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Ta-Nehisi Coates Speaks Out Against Israel’s “Segregationist Apartheid Regime” After West Bank Visit

Author: Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, interview Ta-nehisi Coates

Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, interview Ta-Nehisi Coates “Ta-Nehisi Coates on Visiting Palestine: ‘I Immediately Understood What Was Going On.’” Democracy Now!, 2 Nov. 2023, www.democracynow.org/2023/11/2/ta_nehisi_coates.


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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
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AMY GOODMAN: As pressure builds for a ceasefire after 27 days of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, we spend the rest of the hour with the acclaimed author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. This summer, he spoke at a literary festival in the West Bank that connected the Palestinian struggle with decolonization struggles around the world. In Ramallah, he opened his remarks with a comparison between the struggle of African Americans and Palestinians.

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In recent weeks, Coates joined dozens of other writers and artists in signing “An Open Letter from Participants in the Palestine Festival of Literature,” that was published in The New York Review of Books and called for, quote, “the international community to commit to ending the catastrophe unfolding in Gaza and to finally pursuing a comprehensive and just political solution in Palestine.”

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AMY GOODMAN: Last night, Ta-Nehisi Coates participated in another event hosted by organizers of the Palestine Festival of Literature, or PalFest, in the James Chapel at Union Theological Seminary here in New York City. It was called “But We Must Speak: On Palestine and the Mandates of Conscience.”

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Ta-Nehisi is the recipient of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and the recipient of numerous prizes, including the National Book Award for his book Between the World and Me. We Were Eight Years in Power is another book, An American Tragedy, and his memoir, The Beautiful Struggle. His novel is titled The Water Dancer. In 2014, he wrote an award-winning cover story for The Atlantic magazine headlined “The Case for Reparations.”

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Ta-Nehisi, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us, under extremely difficult circumstances. Last night, this remarkable event almost didn’t happen. I mean, it was in the James Chapel of Union Theological Seminary, but venue after venue had said no to this gathering. And without almost any publicity, well over a thousand people turned out, but the place only held 300, so people went over across the street to another place of 300, overcrowd, overflow, and then thousands watched on the live video stream. Can you talk about your experience being in the West Bank, going to the Occupied Territories, and how it changed you?

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TA-NEHISI COATES: Oh wow. I spent 10 days in Palestine, in the Occupied Territories and in Israel proper. I’ve had the great luxury over the past 10 years of seeing a few countries. I have not spent more time or seen more of another country or another territory than I did this summer.

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Nov 30
Michael M Michael M (Nov 30 2023 5:55PM) : reply 1 more

The fact that coach has actually lived and experienced first hand what its like to live in those areas gives his statements a little bit more validity, because of the first hand experience.

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Dec 1
Jala A Jala A (Dec 01 2023 12:22AM) : Reply more

I agree with him that this situation is not as complicated or polarizing as people make it out to be. Yes, there is propaganda, yes, there is misinformation and complex history. However, it does not take a historian to understand the injustice that comes with colonization and oppression. No matter how uninformed you are or how ‘difficult’ you might make the situation out to be, you can easily connect it to other events that you know more about and be able to tell what is right and wrong.

People will say, “People on both sides are dying,” but do not understand that the deaths on the Palestinian side are much worse and that it is difficult to be neutral when one side is actively violating the human rights of the other. Both sides are not victims, and it does not take much to see that one side is violently the oppressor.

To me, it shows that many people, even adults, lack the media literacy available to dissect this conflict.

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Dec 1
Ronald D Ronald D (Dec 01 2023 2:45AM) : Comment more

I thought that this was interesting that he added this to his “argument” because I think he’s trying to come across as more trustworthy or credible since he’s “lived” through what the people of that country do.

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Dec 1
Masaki D Masaki D (Dec 01 2023 4:57AM) : complexity more

he makes a fair point when talking about how complex this matter is made out to be by media. It does in fact go far back in history, however if one puts some time into the research I think they will find that it is not as intimidatingly complex as the media makes it out to be. I think in a way people are exposed on how much they are willing to research a social topic, when they use this reason to avoid talking about this.
I will say however I think that this is used as a way to avoid showing one’s views, mainly because no matter what you say today, because so many people have gotten involved, it is bound to receive some form of backlash from someone.

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Dec 11
Elijah A Elijah A (Dec 11 2023 2:45PM) : Coates Reply more

I find this statement interesting because it shows he has many perspectives due to the countries he’s been to, which may assist his statement.

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Dec 11
Ricaiya W Ricaiya W (Dec 11 2023 3:58PM) : Comment more

I agree with. If you look at the difference between being on the Israel side and the Palestine side. Isreal has more protein and materials to keep there people safe while the people in Palestine are protecting themself without government help

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Dec 1
Ahmed Al A Ahmed Al A (Dec 01 2023 4:30PM) : Response 1 more

When the interview first started I was very surprised that a writer who obliviously and for good reason prioritizes the African American social issues. So, for him to have the will to go and visit Palestine and on top of that finds ways to support by understanding that this issue has occurred in his own community is very impressive to see. This was a great introduction to him and his work.

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Dec 12
Katelyn C Katelyn C (Dec 12 2023 3:11AM) : It's nice to see that he actually took the time out and went to visit Palestine himself. This way he can be able to have a little more of an open eye as to what's going on.
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Jan 25
Yazeem D Yazeem D (Jan 25 2024 7:52PM) : Response more

I feel that this was a great thing to do especially knowing that he was going to be speaking on the subject because it gives you a closer look and a different perspective.

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I think what shocked me the most was, in any sort of opinion piece or reported piece, or whatever you want to call it, that I’ve read about Israel and about the conflict with the Palestinians, there’s a word that comes up all the time, and it is “complexity,” that and its closely related adjective, “complicated.” And so, while I had my skepticisms and I had my suspicions of the Israeli government, of the occupation, what I expected was that I would find a situation in which it was hard to discern right from wrong, it was hard to understand the morality at play, it was hard to understand the conflict. And perhaps the most shocking thing was I immediately understood what was going on over there.

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Nov 30
Justus M Justus M (Nov 30 2023 6:29PM) : It never was that complicated. more

People are dying. The death of innocents, regardless of who they are or who killed them, is to be condemned. It is not hard to understand that people should not live in fear, be driven from their ancestral home, be denied resources or human rights, yet somehow we still have these arguments for or against ceasefire when no one should have to bleed in the first place.
Why do governments push for things they know are wrong and unjust?

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Dec 1
Javan E Javan E (Dec 01 2023 2:07AM) : reply more

Main reasons why the government does anything. Money and or power

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Nov 30
Jaylin F Jaylin F (Nov 30 2023 7:21PM) : reply more

I don’t think I it truly is as complicated to understand the situation. Many people only say it is because it is a contraversial topic.

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Nov 30
Sabrina P Sabrina P (Nov 30 2023 10:51PM) : Reply 1 more

I agree, the situation is just involving the deaths of hundreds or thousands of innocent people that were just very unfortunately roped into this conflict they likely had nothing to do with. I do think the complexity part comes from the question of “who is right” or “which is the side that people should go with”, though I personally believe this should not the priority

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Nov 30
Hilson L Hilson L (Nov 30 2023 9:42PM) : complexity where? more

I never found this situation to be anywhere near complicated, perhaps I understand and view the content somewhat more or others just have not viewed informational sources upon this topic leading to this being considered as complicated.

