Anonymous report-back originally published by It’s Going Down on 12.30.19
On Sunday, December 27th, 2019 a group of queer anarchist Jews and loving co-conspirators dropped a banner in so-called Pittsburgh in solidarity with those facing anti-Semitic violence in Monsey, Brooklyn, Jersey City and across the country.
Below is a reportback:
“We Will Outlive Them,” the banner announced to the cars heading down Bigelow Blvd. We watched as the spray painted words billowed throughout the night and into the next day. Together we declared; we will claim our space, our anger, our voice even amidst the fear.
“Mir Velen Zay Iberlebn!”
“We will out live them!” The banner echoes the words sung in protest by Jews captured in their town square in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe. “Sing us a song,” the Nazis commanded the corralled Jews in an attempt to humiliate them in their final moments. But they sang in triumph, in grief, in love for one another. “We will outlive them,” while death stared them down. Their words became blessed flames, strong enough to light fires of rebellion today.
But our hearts are breaking.
Across the US our Jewish community is bracing for a new wave of anti-Semitic violence that feels so familiar. Our hands are beginning to move like the hands of our great-grandparents. Those sweating palms that slammed shutters closed as Pogroms tore through their villages. The jumpy fingers that locked doors, wondering if it would soon be time to leave again.
We look out to our non-Jewish comrades and ask: will you have our backs?
We ask you to listen to us and hear our fear. Will you stand against anti-Semitism that happens to any Jewish person? Will you learn about anti-Semitism and understand its unique ways of working? We ask you to honor our own ability to fight back while joining us in our song and protest, our joy and grief.
We ask you to not look away.
As we walked up Pittsburgh’s winding hills, the banner to our backs, a comrade reminded us, “We are so powerful and beautiful together.”
We returned home to light Chanukah candles and sing and pray. It is in practicing persecuted rituals and small acts of resistance like this that we will continue to survive. We burned eight candles and watched as they turned to smoke on this final night of Chanukah.
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