An Occupied People Have the Right to Resist

Margaret Villamizar

The following remarks were delivered at the demonstration held in Windsor, Ontario on October 12 in support of Palestine.

On this Day of Resistance we proudly affirm the right and fundamental principle of international law of a people living under occupation -- not to mention a brutal siege, blockaded on all sides -- to resist and to free themselves! History has shown that the only way a people can liberate themselves is through organized resistance.

Those today who denounce the resistance are arming the occupier militarily and economically and giving it a green light to carry on the occupation. Those who denounce the resistance cannot openly say they support the occupation of a people and their lands because they know this is immoral, unjust and criminal. Instead they try to get everyone to judge the occupied, to debate if their methods are this or that, while their main goal is to maintain the occupation, expand the illegal settlements and subjugate an entire people. It is cowardly and shows that as Canadians we must speak for ourselves. We cannot rely on those without principles to speak for us.

The proud Palestinian people who are refusing to submit to their oppressors are defining for themselves what is resistance and how liberation will be achieved. I want to express my gratitude and respect for the youth here in Canada and in Palestine who are taking up the fight today against colonization and imperialism on their own terms. They are showing that Palestine will be free!

Prime Minister Trudeau is trying to tell us who is NOT a resistance movement. Who does he think he is? Does he think that he decides international law, that he decides who lives and dies and that he decides whose life is valuable and whose is not? No! We are one humanity, indivisible, and our lives and our rights cannot be separated. Trudeau does not speak for the Canadian people or even for basic international law and human rights.

If Hamas and the other forces who have joined as one to resist this occupation are not a resistance force, then who is? Tell us Mr. Trudeau and the other MPs who want to condemn those who resist. Be honest! The parties in Parliament only support a Palestine if it is unable to defend itself and relies on the occupier for its rights, which means humiliation. This is what happened when Hamas and a coalition of resistance movements were elected in Palestine 18 years ago. Canada simply declared the election null and void and that the Palestinian people could only vote the way the Canadian government, headed by Harper at the time, deemed acceptable.

When today Trudeau says who is or is not the resistance he is trying to tell us what we can think and that he and his government will criminalize those who express their support for an oppressed people. This from a government that welcomed and stood to honour a Nazi all because he fought Russia (the Soviet Union) in World War II.

My generation are the sons and daughters of those who fought in World War II in regular armies and in resistance movements. We stood shoulder to shoulder with the anti-colonial struggles of the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Today no Prime Minister and MPs who cheer for Nazis who fought the Soviet Union in World War II will tell us who is or isn't a legitimate resistance movement. Today we are showing that we are all the resistance to occupation and that this is what Canadians stand for.

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 13 - October 2023

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