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Nov 30
Aniyah K Aniyah K (Nov 30 2023 11:18PM) : Thoughts more

Coates is used to hearing the words, “complexity” and “complicated” but it’s not as it’s “complicated” as it seems to be. He knows what’s goingon andthe injustices that Palestinians face.

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Dec 4
Hakim W Hakim W (Dec 04 2023 5:18PM) : I agree more

I agree, people are making it seem complicated when its simple,Politicians s are trying to grasp at every lead they get to justify what Israel is doing and people are listening when they are just saying the same stuff over and over again

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Nov 30
Carlentz P Carlentz P (Nov 30 2023 11:28PM) : . more

It doesn’t have to be as complicated as they make it seem. People are dying, the citizens are dying so why is it complicated. I get it’s about the land but the people effected shouldn’t be effected

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Dec 1
Ronald D Ronald D (Dec 01 2023 2:50AM) : Comment more

Although the subject is presented to be very white and black is incredibly nuanced due to the history of both nations and how they are linked. Labeling this conflict as simple to understand is almost rude in the sense that you are degrading the hardships that these people have been because both sides have done wrong and it’s very muddied.

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Dec 1
Anya C Anya C (Dec 01 2023 4:34AM) : Reply! more

Exactly! I sometimes get tired of this being a “two sided, everyone has their opinion” type deal, because the disregard and oppression is so blatant that there’s nothing to argue about or debate.

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Dec 1
Bobbi T Bobbi T (Dec 01 2023 4:37AM) : people dying is obviously wrong. more

Personal reasons and propaganda clouds the ability to understand this in people’s minds. The loss of innocent lives is never ok, yet people find a way to justify it on either side in effort of supporting whichever nation their loyalty is to .

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Dec 1
Nazir K Nazir K (Dec 01 2023 5:04AM) : I believe the citizens are the ones the people should sympathize with. I feel as though it shouldn't be a difficult decision.
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Dec 1
Nazir K Nazir K (Dec 01 2023 5:06AM) : The usage of the word "complicated" gives the feeling that they want the general public to be confused which side to feel for.
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Dec 1
Nazir K Nazir K (Dec 01 2023 5:08AM) : I really find it interesting that people find it hard which side to sympathize with.
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Dec 5
Ashiyah C Ashiyah C (Dec 05 2023 1:10AM) : . more

I think the news reporter is making sure to consider both sides of this topic before determining who is right or wrong.

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Dec 7
Kelly-Ann B Kelly-Ann B (Dec 07 2023 8:08PM) : Response 1 more

It was surprising to hear that a black journalist decided to visit Palestine and write about it.

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Dec 8
Jason L Jason L (Dec 08 2023 2:57AM) : Ta-Nehisi more

I don’t believe that it really is complex. Either you support Israel or Palestine. There is no need for all this talk when it’s clear what the problem is.

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Dec 8
Brianna S Brianna S (Dec 08 2023 3:56AM) : Comment more

I think I can understand what he is trying to communicate when he is talking about the news and the information that’s being put out because it can be confusing/complicated for some people since both sides did wrong.

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Dec 8
Ramlah H Ramlah H (Dec 08 2023 2:47PM) : Response more

I understand how this situation could be seen as complex, but as complicated or hard to understand, I can’t. Because we’ve learned what’s right from wrong ever since we were children. I believe anyone with the right morals, can see who’s clearly wrong in this entire
“conflict”.

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Dec 8
Savier T Savier T (Dec 08 2023 3:25PM) : I think the decision should not be that hard to make and the citizens should support their decision.
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Dec 8
Savier T Savier T (Dec 08 2023 3:26PM) : Based on certain words they used such as the word difficult. It seemed like they wanted citizens to struggle on what to pick.
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Dec 8
Savier T Savier T (Dec 08 2023 3:27PM) : I think the decision should be really easy to make and it messes with me knowing that people really struggle on what to pick.
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Dec 11
Elijah A Elijah A (Dec 11 2023 2:50PM) : Coates reply more

I find that the “complexity” that people like to make as of not understanding the topic is just due to the controversy surrounding it

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Jan 4
Sophia C Sophia C (Jan 04 2024 1:17AM) : Reply more

They make it more complicated than what it should be at the end of the day people are dying from both sides neither countries are gaining anything their in fact losing more.

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Jan 26
Angel I Angel I (Jan 26 2024 5:16PM) : Very more

It is a complicated situation since even if you express a somewhat different view on the conflict you are likely to be dismissed as a supporter of the IDF

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Nov 30
Dutch B Dutch B (Nov 30 2023 2:41PM) : The use of the word complicated. more

I feel as though the use of the word complicated is to keep the general population out of the mix. The best way to control a population is to keep them uninformed and show them what you want to show them.

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Nov 30
Maxine M Maxine M (Nov 30 2023 8:24PM) : I agree. more

When I first found out about this situation, it was the consistent referring to it as complicated or complex that initially made me not want to look into it, and I was horrified when I had it actually explained to me. Exaggerating or underlining the complexity of the situation is absolutely something that turns many people away from being informed and I don’t doubt that it’s been done purposefully by several entities.

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Dec 6
Katelyn C Katelyn C (Dec 06 2023 3:41AM) : comment more

I don’t necessarily see the issue to be complicated, you can clearly see the oppressed and who’s the oppressor. Personally, I onl find it a little confusing because I don’t understand some of the vocabulary or the language that is being used by the people explaining the situation.

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Dec 7
Naleyah W Naleyah W (Dec 07 2023 7:25PM) : reply 1 more

I see what Coates is talking about, when looking at the media and trying to gain information on this conflict, you see a lot of the news talking about how “complicated” the situation is but the more you find out on your own the clearer the situation becomes.

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Dec 19
Chimdiadi N Chimdiadi N (Dec 19 2023 3:32AM) : Comment 1 more

I appreciate the publicity of his standpoint on political matters, most people fear causing conflict, but he is quick to just accept it an accept it and say his truth

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Dec 1
Muhaimin H Muhaimin H (Dec 01 2023 3:45AM) : Coates, the conflict in Gaza more

For me the conflict over the land isn’t actually too hard to understand. The Palestinian people experienced gentrification after 1948 (the British Mandate) where Cities in Israel Haifa, Akko and Jaffa with various industries in agriculture and trade. The gentrification affected Palestinian’s in many negative ways since they lost all of their property and way of to Zionists. My question is, so if there was strong evidence of cultural activity of the Arab people,then why do the Zionists want to make a Jewish state there? It would only make sense to give the land and rights back to the Palestinian people because they were completely displaced and lost significance of their way of life.

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Nov 30
Anton H Anton H (Nov 30 2023 4:08PM) : This was weird to me more

People said that it was hard to pick a side because it was “complicated”, but it’s not. People are dying on both sides and one side is denying another their freedom. It’s pretty much as simple as that. The governments on both sides are bad and I think we should be sending regards to the civilians.

