“The Quds Day is a universal day. It is not an exclusive day for Quds itself. It is a day for the oppressed to rise and stand up against the arrogant” – Imam Khomeini.
As we march out today in all the major towns and cities chanting ‘Free Palestine, Free Quds”, we are joining several million other marchers all over the world, answering the call of Imam Khomeini of blessed memory, who are out today, the last Friday of Ramadan, to show the global tyranny that we reject their oppression of the oppressed, and to the oppressed to show our solidarity with them that they will never stand alone.
When we say Quds Day, what do we mean? We mean it is a day we stand shoulder to shoulder with all oppressed people in the world against all the oppressors, while we see in Palestine all the world leaders are standing shoulder to shoulder with the oppressors against the Palestinians whilst they are suffering on a daily basis – we do exactly the opposite.
For the Zionists, Palestinian lives have no value. They are able to get away, literally with murder because western regimes, especially the US, support them. This is what happened in Gaza on May 14 when 61 Palestinians, among them six children were murdered in cold blood, the same day as the US ‘ceremony’ to move its embassy was underway in Jerusalem. Nearly 2,700 others were injured, some crippled for life. Israeli Commanders confirmed that soldiers had orders to shoot to kill using live ammunitions on unarmed protesters. Between March 30 and May 14, the Zionist occupiers had already murdered 90 Palestinians and injured thousands of others.
Zionist Israel is an illegitimate entity; it has stolen the land of the Palestinians for settlement by illegal squatters from Europe, Russia and North America. Like the European settlers in North America several centuries earlier, the same mentality is at work in colonized Palestine. The indigenous population has to be slaughtered, terrorized and ethnically cleansed to make room for the marauders. This is being crowned by taking over Jerusalem to convey the message that the Palestinians have been totally defeated.
While we can highlight Zionist barbarism and complain about Western hypocrisy, what about the Muslim rulers, especially those in the Muslim East? Why have they adopted a deathly silence in the face of such crimes? Muslims must be clear that these regimes are the root cause of their problems. They are illegitimate and oppressive, but most importantly, cowardly. They are agents of imperialism and Zionism. Unless they are removed from power, the prospects of the liberation of Palestine would remain low.
Having said that, as we march peacefully today, we will not forget the 34 citizens murdered by the Nigerian army led by Major Okah, who were on a similar peaceful Quds day marches in Zaria in June 2014. We will not rest on our oars until and unless justice is done to the victims, among whom are three children of Sheikh Zakzaky and a Christian Igbo sympathizer to the Palestinian cause. Major Okah and his fellow murderers in Nigerian army uniform must be brought to book and answer their crimes in a competent court of the land.
In fact this murder of innocent citizens by the Nigerian Army in June 2014 is the beginning of the plot to exterminate the Islamic Movement, which was carried out to its ruthless conclusion by the same Nigerian Army in December, 2015 led by no other than the Chief of Army Staff in person. The two gruesome episodes are inseparable.
It’s unfortunate that even as the federal government has refused to obey the order of a federal high court in Abuja freeing Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife almost two years ago, the Kaduna state government has now arraigned him in another court on spurious charges that include a murder charge. This only goes on to confirm what the Saudi crown prince recently admitted that a contract to clampdown on the Islamic Movement in Nigeria has been a success by over 95%.
That is why today as we chant ‘Free Palestine’ we also chant ‘Free Zakzaky’ who is the embodiment of all the over a thousand victims massacred by the Nigerian government through its army and buried in mass graves. At the same time we demand freedom for the hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement languishing in various detention centres since the December 2015 pogrom. Oppression against one, is oppression against all.
SHEIKH ABDULHAMID BELLO ZARIA