A voice for the oppressed: Remi Kanazi

Dinah Ramonyai

Remi Kanazi, a Palestinian-American poet, once said “We should be less concerned about hurting the feelings of the oppressors and more concerned about standing in solidarity with the oppressed.”

Remi Kanazi is one of the many artists that stand for fighting alongside the Palestinian people in their war for justice. The poetic artist performed at this year’s Sounds of Resistance, an art festival featuring musical arts, writers and poets with the aim of spreading the message of #IAW2018 (Israeli Apartheid Week 2018), an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness of Israel’s settler-colonial project and apartheid system and stand in solidarity with Palestine in the fight again st apartheid and injustice against its people. The concert featured some of the well-known voices in the movement like Benjamin Zephaniah.

Being the son of Palestinian refugees who fled Palestine in search of a haven himself, the fight against oppression is close to home and his heart and the passion comes out in his work like the poem “Layover in Palestine”, found in his latest book. His latest release of work, Before the next bomb drops: Rising up from Brooklyn to Palestine, has received many acclaims and praises for being strikingly honest and eye opening to the issues faced, the book brings to light the on-going struggle of the Palestinian people and touches on racism and the lives of scattered refugees across the world, away from their homes. Kanai doesn’t only focus on the conflict in the East but also covers the racism that is experienced in the United States where he was raised and all the laws created by the United States foreign policies and in what way these laws continue to cause and support Islamophobia and police brutality.

The poet is on tour promoting his latest collection of rhymes and verses throughout the Middle East, Canada, Europe and the United States, a cause laid out to spread the word on the brutality and gruesome reality that Palestinian people continue to live under and call their reality.

Many of the issues that are touched on are ones that South Africa can relate to and sympathise with, having scars of our own as a country, and so this week we celebrate a voice for the voiceless in our continued struggle for equality and justice all around the globe, for all races and backgrounds.

 

Image: Sally Hartzenberg

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