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Nov 30
Maxine M Maxine M (Nov 30 2023 8:35PM) : Absolutely. more

Perhaps the most frustrating part (for me) of expressing any opinion on this issue is the tendency of many to jump to conclusions or associate a part with the whole. In the eyes of many, you’re either supporting Hamas or you’re supporting the Israeli government. Even when it’s been explicitly stated that someone supports Palestinian citizens, for example, it’s extremely likely that there will be people accusing them of being antisemitic, of supporting Hamas, of spreading or being brainwashed by “terrorist propaganda,” etc. It goes the other way, too. I’ve seen people being called genociders for supporting innocent Israeli victims because some will assume they support Israel’s government or what is being done to Palestinians. It’s a very clear example of polarization, of the need to “pick a side.” I agree that we should be on the side of the innocent civilians being caught up in this conflict, no matter where they are, and that this shouldn’t be seen as controversial.

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Dec 4
Hakim W Hakim W (Dec 04 2023 5:21PM) : Picking a side more

I think the complexity of “Picking a side” isn’t the real issue. I think people who are “stuck” in between side with Israel but are too scared to share because of the consequences of having a different opinion then everyone else

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Dec 8
Brandon B Brandon B (Dec 08 2023 5:45AM) : reply more

I agree because both sides are doing the same thing just for different reasons. Killing is killing regardless, but innocent people from both sides should get recognition

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Nov 30
Daniel F Daniel F (Nov 30 2023 8:07PM) : shocking? more

“I immediately understood what was going on” this shows how simple the problem is according to his first hand experience.

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Dec 1
Javan E Javan E (Dec 01 2023 2:16AM) : Complex more

If it is as complex as people say it is then how did he understand it?

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Jan 26
Khamaal A Khamaal A (Jan 26 2024 7:47PM) : Response more

I find it interesting that he says he immediately understood what was going on since anyone who listens to this topic and both sides can understand that one is under heavy oppression while the other is the opressor

Probably the best example I can think of is the second day, when we went to Hebron, and the reality of the occupation became clear. We were driving out of East Jerusalem. I was with PalFest, and we were driving out of East Jerusalem into the West Bank. And, you know, you could see the settlements, and they would point out the settlements. And it suddenly dawned on me that I was in a region of the world where some people could vote and some people could not. And that was obviously very, very familiar to me. I got to Hebron, and we got out as a group of writers, and we were given a tour by our Palestinian guide. And we got to a certain street, and he said to us, “I can’t walk down this street. If you want to continue, you have to continue without me.” And that was shocking to me.

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Nov 30
Kayla R Kayla R (Nov 30 2023 9:30AM) : The example that Coates gave about the general situation of Palestinians really sets the truth of that part of the world's morals and how different cultures, generally are taught and told from their/surrounding gov'ts towards clear narratives they want.
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Dec 1
Ramadhany J Ramadhany J (Dec 01 2023 2:28PM) : Para. 11 more

This experience is very eye-opening. It shows how Palestinians do not have the same rights as their Israeli counterparts. The fact that stuff like this can go on unchallenged by any major Western power is sad. You would think countries that preach freedom would call Israel out but instead, they show support for Israel instead. Shows the hypocrisy within many of these nations.

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Dec 7
Brandon B Brandon B (Dec 07 2023 10:47PM) : reply more

The system is corrupted why hypoctritical opinions are allowed and not questioned. They preach freedom to hold a high reputation.

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Dec 4
Khamaal A Khamaal A (Dec 04 2023 2:38AM) : reply more

His statements bring into light the comparisons of Us and the Middle East

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Dec 11
Elijah A Elijah A (Dec 11 2023 8:00AM) : Coates reply more

I find this statement interesting because as he has experience in Palestine and Israel it contradicts many statements about how some people claim Israel has no power over Gaza or the west bank.

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Jan 25
Yazeem D Yazeem D (Jan 25 2024 12:54PM) : Response more

I feel he speaks many things that others were more so scared to say because many other people wouldn’t be as outgoing when giving their opinion.

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Dec 1
Bobbi T Bobbi T (Dec 01 2023 4:32AM) : Inhuman and discriminatory more

As a country, we have supposedly learned from the history of jim crow and slavery, only to support the perpetrators of the modern-day recreation of it in the gaza strip.

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Dec 6
Naomi M Naomi M (Dec 06 2023 6:17PM) : reply more

this shows how much control Israel has over Gaza

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Nov 30
Daniel F Daniel F (Nov 30 2023 8:30PM) : Very familiar to me? more

This was what happened before the civil rights movement in the US

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Dec 1
Nyiem C Nyiem C (Dec 01 2023 2:44AM) : Comment more

It shows how it is the same in the middle east compared to the US and its past.

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Dec 4
Zhaki A Zhaki A (Dec 04 2023 2:35AM) : Comment more

Tanehesi makes a comparison of the reaccuring cycle that happens to oppressed groups of people

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Dec 4
Zhaki A Zhaki A (Dec 04 2023 2:37AM) : Comment #2 more

Later on in the text tanehesi illustrates through his reaction with an Israeli soldier how important it is to have a religion especially a religion that is looked foreign upon in foreign countries. I believe that this isn’t how certain countries should operate

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Jan 25
Yazeem D Yazeem D (Jan 25 2024 7:55PM) : Response more

This connects to cycles we have had here in the U.S where a certain group of people were oppressed.

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Jan 26
Angel I Angel I (Jan 26 2024 5:18PM) : A lot more

There are a lot of similarities to other conflicts in this one and this isn’t the first or the last time that something lie this will happen

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Dec 1
Anya C Anya C (Dec 01 2023 4:40AM) : Segregation more

I remember hearing about things like this. It’s crazy to me that anyone is capable of not seeing the serious segregationist, racist, and Islamophobic rhetoric of the Israeli government. They say “ANTISEMITISM, NAZISM, JEWISH HATE” whenever they’re called out and people will believe them but they can straight up restrict rights from Palestinians and make their prejudices known and some people will deny it.

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Dec 7
Naleyah W Naleyah W (Dec 07 2023 7:29PM) : reply 2 [Edited] more

The fact that as a tour guide you can’t even give people a full tour of the area because of how heavily they enforced restricting Palestinians from being able to go wherever they choose freely is crazy to me. It shows just how deeply this situation runs.

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And we walked down the street, and we came back, and there was a market area. Hebron is very, very poor. It wasn’t always very poor, but it’s very, very poor. Its market area has been shut down. But there are a few vendors there that I wanted to support. And I was walking to try to get to the vendor, and I was stopped at a checkpoint. Checkpoints all through the city, checkpoints obviously all through the West Bank. Your mobility is completely inhibited, and the mobility of the Palestinians is totally inhibited.

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Nov 30
Dreanna L Dreanna L (Nov 30 2023 11:01PM) : I believe that living in a city with checkpoints everywhere is not fair and very restricting. The Palestinians that have to go through this must free trapped but to think that some are used to it or raised with it is worse.
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And I was walking to the checkpoint, and an Israeli guard stepped out, probably about the age of my son. And he said to me, “What’s your religion, bro?” And I said, “Well, you know, I’m not really religious.” And he said, “Come on. Stop messing around. What is your religion?” I said, “I’m not playing. I’m not really religious.” And it became clear to me that unless I professed my religion, and the right religion, I wasn’t going to be allowed to walk forward. So, he said, “Well, OK, so what was your parents’ religion?” I said, “Well, they weren’t that religious, either.” He says, “What were your grandparents’ religion?” And I said, “My grandmother was a Christian.” And then he allowed me to pass.

