People of Fresno Speak Out 

People of Fresno Speak Out 
Protestors gather in Fresno to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. Photo by Bob McCloskey

On Nov. 11, several hundred people rallied at the corner of Blackstone and Nees avenues in Fresno calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s continuing war on Gaza. It was a diverse crowd with people of all ages.

“The U.S. should not be funding this war; it’s colonization in 2023,” said Lethal Garcia of Fresno. “The Western media is paid off by big government to [portray it] as a Hamas-Israel [conflict]. Palestinians need to fight back.”

Her 13-year-old son Benicio said that “Palestine needs to be free; it’s not right [that] we’re sending money to support [the war]. Free Palestine!”

Katie Myers, also a Fresno resident, said, “I’m out here to support the people of Palestine, to stop the genocide, to stop the bombings of schools, churches and hospitals. These are war crimes.”

Her husband Jason said that “it’s time to stop the killing of innocent people.”

“We need to put in more effort and speak up for what’s right,” noted Anisa, another demonstrator. Her friend Yossra said that “our money should not be used for killing innocent people.” Both said they have e-mailed their Congressional members.

Mohsin, who was holding a large flag of Palestine, said that “there should not be double standards. Israel should be held accountable. What’s going on is also bad for Israelis.

“We need a ceasefire now and a long-term solution.”

As for Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer’s castigation of pro-Palestine supporters as “unpatriotic,” Mohsin said, “We’re the most patriotic. Protesting and exercising our First Amendment rights is patriotic.”

Regarding the mayor’s unbridled support of Israel and the raising of the Israeli flag, a young man named Shahid said, “It’s not shocking. He’s a Christian Zionist that believes in it.

“When he was police chief, he trained with the Israeli Defense Forces. What do you expect from such a person?”

A young woman named Rania said that the “Palestinians deserve human rights. This is a humanitarian issue. There is genocide and war crimes going on in Gaza and the West Bank.”

“I’m a human and I respect the sanctity of all human life,” noted Marisol Coronado, a registered nurse. “There’s a massacre and genocide happening. We all need to step in and step up to stop it.”

Asked about the fact that only 24 members of Congress are calling for a ceasefire, Coronado said that “there’s corruption and special interests in Congress. They don’t stand with their constituents. I think an overwhelming number of people are demanding a ceasefire.”

Zaid, at eight years old one of the youngest attendees at the demonstration, said, “My great grandfather had a farm in Palestine, but sadly Israel took it in 1948. In 1948, they did not have a home.

“Palestine shared the land with Israel. Then, they attacked Palestine and tried to make the whole country theirs. Now the Palestinians want to get their land back.”

As of this writing, more than 11,100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Although there is no breakdown between fighters and civilians, most of the dead are women and children (4,600 children) in just a little more than a month of war. That amounts to above 0.5% of Gaza’s more than 2 million people.

It’s time for an immediate ceasefire.

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