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Utah rally against political repression, and for Rasmea Odeh

By Ian Decker |
November 6, 2014
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Solidarity with Rasmea Odeh in Salt Lake City, Utah
Solidarity with Rasmea Odeh in Salt Lake City, Utah (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Salt Lake City, UT – Fifteen anti-war activists gathered in front of the William F Bennet Federal Building on Nov. 4 to stand in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh. Rasmea Odeh is an Arab American and women's rights activist being targeted by the FBI for her political activism. The U.S. government is attempting to weaken the Palestinian solidarity and anti-war movements. People protested across the country on the opening day of Rasmea Odeh’s trial in Detroit, including in Salt Lake City.

Protestors Chanted Slogans like “DOJ, lets be clear! Rasmea is welcome here!” to show their solidarity. Alyssa Ferris of the Revolutionary Students Union spoke at the rally, “It is vital that activists have solidarity with each other. An injury to one is an injury to all. Rasmea is being targeted because of her activism, and they could do the same to us at any time.”

Sammah Safiullah, a local student activist, explained why she attended the protest, “I believe that it’s incredibly important for people to understand the injustice behind erasing the stories of immigrants, Palestinians, and women. ” Safiullah explained that Judge Drain ruled Rasmea Odeh is not allowed to testify about her experience of torture, rape, and abuse in Israeli military prisons. “Rasmea worked for the justice of immigrants and women, and deserves for her voice to be heard, she is being silenced. What happened to her is terrifying and both Israel and the US need to be held accountable for their actions and for the havoc they wreaked on her body and mind.”

The next speaker, Muna Omar, is Jordanian born, but grew up in the U.S. She spoke about the FBI raiding her father on flimsy charges of supporting terrorism. The media frenzy drove the family from their home. The local news printed misidentified photos of family members, making false claims about Muslim women. Speaking of her experiences, Omar said, “You may think you're American, but to the FBI and this system, you are not.”

Gregory Lucero of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization spoke against war and repression, “These bankers, bosses, and investors always need more. These vampires will try and sink their fangs where ever they can, from Colombia to Palestine.” He explained that the people's resistance in these places made it difficult for the system to continue. Moreover, people in the U.S. are growing tired of this system. The U.S. government response is to increase political repression. Lucero stated, “They're scared that people are rising up, so they're trying to use political repression to keep us scared, but we're not going to take it.” He closed the rally by leading the crowd in chanting, “When Rasmea Odeh is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”