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Nov 30
Jachym W Jachym W (Nov 30 2023 2:42PM) : It Is Interesting how people are interogated about their religon just to pass through to a market
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Nov 30
Nya H Nya H (Nov 30 2023 4:29PM) : I wonder what they would have done to him if he stated the wrong religion. Would they have let him walk away, assault him, etc. Knowing that he had a Palestinian guide, how would they have handled that situation?
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Nov 30
Anaya C Anaya C (Nov 30 2023 4:29PM) : Religion- more

I think that it was interesting how religion was one of their determining factors if he was allowed to pass or not. It was interesting to see how determined the guard was to get him to pick a religion.

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Nov 30
Jaylin F Jaylin F (Nov 30 2023 4:34PM) : Reply more

It interesting how much religion is important in other countries that aren’t my own.

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Nov 30
Sabrina P Sabrina P (Nov 30 2023 11:01PM) : Reply 2 more

I don’t get why religion had to be involved in this, religion is something that people can believe in and celebrate, or simply not believe in, it’s just the individual’s choice. The fact that what someone believes in is involved in this is unsettling

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Nov 30
Aniyah K Aniyah K (Nov 30 2023 11:26PM) : Response more

Even tourists are being interrogated by the Israeli occupation. Religion is one of the strongest determinators in freedom of movement and passageway. Why if his grandmother was Muslim,then what would they have done to him?

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Nov 30
Carlentz P Carlentz P (Nov 30 2023 11:31PM) : . more

being questioned heavily on religion is crazy, it seems like religious warfare in this context when it is more political than religious anymore

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Dec 1
Arafat H Arafat H (Dec 01 2023 1:45AM) : Reply #1 Ta-Nehisi more

I find this very unaccommodating, especially when you are asking people what kind of religion they have, and forcing them to answer gives off an unpleasing feeling, even from just reading about it. It is similar to when TSA asks questions about the things you have in your bag in the airport, but in this case, it was religion. I don’t find it necessary to know what kind of religion people would have since it’s not likely for someone to be dangerous because of their religion nowadays. If he truly said a different type of religion, I don’t know what would happen to the person.

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Dec 1
Javan E Javan E (Dec 01 2023 2:19AM) : Religion more

We can see how he tried to avoid the question but the guy kept pestering him about it.

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Dec 1
Bidia G Bidia G (Dec 01 2023 2:34AM) : the fact that they have idf soldiers that are as young as coates's son is insane because imagine how old the people are that were bombing Gaza in the first place
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Dec 1
Bidia G Bidia G (Dec 01 2023 2:38AM) : generations more

because he said that his grandparents are Christian while he doesn’t even practice Christianity himself is very confusing to me

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Dec 1
Ronald D Ronald D (Dec 01 2023 2:54AM) : Comment more

Although quite possible for this to happen it’s very surprising to realize how narrow-minded or blind someone is to certain subjects, the young man couldn’t fathom that someone is non-religious.

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Dec 1
Jennifer V Jennifer V (Dec 01 2023 4:04AM) : Religion more

I believe that religion is very central in this conflict. Coates connection to Christianity, though distant, was enough to get the Israeli guard to let him through. Discrimination based on religion seems to very common in Israel.

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Dec 1
Imani R Imani R (Dec 01 2023 4:38AM) : It's interesting to find that certain places were totally inhibited to Palestinians and visitors such as Coates were forced to reveal their religion just to pass through. I can tell that religion plays a huge role in this conflict. [Edited]
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Dec 1
Selena R Selena R (Dec 01 2023 8:40PM) : reply more

yes i agree It is noteworthy to discover that specific locations were completely off-limits to Palestinians and outsiders, like Coates, who had to disclose their religious affiliation in order to gain entry. It is evident that religion plays a significant part in this ongoing conflict.

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Dec 1
Masaki D Masaki D (Dec 01 2023 5:17AM) : Religion more

Religion is a very personal thing that people hold close to them because of personal experiences and such, and the fact that Israel is able to use this as a tool against certain groups of people is very sickening and sad.

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Dec 8
Brandon B Brandon B (Dec 08 2023 5:48AM) : reply more

Yes its sad but coming from Israel’s point of view, its used as a tactic

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Dec 1
Ramadhany J Ramadhany J (Dec 01 2023 2:35PM) : Para. 13 [Edited] more

The fact that he was pressed this much about his religion is crazy. The fact he was asked about not just his parents’ religion, but his grandparents’ as well shows the level of value your religion holds in Israel. Depending on your religion, you can either freely roam safely, or you are restricted within certain areas.

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Dec 4
Maryam C Maryam C (Dec 04 2023 3:19PM) : . more

Why are the guards forcing people to tell their religions, and even after he said he wasn’t religious the guard made him tell the religion of his grandparents.

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Dec 6
Rafsyn B Rafsyn B (Dec 06 2023 3:32AM) : Reply more

Why does religion have to be involved in something like this? People can grow up in a non-religious household but who knew something that shouldn’t be needed in order to get pass a checkpoint to where he can’t take a single step without stating his religion.

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Dec 6
Naomi M Naomi M (Dec 06 2023 6:20PM) : reply more

I cant even imagine what they have to go through we are in 2023 and people still have to tell people they don’t even know them. I wonder how other people get treated who are Palestinians

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Dec 8
Samir H Samir H (Dec 08 2023 4:59AM) : Religion more

This is really just a religion war. Two of the biggest religions at war. It is sad too because people who are not involved are forced to get sucked in if they visit just due to what they believe .

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Jan 4
Sophia C Sophia C (Jan 04 2024 1:20AM) : Reply more

I just find it crazy how depending from what religion your from depends how your treated and if your allowed in.

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Nov 30
Michelle T Michelle T (Nov 30 2023 7:21PM) : Coates conversation with an Israeli guard more

Why does the lineage of religions in the family matter? Shouldn’t it depend on whether the current person is following a religion or not? Religion doesn’t tell much about a person’s personality or their life so why would a person be trusted because of their religion?

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Nov 30
Sundus T Sundus T (Nov 30 2023 7:49PM) : comment more

He wasnt allowed to pass until he told him that his grandmother was a Christain. What would have happened if he had said he was a Muslim or a different religion? why was his religion a means of passing through the checkpoint?

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Nov 30
Daniel F Daniel F (Nov 30 2023 8:32PM) : Religion! more

The Israeli soldier ask him for his relation telling us the readers that relation is very important in Israel.

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Jan 26
Angel I Angel I (Jan 26 2024 5:19PM) : Religion more

I feel like a lot of people use their religion as a mask for their actions and that they can do no wrong if it is in the name of their lord which is obviously very problematic and messy

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Nov 30
Jaylin F Jaylin F (Nov 30 2023 7:13PM) : Reply more

This paragraph is another case of how greatly religion is taken and how important it is in certain places.

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Dec 4
Hakim W Hakim W (Dec 04 2023 6:24PM) : I agree more

This proves that everyone interpret things differently, many people believe that this genocide is against their religon while other think their religion fuels it

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Dec 1
Muhaimin H Muhaimin H (Dec 01 2023 4:02AM) : Coates,Ethnicity,Religion more

The fact that this very young gaurd of his age is just meddling with the idea of what religion you had to be is kind of problematic. You see, religion is a personal matter and disclosing that and being underprivileged would break humanitarian law and be discriminatory.

