools, such as they are, destroyed by the Israeli army. They continue to show us that books are stronger and more valuable than guns.

I dedicate this award to all of them and I add in closing that Palestine can be free, must be free and indeed, all of Palestine will be free in our lifetime and sooner than most people think.

Thank you.