What does SCW have to do with Palestine?

As a company, not much of anything at all. After living for two years in Egypt, learning the language and becoming radicalized in the aftermath of the attacks on Gaza in December & January of 2008/2009, I took the notion of “Sumoud” as an inspiration for much of what I wanted to do with my life once back to the US. Building human-powered machines is a part of that. But, to be clear, Sumoud Cycle Works is not a charity. I’m not going to jack up the price you pay for a frame to fund a program teaching Gazans how to build bikes out of spent mortar shells or something. Palestine does not need our charity; it needs justice. Palestinians don’t need our micro-credit schemes and development initiatives; they need us to stop giving aid and comfort to a racist, apartheid state that does everything in its power to quash or expropriate the considerable indigenous resources and resourcefulness of Palestine. Of course, I’m happy to use the cognitive dissonance produced by the sight of Arabic writing somewhere besides a Middle Eastern grocery or a piece of yellow journalism about jihadist movements as an opportunity to educate my fellow United Statesians about Palestine and what I learned in the Middle East. And I’d be glad to point people toward ways to get involved with the Palestine solidarity movement locally, or groups in the Middle East worthy of funding, if that’s what you’re looking for. I’ll even get you a deal on a liter of delicious fair trade organic olive oil produced by West Bank farmers. Just don’t expect to see any “1% of proceeds will go to the struggle to free Palestine” gimmick. I’m not in the business of making you feel better about trading your money for my products because of some dubious benefit that accrues to some disadvantaged or oppressed strangers on the other side of the world; I aim to make all of our lives a little bit better, one transaction, one relationship, one bike at a time.

Last modified on April 9, 2010

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