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Dec 4
Ahmed Al A Ahmed Al A (Dec 04 2023 2:15PM) : Comment #2 more

This is a very interesting point that he brought up which is the realization how important religion is in other parts of the world. Not because foreign countries and governments force religion onto people but because the United States simply does not hold values with their religion outside of the Christian majority.

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Dec 7
Kelly-Ann B Kelly-Ann B (Dec 07 2023 8:14PM) : Response 2 more

It was interesting to see that Ta-Nehisi could relate to the Palestinians being oppressed people by connecting his experiences as a black man but could not relate to the importance of religion in Palestine.

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Nov 30
Christopher C C Christopher C C (Nov 30 2023 2:51PM) : He makes the point that in Israel your religion is extremely important to them especially now, and that if you are not christian or Jewish or a religion they approve of they wont let you though
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Dec 5
Ashiyah C Ashiyah C (Dec 05 2023 1:18AM) : . more

Just as the palestinians were oppressed due to there religion so were African AMerican Cvilians . This s further more shows why the News reporter supports the palestinians.

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Dec 19
Chimdiadi N Chimdiadi N (Dec 19 2023 3:34AM) : Comment 2 more

This really demonstrates how corrupt the government of Israel can be when they are attempting to protect themselves, to the point they will question someone’s religion in order to pass through somewhere

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Jan 4
Osmarilyn L Osmarilyn L (Jan 04 2024 2:22AM) : I found this part of the article very interesting because the Israeli government has a bias towards some religions but also shows how the goverment works and how they treat people.

And it became very, very clear to me what was going on there. And I have to say it was quite familiar. Again, I was in a territory where your mobility is inhibited, where your voting rights are inhibited, where your right to the water is inhibited, where your right to housing is inhibited. And it’s all inhibited based on ethnicity. And that sounded extremely, extremely familiar to me.

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Nov 30
Ryan A Ryan A (Nov 30 2023 4:34PM) : Mobility more

While i do agree that these heavy restrictions are wrong, they dont really have a second option. If yu let too many people into certain areas rebellion will start and that will only create more problems, by stopping the palestinians from congregating too much it stops rebellion

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Dec 1
Emmanuel W Emmanuel W (Dec 01 2023 1:00AM) : So basically he is trying to make the point that they aren't letting in any Muslims because they are racist towards them.
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Dec 6
Naomi M Naomi M (Dec 06 2023 6:21PM) : reply more

this shows how race is such a big part of this

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Dec 8
Ramlah H Ramlah H (Dec 08 2023 2:56PM) : Response more

He relates his situation with the Israeli guard to segregation and racism in the US. Both are very similar, yet many people are ignorant of that. Same as the similarities to the holocaust and everything that’s happening in Palestine.

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Dec 5
Ashiyah C Ashiyah C (Dec 05 2023 12:56AM) : . more

The news reporter can really relate to Palestine because he knows what it feels like to be oppressed and dominated by a higher power (segregation)

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Nov 30
Allisson M Allisson M (Nov 30 2023 7:43PM) : comment 1 more

From his expiernces in israel it helped me as a person who is still trying to understand the conflict that goes on over there by comparing it to what goes on over here in the United States. the discrimonitory ways of over there is very similar to over here

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Nov 30
Victor V Victor V (Nov 30 2023 6:38PM) : COMMENT more

I feel like Israel is the powerhouse of Gaza for example if they want to cut off their resources if they want because everything goes through Israel before entering Gaza

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Dec 1
Michael M Michael M (Dec 01 2023 2:51AM) : reply 3 more

It makes sense that this question was asked, as its part of the reason of this whole conflict, but i feel like this should not concern someone who doesnt live there at the moment.

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Dec 3
Rumi S Rumi S (Dec 03 2023 2:05AM) : Comment 1. more

We see him make a connection here to the segregation and racist laws of the Jim Crow era, as well as before that. Both had laws that made mobility and freedom something that was not promised.

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Nov 30
Michael M Michael M (Nov 30 2023 6:12PM) : reply 2 more

Without context, this can seem like its a little out of place because of who he is and what he does, but knowing that he has lived in palestine accentuates his statement.

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Nov 30
Maxine M Maxine M (Nov 30 2023 8:46PM) : I think here he is comparing the oppression of Palestinians to the history of racism in the US, especially for his race. [Edited] more

He highlights specific things that are restricted for Palestinians that can be compared to how Black people were treated in the US in the past (and the present, too). He is showing solidarity with Palestinians because he understands what it is like to be oppressed, especially in such a restrictive way, based solely on ethnicity. I don’t think it’s out of place, as in the next paragraph he goes on to explicitly make a connection between the oppression of Palestinians and African American history, and states that it’s familiar to those who are educated in it.

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Dec 12
Katelyn C Katelyn C (Dec 12 2023 3:19AM) : I think what's helping his understanding is that this issue is very similar to the oppression of certain races in America. A lot of the things Palestinians aren't able to do were the same rights that were stripped from African Americans back then.

And so, the most shocking thing about my time over there was how uncomplicated it actually is. Now, I’m not saying the details of it are not complicated. History is always complicated. Present events are always complicated. But the way this is reported in the Western media is as though one needs a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern studies to understand the basic morality of holding a people in a situation in which they don’t have basic rights, including the right that we treasure most, the franchise, the right to vote, and then declaring that state a democracy. It’s actually not that hard to understand. It’s actually quite familiar to those of us with a familiarity to African American history.

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Dec 8
Jason L Jason L (Dec 08 2023 3:00AM) : Ta-Nehisi more

I think anyone is able to/capable of understanding what is going on without needing some PHD. Some people grow up learning basic moralities. I think its just that there is not much exposure with this kind of topic especially when at such a young age.

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Nov 30
Hilson L Hilson L (Nov 30 2023 9:45PM) : history isn't always complicated more

It can be said that much of history is complicated but much like those drama shows it’s just simply a tangled mess at times. Once sorted out it all is quite simple to understand.

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Dec 11
Ricaiya W Ricaiya W (Dec 11 2023 4:01PM) : Comment more

I agree. No one looks deeper into things until after something is resolved. Then after you realize the agreement isn’t fair it’s sometimes too late for change.

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Nov 30
Michelle T Michelle T (Nov 30 2023 7:41PM) : Coates talking about Western media about a person having a Ph.D in Middle Eastern Studies more

People would trust more on an expert on talking about the history between Palestine and Israel than a regular person just talking about the war. An expert would be able to provide insight on how the war started and why the decision to pick a side is hard. Both sides have done the wrong actions so having an expert communicate those actions on both sides would help people understand what lead up to the war.

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Nov 30
Mariam B Mariam B (Nov 30 2023 7:50PM) : People with a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies aren't the only one who can understand more

What Coates is saying is valid, you can understand something without needing a Ph.D, but you understand to an extent. A normal person, who doesn’t what is going on, will never understand. The problems that happen in the past, or the details about the conflict, you need to know thee things in order know what your going through, it’s not just about morality.

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Dec 1
Nyiem C Nyiem C (Dec 01 2023 2:56AM) : Comment more

This statement is interesting because there can be different perspectives. One thinks a Ph.D. is needed because an expert can give insight or additional information. The other perspective is that such things are not that trivial and can be recognized by what they know.

