Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is a network of organizers and activists, based in North America, working to build solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom. Samidoun developed out of the September-October 2011 hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, seeing a need for a dedicated network to support Palestinian prisoners. We work to raise awareness and provide resources about Palestinian political prisoners, their conditions, their demands, and their work for freedom for themselves, their fellow prisoners, and their homeland. We also work to organize campaigns to make political change and advocate for Palestinian prisoners’ rights and freedoms.
Samidoun seeks to achieve justice for Palestinian prisoners through events, activities, resources, delegations, research and information-sharing, as well as building bridges with the prisoners’ movement in Palestine. We seek to amplify the voices of Palestinian prisoners, former prisoners, prisoners’ families, and Palestinian advocates for justice and human rights by translating, sharing and distributing news, interviews and materials from Palestine.
We work to organize annually for April 17, the Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Political Prisoners, organizing rallies, events and actions and distributing news and alerts about actions around the world marking April 17.
Palestinian prisoners are on the front lines of the Palestinian struggle for liberation on a daily basis. In the jails of occupation, Palestinian prisoners confront the oppressor and the occupier, and put their bodies and lives on the line to continue their people’s struggle to achieve justice and freedom for the land and people of Palestine. Within the prisons, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement engages in political struggle – demanding their rights, securing advances, and serving as leaders to the entire Palestinian movement, inside and outside Palestine. The Israeli occupation has criminalized all forms of Palestinian existence and Palestinian resistance – from peaceful mass demonstrations to armed struggle to simply refusing to be silent and invisible as a Palestinian. Palestinian prisoners are men and women – and children – from every part of Palestine, from every family. Their absence is keenly felt in the homes, communities, villages, towns, labour, women’s and student organizations from which they were taken by the occupation. They suffer torture, isolation, coercive interrogation, denial of family and lawyers’ visits, on a daily basis. And it is their hunger strikes, their calls to the world, their unity and solidarity, and their continued leadership in the Palestinian movement that must inspire us daily and remind us of our responsibility to take action.
Samidoun also stands in solidarity with Arab and international political prisoners, and, in particular, political prisoners in the United States and Canada targeted for their work with liberation struggles and freedom movements, including Arab and Palestinian movements, Native and Indigenous liberation and sovereignty struggles, Puerto Rican independentistas, Black liberation organizers, Latino and Chicano activists and many others targeted by racism, colonialism, and oppression, and we recognize the fundamental connections between imprisonment, racism, colonialism, and the criminalization of immigrants, refugees and migrants.
Building solidarity with Palestinian prisoners is, indeed, a responsibility. Palestinian prisoners are at the center of the struggle for freedom and justice in Palestine – they represent the imprisonment of a people and a nation. The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has always been at the center of the Palestinian liberation movement and remains so today. Palestinian prisoners stand and struggle on the front lines daily for return and liberation for all of Palestine and all Palestinians. The Canadian and U.S. governments are deeply complicit and directly implicated in the ongoing occupation of Palestine and the crimes of the Israeli state. Rather than standing for human rights, they enable, fund, and support occupation, apartheid, mass imprisonment, land confiscation, dispossession and settlement-building. In response, it is our responsibility to create grassroots accountability, raise awareness, and take action to those Palestinian prisoners who daily struggle for the freedom of their homeland – and the freedom of the oppressed of the world.