2007 International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Statement of Arab Solidarity

Arab Resource and Organizing Center
Date Published: 
September 1, 2007
Statement of Arab Solidarity:
We, as Arabs, write in unity with our Black allies who continue to struggle for justice, restitution, and self-determination across the Gulf Coast and the US. As the local and federal governments persist in a violent and criminal neglect of the Gulf Coast and its displaced residents across the US, billions of tax dollars continue to be invested in the illegal occupation and genocide of Iraq and Palestine. We understand these attacks on Black and Arab communities as parallel and interdependent, and understand that our perpetrators and struggles are mutual.


In the past few years alone, over 170 billion US dollars have been spent on the war on Iraq, the Zionist project geared to the destruction of Palestinians, and the War on Lebanon, while the people of New Orleans struggle to maintain basic rights to schools for their children, jobs and housing for their families, and the basic means to return back home since the government’s failure in Hurricane Katrina. FEMA and the Red Cross continue to withhold resources that could re-unite families and communities. Meanwhile authorities enforce the closure on over 5000 functional public housing units amidst a dire crisis in affordable housing in which the rent has quadrupled throughout the city, and New Orleans has turned into a playground for profit-seeking private developers and tourists at the expense of local families who are still dispersed and struggling, with little support to assist their basic needs and return. We understand this as a direct attack on the return of Black and poor communities most impacted by Katrina, and on the self-determined needs of the local community whose rights are the obligation and responsibility of the US government.

We, as Arabs, know of the struggle for self-determination, and we full-heartedly stand behind the demands of Katrina Survivors, as articulated by the First Survivor’s Assembly in Jackson, Mississippi on December 8th-9th 2005, as well as the demands put forth by the People’s Hurricane Relief Fundwww.peopleshurricane.org. As Gulf Coast residents remain dispersed throughout US cities, we remember and maintain our own struggles to return back home. We uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights insistence on the human right to return back home, and hold the US government directly responsible for ensuring that this is made possible and accessible to all Gulf Coast residents.

We will not shake the images of Black New Orleanian’s being deprived of water and shelter by the Red Cross and National Guard, separated from their families on buses as they were forced to relocate to undisclosed cities after days left starving and neglected, and forced out at gunpoint in a time of crisis and urgency. These scenes are too similar to the scenes of starvation and displacement in Palestine in Iraq. And not surprisingly so, as we understand the US government to be directly responsible for the failure of the levees and the subsequent displacement and destruction of Black and poor communities across the Gulf Coast, just as they are responsible for the deadly occupations of Palestine and Iraq, the division and dispersal of our families, and the depletion of our land, livelihood, and resources. We insist that resources invested in the destruction of Arab communities abroad be redirected back to our homes in the US immediately, and that the US government be held accountable to ALL damages done and ALL reparations due, both here and abroad.

We, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center of the SF Bay Area, fully endorse the demands and actions to hold the US accountable to the Gulf Coast as determined by the International Tribunal on Katrina taking place from August 29th to September 2nd 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana (Katrina Tribunal). We stand in solidarity to demand for a just community-based reconstruction and the right to return for all those still displaced.