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Nov 30
Dutch B Dutch B (Nov 30 2023 6:11PM) : Comparison [Edited] more

It seems as though history repeats itself in regards to African American people and Chinese people in the 1800’s.

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Nov 30
Mariam B Mariam B (Nov 30 2023 7:56PM) : Connect to African Americans in the US more

He make a connection that the immobility that the Palestinians are going through is what the African Americans when through during the time of slavery. However, he just made one connection without thinking of the others. So many people of color and of religion were persecuted because their religion. For example, the Coptic Orthodox were persecuted for hundreds of thousands of years, and still are today. Don’t focus on one persecution when there are so many more.

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Dec 1
Rashad B Rashad B (Dec 01 2023 4:10AM) : Similarities more

I think there are a lot of similarities between the civil rights moment and South Africa when it was an apartheid state. All three had people with a minimal difference from their oppressor treat them like animals and would retaliate with violence and dehumanize them further if the oppressed fought back.

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Dec 4
Khamaal A Khamaal A (Dec 04 2023 9:40AM) : Reply more

It is interesting to how history repeats itself

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Dec 19
Chimdiadi N Chimdiadi N (Dec 19 2023 3:35AM) : Comment 3 more

The connection to African American History really helps me resonate with Palestines point of view because I know how it is to be mistreated off of appearance

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Ta-Nehisi Coates, last night you were asked about the significance of Martin Luther King’s words on Vietnam. You said it’s taken you years to, quote, “understand nonviolence as an ethic” and that you understood that ethic in Israel. Could you explain?

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TA-NEHISI COATES: Yeah, sure, I mean, and I think the thing to do is just to proceed off of what I said. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to the fight against segregation. His was a segregated society. The Occupied Territories are segregated, de jure segregated. It’s not, you know, hard to understand. There are different signs for where different people can go. There are different license plates forbidding different people from going different places. Now, what the authorities will tell you is that this is a security measure. But if you go back to the history of Jim Crow in this country, they would tell you the exact same thing. People always have good reasons, besides, you know, “I hate you, and I don’t like you,” to justify their right for imposing an oppressive regime on other people. It’s never quite that simple. And so, that was the first thing.

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Dec 1
Imani R Imani R (Dec 01 2023 4:54AM) : I understand the connection he's trying to convey about MLK and his fight against segregation to the separation and segregation of Palestinians in Israel and Gaza. It was also interesting how he related the history of Jim Crow to what is happening too.
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Dec 1
Selena R Selena R (Dec 01 2023 8:42PM) : reply [Edited] more

yes i agree I comprehend the correlation he aims to establish between MLK’s struggle against segregation and the division and segregation of yes i agree Palestinians in Israel and Gaza. Furthermore, it was intriguing to observe his linkage of the historical context of Jim Crow to the ongoing events.

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Dec 8
Samir H Samir H (Dec 08 2023 5:04AM) : Comment [Edited] more

I agree with him. This is the Jim Crow for the people of Gaza and its sad. There are a plethora of rules and regulations designed to keep them trapped there and limit what they can do in there

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But the second thing I think that you’re referring to is, you know, I — you know, this is like really personal for me, because I came up in a time and in a place where I did not really understand the ethic of nonviolence. And by “ethic,” I mean the notion that violence itself is corrupting, that it corrupts the soul. And I didn’t quite understand that. If I’m truly honest with you, as much as I saw my relationship with the Palestinian people and as much as it was clear what the relationship was, it was at the same time clear that there was some sort of relationship with the Israeli people, too. And it wasn’t one that I particularly enjoyed, because I understood the rage that comes when you have a history of oppression. I understood the anger. I understood the sense of humiliation that comes when people subject you to just manifold oppression, to genocide, and people look away from that. I come from the descendants of 250 years of enslavement. I come from a people who sexual violence and rape is marked in our very bones and in our DNA. And I understand how when you feel that the world has turned its back on you, how you can then turn your back on the ethics of the world. But I also understood how corrupting that can be.

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Nov 30
Kayla R Kayla R (Nov 30 2023 4:46PM) : From reading/listening, here Coates personally explained, a sense of empathy and like said, understanding. The last 2 sentences of this passage was the main thing that made me have a deep thought and think to understand the knowledge. more

I do, of course. We all get it, violence isn’t new and most wars that are happening right now already started centuries ago. It corrupts cultures, even cultures we wouldn’t think in the 1st thought. This is human nature in the world.

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Nov 30
Demilade O Demilade O (Nov 30 2023 5:40PM) : Race more

It is quite understandable that he can personally relate this to what blacks faced in slavery, however, I believe race doesn’t have to affect the way people think about something it is also personal to an individual but shouldn’t mean it should be transferred to others

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Nov 30
Dutch B Dutch B (Nov 30 2023 6:13PM) : Violence more

I think he means that violance is corrupting because when things become violent people just accept that’s how it is and respond with violence.

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Dec 1
Jala A Jala A (Dec 01 2023 12:36AM) : Reply more

I feel as though a lot of people overlook the point he is trying to make and turn his statement into one that means “If you are black, you must agree with my point.” I believe a more important thing to take away from this statement is that when you have been hurt and pressed for so long, undergoing the dehumanization and violence no one ever should experience, you start to feel bitter. Violence against those oppressors seems like your right because you were hurt, that’s why he says when the world turns its back on you, you turn your back on ethics. The world turned its back on Palestine, and they were mistreated for so long that the only way to be heard was to perpetuate violence against the ones who pressed them. It is not surprising, and it is completely understandable. That is what he is saying he understands, that once your pleas for help aren’t answered, when you are left to fend for yourself, the rage that builds up can only ever end up in a violent reaction. Take slave revolts, for example. Would you say that slaves were wrong because they killed others to escape enslavement? That is exactly what he is connected to.

He knows that violence also corrupts and that it is not always the answer, but he understands the nuance of the situation by being connected to it.

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Dec 1
Arafat H Arafat H (Dec 01 2023 1:58AM) : Reply #2 Te-Nehisi more

It’s clear that Ta-Nehisi experienced/understood what it felt like to be oppressed, he understands the anger, the humiliation, and the feeling of the world itself abandoning you. Though I think even though he says all of this, how he understands when people subject you to oppression, he also tries to make a point. A point where lashing out with violence is corrupting of oneself. For me, when I think about violence, I always remember what a precious friend told me. “When violence is the only thing to turn to, and you act on such violence, you are no less than those who ridiculed you, maybe even worse.” I think Te-Nehisi is merely just stating the point on how violence is not the answer, but he does know he can’t change people who have already made the decision, that violence might’ve been necessary in the moment.

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Dec 1
Rashad B Rashad B (Dec 01 2023 4:19AM) : Comment more

I think Ta-Nehisi pointed out something in this paragraph that a lot of people do not seem to understand, a lot of people who have experienced a history of oppression are going to side with a recent group that is currently oppressed. That’s part of the reason why MLK was against the Vietnam War or why some Jewish people support Palestine both before and during this conflict.

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Dec 8
Savannah H Savannah H (Dec 08 2023 1:41AM) : I agree with the nonviolence ethic but this is not agreed from everyone and that's why what's going on is going on and it needs to be said around the world.
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Dec 8
Jason L Jason L (Dec 08 2023 2:55AM) : Ta-Nehisi more

I think Ta-Nehisi’s story is tragic here but I don’t understand how this has a correlation to how people think and see someone else.

