Remi Kanazi is a poet and writer based in New York City. He recently wrote Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up From Brooklyn to Palestine, a collection of poems about political issues in Palestine. He is also the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine. His commentary has been featured by news outlets like: BBC Radio, Jazeera English, and Salon. He has also appeared in the Palestine Festival of Literature as well as Poetry International. In addition to that, he is an Advisory Committee member for the Palestine Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
In my personal favorite poem by Remi Kanazi, An Empty Vessel, he speaks of a world with “no more gruesome images” and how we as a society are “immersed in the theatre of death”. His words create a vivid image of where we are versus where we need to be. Living in an industrialized society has allowed me to experience the feeling of being as Remi puts it, “an empty vessel striding through a sea of blood”. How I look at this sentence may be different than how it is meant to be interpreted. I see industrialized people living the lives that society wants, going along with the rest of the world. Their opinions are conceptualized by the ever growing population of a group-think concept. We as a whole are working in a hierarchy system to always be on top, but in my opinion, We just need to work together. This hierarchy system has been seen in many cultures and our industrialized hierarchy is no different. Hierarchy is a type of controllable structure in which items, in this case races, are ranked according to levels of importance. In a corporate environment, like the US, hierarchies thrive on structure, rules, and top to bottom control to guide the lower ranks. An adherence to identified best practices, controlled processes and considerable oversight are considered essential to productivity and success in this society.
“I am above the petty bullshit”. Those are the first words that I heard Remi Kanazi say as I walked into the Gorge on November 17th. I know people work hard to protect causes that they love but I’ve never seen it. Looking online at articles or diagrams is helpful, but hearing the actual stories of the fifty one day massacre in Gaza where 1.8 million Palestinians died is so much more moving. Actually being able to see the power behind his words was unreal. A piece of advice, “Movements move” that’s what Kanazi was trying to explain. It’s not the idea or the will to believe in a cause, the people that actually act and have the willpower to make a difference and take action are the ones that make changes in what Remi calls, “the theatre of death.” People rely on policies alone to fix issues, but it seems that not everyone is happy with the results. Individuals are capable of solving small parts but can never find a true solution. Everyday it seems people are industrializing food systems and treating others as part of a production rather than as a living human being. It’s about time for people to reevaluate the way in which we look at the human system.
So how do we solve this problem? Stop looking at individual’s lives as statistics. Instead of listing numbers and comparing to other “better” countries, work together to protect the lives of all. The norm in news articles leads death to become desensitized and often forgettable. But we should not forget about the 1.8 million Palestinians who died in the Gaza massacre in 2014 or the 1.3 million lives lost to US-led War on Terror. It’s time to get rid of oppressed or oppressor and just be us.