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Mathare Social Justice Centre

The 13th Israel Apartheid Week continues in Kenya, March 20-25, 2017. The event, organised by Kenya Palestine Solidarity Movement, will feature films, poetry and discussions. In this poem, Shailja Patel shares her thoughts on why Kenyans - and Africans - should support the struggles of the Palestinian people against Israeli apartheid.

Because we were also a colonized people.

Because Hamas is Palestine's Mau Mau.

Because East Africa was also proposed as a location for a "Zionist Homeland."

Because Africans, like Palestinians, were non-people.

Because our resistance was also labelled "terrorism" and met with mass slaughter and collective punishment.

Because 1.5 million Kenyans (children, women, men) were imprisoned for over 8 years in British concentration camps, starved, tortured, executed at will.

Because Israel was the leading supplier of arms to apartheid South Africa.

Because Israel is an apartheid state built on genocidal settler colonialism.

Because it is always about the land.

Because Zionism is colonialism, Zionism is racism, Zionism is white supremacy.

Because if we say Gaza we must say #KasaraniConcentrationCamp.

Because if we stand with Palestinians we must stand with Somalis.

Because Kenyan troops in Somalia are no more "moral" than Israeli troops in Palestine.

Because Occupation is Occupation is Occupation.

Because ethnic cleansing is ethnic cleansing is ethnic cleansing.

Because we too were a colonized people.

* Shailja Patel is an award-winning Kenyan poet, and a founding member of Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ). Her book, MIGRITUDE, is taught in over 80 universities and colleges worldwide. During the 13th Isreal Apartheid Week in Kenya, Shailja will moderate a panel discussion and perform in the poetry session that follows. Saturday 25th March, 2pm, Nairobi, Parkfield Place, 3rd Floor, Kanjata Road, off Waiyaki Way, opposite Safaricom House.