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Dec 8
Brianna S Brianna S (Dec 08 2023 4:04AM) : Comment more

A lot of people are asking why now? Why is Israel responding now but Coates said “when you feel that the world has turned its back on you, how can you then turn your back on the ethics of the world”.

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Nov 30
Aniyah K Aniyah K (Nov 30 2023 11:42PM) : Agree more

Violence is very harmful to the mental. If you let anger control you, it can ruin you. Letting anger guide you is the wrong course of action.

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Dec 8
Brianna S Brianna S (Dec 08 2023 4:07AM) : Reply to Aniyah more

I agree with you, and that’s definitely what is happening here because I believe this could’ve been resolved differently.

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Dec 1
Jennifer V Jennifer V (Dec 01 2023 4:10AM) : Israel's Corruption more

Coates is saying that the violence that the people of Israel experienced has influenced their conflict with Palestine. It’s like generational trauma but on a much larger scale. The history of oppression turned Israel into the oppressors. Violence corrupts.

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Dec 6
Rafsyn B Rafsyn B (Dec 06 2023 3:37AM) : Reply more

I can agree with his response of violence corrupting the soul because it can have damage not only to your mental health but physical health too.

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Nov 30
Allisson M Allisson M (Nov 30 2023 7:46PM) : Comment 2 more

I like the way he was able to find a personal connection to palestines situation. The rage and humilaition from being oppressed in such a way puts into perspective of how the palestine people might have felt- and putting his own personal connection into words can also help other people make personal connections to help them understand more on the situaion at hand

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Dec 8
Rayane N Rayane N (Dec 08 2023 3:21PM) : I like the way he found a way to connect to the situation perosnally. He understood what it meant to be oppressed as his ancestors where.
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I was listening, actually, to my congressman last night, or I guess it was two nights ago, talk on the news. And a journalist asked him, “How many children, how many people must be killed to justify this operation? Is there an upper limit for the number of people that could be killed, when you would say, 'This is just too much. This just doesn't — this just doesn’t, you know, compute. This does not add up’?” And I will tell you, that congressman couldn’t give a number. And I thought, “That man has been corrupted. That man has lost himself. He’s lost himself in humiliation. He’s lost himself in vengeance. He has lost himself in violence.”

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Nov 30
Ryan A Ryan A (Nov 30 2023 4:31PM) : Question more

I see this point everywhere. Someone asks “how many children have to die” and the person cannot answer. Realistically how are they supposed to answer? You cant justify kids being killed so their only option is to not respond

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Nov 30
Hilson L Hilson L (Nov 30 2023 9:48PM) : upper limit? more

Saying this phrase upper limit, just felt dehumanizing. Turning every person who is killed into a simple number. When is the limit? 10000? 20000? Now if you were to ask me, this is not only unfair to ask anyone but also to be able to assign a number to this feels very much like coping.

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Nov 30
Sabrina P Sabrina P (Nov 30 2023 11:10PM) : Reply 3 more

“How many children, how many people must be killed to justify this operation?"

This question stuck with me, this question should be difficult to answer, this basically brings up the fact that people are being killed for what? Are you willing to put a number on that?

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Nov 30
Dreanna L Dreanna L (Nov 30 2023 11:11PM) : Seeing people who can loose their whole sense of what is right and wrong and be complete absorbed in violence is sad. The congressman didn't seem to care about how much children were killed and that is where most people who have not lost themselves stop.
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Dec 1
Mariam B Mariam B (Dec 01 2023 12:14AM) : People must be killed to justify more

People use many different reasons to justify their actions, no matter how great it is. However, sometimes those actions have no explanation. So asking someone “how many children have to die” is a question that no one can answer that simply.

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Jan 11
Christopher U U Christopher U U (Jan 11 2024 6:58PM) : Reply more

The congressman didn’t seem to care about how many children were killed and that is where most people who have not lost themselves stop.

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Nov 30
Demilade O Demilade O (Nov 30 2023 5:23PM) : It is so disheartening that children and innocent people were killed on both sides and nothing justifies these killings
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Nov 30
Victor V Victor V (Nov 30 2023 6:45PM) : COMMENT more

I find it so sad how the innocent people of both sides have to go through this just because their government is stupid and can’t handle it maturely.

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Dec 4
Khamaal A Khamaal A (Dec 04 2023 9:41AM) : Reply more

I wonder who is hurting from the loss of life and who is fueling their rage with the loss of life

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Dec 8
Rayane N Rayane N (Dec 08 2023 3:23PM) : I want to know how people really still support israel after what happend and all the innocent children that were dying. I too want to know how many more children or how many more kids or how many more women.
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Nov 30
Samir H Samir H (Nov 30 2023 7:56PM) : Comment more

Its sad really how deep rooted all this really is. The Congressman can’t even say that what their doing is justifiable and whats the true end goal.

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I keep hearing this term repeated over and over again: “the right to self-defense.” What about the right to dignity? What about the right to morality? What about the right to be able to sleep at night? Because what I know is, if I was complicit — and I am complicit — in dropping bombs on children, in dropping bombs on refugee camps, no matter who’s there, it would give me trouble sleeping at night. And I worry for the souls of people who can do this and can sleep at night.

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Nov 30
Anaya C Anaya C (Nov 30 2023 4:34PM) : Morals- more

I agree with what he said here, though they have the right to defend themselves they also have the right to choose to do good, and choose to end the violence. I think that in this fight both sides have lost dignity and forget about basic morals.

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Dec 12
Katelyn C Katelyn C (Dec 12 2023 3:27AM) : I agree with what he's saying, it is always ok to defend yourself but you also have the right to be the bigger person and leave the conflict alone. It's not worth all of the lives that are getting taken when they are already in greater control.
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Dec 4
Ahmed Al A Ahmed Al A (Dec 04 2023 2:22PM) : Comment #3 more

As much as I have come to respect the work of this writer I have to say that this phrase of “self-defense” has become very dangerous to protest for the Palestinian or the pro-Palestinian people. The Israeli media has become very good at twisting the protests of the Palestinian people into becoming anti-Jewish protests. So, Israel has the right to self-defense and after the attacks of October 7th, it has become harder to protest because of the words and interpretations of western supporters.

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Nov 30
Gabriela L Gabriela L (Nov 30 2023 5:17PM) : Comment more

I think that it was interesting to bring up this argument. Because many people are using moral and ethical values to determine which sides to support or how to discredit opposing sides. Adding this argument creates more controversy and more anger among people because a lot of people value life and the topic of dead children and women it invokes a lot of feelings of anger and conflict.

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Nov 30
Sundus T Sundus T (Nov 30 2023 7:52PM) : comment more

I found what he said to be very interesting here as he didn’t try to figure out what the right to self-defense meant he just went to defending Palestine from this phrase. my question now is, what is Israel defending itself from now past October 7th?

