November 13, 2023

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Public Commenters (14 min)
Rasmia Alnadi  Basma Hamid  Lucas Waggoner  Alec Popivker  Sarah Gammone Popivker  Dontez Taylor 

Rasmia Alnadi

You proclaimed, 'Cleveland stands with Israel'. What a fib, Mayor Bibb, has a cute ring to it.

What more can we say? What new information can I provide to you that could potentially push forth action? What have my brothers and sisters so confidently and admirably presented to you that I could supplement? Am I to reiterate the danger of rhetoric being used to dehumanize my people, or reiterate the adjacent consequence of hate crimes carried out these past four weeks in Cleveland? In the United States of America, where according to CAIR we've seen a 216% increase compared to last year? Or am I to reiterate the solidarity between us Palestinians alongside the black community, whom may I remind you, Mayor Bibb, that you are a part of, to reiterate the oneness in our struggles against an apartheid state? Am I to reiterate the personal interest and gains tied between your campaign and Israel? Is this new information? We have appealed to your logos and your ethos, we have presented fact upon fact, so you leave me with no choice but to appeal to your pathos, to your emotion, to your humanity, human to human. Maybe somewhere deep deep deep down, it exists.

Literature and resistance go hand in hand so I present to you none other than my poem. For context, 'ah ya albi' translates to 'oh my heart'.

'Ah ya albi I say after seeing fragments of a martyr's flesh intertwined into what seemed to be an outfit. Ah ya albi, my people are more than just a target. Ah ya albi, Israel continues to upscale. Ah ya albi I can't handle this. I admit I don't get it, but who am I to quit. Ah ya albi, this is the last place to forfeit. Ah ya albi Mayor Bibb, you are none other than a hypocrite. Ah ya albi roughly 4,609 children killed as of today. Ah ya albi praise be to God the Gazans who have been left with nothing, shout out and say ah ya albi, how many kids were you in charge of killing today.'

Now I would like to end this by quoting a Palestinian poet Marwan Makhoul: 'In order for me to write poetry that isn't political, I must listen to the birds. In order to listen to the birds, the war planes must fall silent.'

Thank you for nothing.

2:37 Permalink

Basma Hamid

As-salamu alaykum. I'm wondering if you have the courage to look at yourselves in the mirror and ask the following questions - what are the negative decisions that I have made throughout my life to participate in destroying humankind, by slaughtering infants in incubators, throwing bombs on hospitals, schools, churches, mosques, cemeteries, taking the lives of innocent journalists every day, and their families, including Shireen Abu Akleh, and more, and more, every single day. What are the positive decisions that I have made throughout my life to help make this world a better place to live?

I was born in Palestine and now, alhamdulillah, I am 69 years old and would love to retire in my homeland. And that is impossible for me, and my family cannot visit Palestine because of the genocide being practiced in Palestine and Gaza by the Zionist regime for the past 75 years.

You don't have to be a Palestinian, you just have to be human with a heart to stand up for the truth. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

1:26 Permalink

Lucas Waggoner

Three weeks. Three weeks in a row the people of Cleveland came here to tell you to speak out against the genocide of the Palestinian people, to call for a ceasefire, and to end aid to the terrorist Zionist occupation. And for three weeks you have ignored your own constituents. The Palestinians of Gaza are still being mercilessly slaughtered through American funding, American arms, and now reports are showing American troops on the ground.

This is another genocide of America's making. You've seen the protests in this streets, and you know your decisions are not aligned with the people of Cleveland. And quite honestly, I'm sure you've all seen the protests globally. The world stands with Palestine, even as people in positions of power, especially in the west, remain complicit. I'm not surprised that a nation built through the genocide of indigenous peoples would be showing solidarity with another settler state, but I'm disgusted and I'm enraged, and the people of Cleveland are enraged. How much blood do you need on your hands before you call for a ceasefire? I've watched as the IDF has bombed bakeries, ambulances, hospitals, homes, and people fleeing down routes they were promised were safe. The genocide and ethnic cleansing are being recorded. None of this is hidden, and yet you are choosing to turn your head.

History is being written as we speak. Our choices here and now are being recorded. History will not absolve those who support genocide and ethnic cleansing. History will not absolve those who prop up fascist military occupations, and history certainly won't absolve those who choose money in positions of power over justice. So do you stand with Palestine or are you going to continue to stand with genocide? Thank you.

1:30 Permalink

Alec Popivker

Good evening, members of the council, fellow Clevelanders. I'd like to start with a prayer for American soldiers and for the soldiers of the IDF defending our love of democracy and freedom that unfortunately has not yet come to the rest of the Middle East.

[commenter reads prayer in Hebrew]

Jewish people are an ancient nation. According to our tradition there would be four major exiles, the Egyptian, Babylonian, Roman, and Ishmaelites. In Sahih al-Bukhari, it's a oral tradition of Islam, it says that you know the Judgment Day has come when Muslims kill the Jews. Even behind the rocks they hiding, the rock will say, 'come and kill this Jew.' So I'd like to say that according to Islam, the Judgment Day has come, and I think it's time for us to make a judgment call.

We have organizations here led by Abbas Hamideh, a leader who seems like a nice person to his followers, but he dehumanizes the Jewish people. He tells my family we should go back to Poland, we're not the real Jews, we are from Brooklyn, and he teaches these kids to hate Jewish people, to hate Israel. This propaganda is spread not only in schools where my children learn, they see it in YouTube videos attached by teachers, they go to college and they see professors propagating this kind of propaganda in colleges, I see lawyers being hired from all these universities here who openly spread this kind of propaganda. The media sweeps under the rock incidents of anti-Semitism that go on at local universities. And here, there was swastikas at a Jewish cemetery in Cleveland a few days ago, but I didn't see the media talk about it.

3:01 Permalink

Sarah Gammone Popivker

Over the past few years local college campuses have silently witnessed the growth of several pro-Palestinian student groups which regularly host events, post on social media, and organize protests with these anti-semitic, slanderous slogans, 'from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free', which means that Israel should be erased from the map. 'There's no such thing as an innocent Zionist,' 'Jews don't belong to the Middle East', 'Israel is an illegitimate state', 'Jews should go back to Poland', etc. etc.

Just a couple of days after the massacre by the hands of Hamas in the beginning of October, these student groups and other local organizations like Al Awda put together a protest in the center of Cleveland during which the speakers, while glorifying the martyrs that carried out the massacre and murdered, raped, and kidnapped hundreds of Israelis, including babies. 'You should be proud of the achievements of the Palestinian resistance,' one of the organizers shouted into his loud speaker.

As a mother of college- age children, I am deeply concerned by the thriving of these groups, and by the fact that nothing is being done to stop the spread of their hateful messages. I know that in other states such groups have been shut down or prohibited from spreading such terrorism-inciting propaganda.

I am asking you, Mr. Mayor, esteemed members of the City Council, to take prompt measures to stop these groups from polluting our youths with such dangerous forms of hate. Shalom aleichem.

1:37 Permalink

Dontez Taylor

I would like to know what Council is going to do with our Juvenile Detention Center, by bringing in a conversion program, to teach our kids schooling and everything else, in our detention center down there on Quincy. And what can we do to start, to get these programs started, so when they come out of the detention center, they can be okay, they can be reconverted back out to our community and everything else. And our kids that are in our Child and Family Services, we need to know what can we do to relate them to out here in our community today.

1:08 Permalink