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Nov 30
Allisson M Allisson M (Nov 30 2023 7:51PM) : Comment 3 more

I think what he is trying to say here in general connecting it back to Martin Luther King Jr’s morals and his personal view on nonviolence is that yes people have the right to self defense but that doesnt mean violence has to be done. There shouldnt be killing of children due to conflict in politcs. he is saying that the people who can live knowing they have killed thousands of souls are the ones who are damaged and thats something to be worried about because at the end of the day lives are lives

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Nov 30
Toni-Kae A Toni-Kae A (Nov 30 2023 10:44PM) : i completely missed this and i find it cool how you noticed he connects Martin Luther King Jr's morals to the topic.
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Dec 8
Ramlah H Ramlah H (Dec 08 2023 2:52PM) : I like this analysis of his words. I hadn't thought about it like this yet after rereading it, it makes sense too. Why are they "defending themselves" against children, and any other civilians who took no part in the attack on Oct 7.
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Dec 3
Rumi S Rumi S (Dec 03 2023 2:17AM) : Comment 2. more

This is a great point he makes. The last 2 paragraphs since this is in the transcript are all important points. Many people have lost themselves in numbers, and fighting over who has the right to do what, when in fact innocent people are being bombed, and places full of non-combatants who have nothing to do with any attacks are ending up as collateral. And the ones who are surviving and living through it are also losing everything, living their lives subjected to only war.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Ta-Nehisi, last night, as I said at the beginning, I think Union Theological was the fifth place that PalFest had turned to for this event. I want to point out who was there. Among the speakers was you, you know, a MacArthur “genius” fellow; was Michelle Alexander, the remarkable author and lawyer; Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian American scholar, Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University; and others. And you being at Union Theological, you know, Dr. Martin Luther King is known for that speech, “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam,” that he gave across the street at Riverside Church, but he started at Union Theological. So many people came, he had to go across the street for it. But can you talk about this difficulty in speaking out? I mean, just last week, we spoke to Viet Thanh Nguyen, who is the Vietnamese American Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who was on a book tour for his latest memoir, and the 92nd Street Y, now known as 92NY, canceled his conversation about his memoir because he had signed on to a letter — I think it was signed by 750 other people — calling for a ceasefire. The U.N. secretary-general has called for a Gaza ceasefire. Can you talk about what it means to break the sound barrier, and if you were nervous about coming out and speaking about Gaza, about the West Bank, even going, to begin with, knowing what you would feel responsible for doing once you came out?

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TA-NEHISI COATES: Yeah, I wasn’t just nervous. I was afraid. You know, I hear people talk all the time about how fearlessness is a necessary quality. And I have never had that. I’ve never had that in my life, and I certainly have never had that in my career.

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I spent five days with PalFest when I was over there, and then I spent another five days with a group of Israeli Jews. And I knew that whatever I was going to see — like, I had a sentiment. I couldn’t express it like I just expressed it for you right now, because, obviously, I hadn’t been there. But I had a sentiment that what I was going to see was not going to be great. And I know that, A, because of my upbringing, and I know that, B, because of my vocation as a journalist, you can’t behold evil and then return and not speak on it. And segregation is evil. There just is no — there’s no way for me, as an African American, to come back and stand before you, to witness segregation and not say anything about it.

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Dec 8
Savannah H Savannah H (Dec 08 2023 1:44AM) : I like "fearlessness is a necessary quality" and i feel like it relates alot to the war because being fearless is a weakness to the enemy because you have nothing to be afraid of
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Jan 4
Osmarilyn L Osmarilyn L (Jan 04 2024 2:09AM) : It's very clear that he is very educated about the topics and unbias because he experiences first hand the different situations of both groups.
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Dec 1
Emmanuel W Emmanuel W (Dec 01 2023 1:15AM) : This guy is truly unbias and is expressing how he actually feels without withholding information.
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Dec 1
Jennifer V Jennifer V (Dec 01 2023 4:30AM) : A Duty to Speak Out more

His identity and the history that comes behind that identity, has informed his decision to side with Palestine. Despite the fear and the consequences his decision may have, he still chose to speak up and do what he believes is right. I find that to be very respectable.

One of the hardest things was to come back and then to read the rhetoric of certain African American politicians who are defending this regime. And I just — I couldn’t understand it. You know, I wanted to know if they had been to Hebron. You know, I wanted to know if they had been to Masafer Yatta, if they had been to Susiya, if they had been to Tuba. Had they seen? Had they really seen what is actually happening here? I don’t know how anybody who benefits, who stands on the shoulders of our ancestors’ struggle against Jim Crow, against segregation, could see what is happening right now, could see the bombs being dropped, 9,000 people dead, an ungodly number of them children, in service of Jim Crow and segregation, which we have exported, and be OK with that. I don’t — I don’t understand it.

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Dec 1
Anya C Anya C (Dec 01 2023 4:49AM) : Race more

I think it’s fair for him to be upset at African Americans being against the liberation of Palestine because of our shared oppressive pasts. They aren’t completely the same, but one would hope that a group of people that live in a country that cares very little for them would be sympathetic to a group of people who face something similar. Unfortunately, some people just can’t feel any semblance of care, no matter who they are. I just wish that we can ALL agree to make this world better for EVERYONE in it!

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So, yes, I have my fears. I do. I do. You know, I’m afraid right now, sitting here talking to you. But I have to measure my fear against the misery that I saw. I have to measure my fear against the promises that I made to the Palestinians who welcomed me into their homes and gave me the facts, to the Israeli Jews who welcomed me into their homes and gave me the facts, to the Holocaust survivors who welcomed me into their homes and gave me the facts. I have to measure it against my own ancestors, against Frederick Douglass, against Ida B. Wells, who certainly faced off against things that were much, much more perilous than going someplace, coming back and telling people what you saw. This is the minimum. It’s scary, but it’s also the minimum. And the fact that people are trying to suppress speech is not an excuse for you not to speak. It’s always been this way for Black writers and journalists. This is our tradition, you know? And so, I feel — as I do feel the fear, I also feel that I am in good company, because I’m in the company of my ancestors.

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Nov 30
Nya H Nya H (Nov 30 2023 4:43PM) : I like the fact that he acknowledges that he is afraid and that he has fears. He knows that the trauma and misery that they have suffered kind of outweighs his fears. He knows that it would be wrong if he didn't talk about it.
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Nov 30
Gabriela L Gabriela L (Nov 30 2023 6:27PM) : Comment more

I can agree that because of the war going on it’s completely understandable to have fears because the violence is getting worse and worse every day.

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Nov 30
Dreanna L Dreanna L (Nov 30 2023 11:14PM) : The fact that he is able to say that he is afraid is strong, especially on such a hard topic. Knowing that his life is in danger and is still going out of his way to inform the world of what he has experienced is brave.
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Dec 1
Arafat H Arafat H (Dec 01 2023 2:18AM) : Reply #3 Te-Nehisi [Edited] more

The courage to speak out, he says he’s afraid but I see him as someone who’s very much courageous, when it comes to topics like this, you probably have to be regardless of the repercussions. The fact he measures his fear with the misery he sees, it clear what is more important to him, even if it’s just relaying information around, it is enough to show where his priorities are.

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Dec 6
Rafsyn B Rafsyn B (Dec 06 2023 3:52AM) : Reply more

I have more respect for him than I did before because he’s knowledgeable on the topic he is speaking on along with facing the fact that he too is not invincible and also has fears and challenges he has to face to speak out for what’s right.

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Dec 8
Samir H Samir H (Dec 08 2023 5:09AM) : Comment more

This is a powerful speech. He recognizes his fear but doesn’t let it hold him back from speaking out when there are numerous reasons as to why he shouldn’t. He has a strong sense of morals that tell him otherwise

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