1. Omar Kinnarath
2. Uzoma Asagwara
On the front steps of the Manitoba Legislative Building, Omar Kinnarath addressed a crowd of nearly 300 protesters at an All Out for Palestine rally on Nov. 19.
“The people of Gaza asked us to do our part to join them in the resistance ... We’ve made it clear that if we do not have justice, they will not have peace,” he said in his speech.
Kinnarath has been a local activist for more than a decade. He organizes for Fascist Free Treaty 1, which started in 2017 to combat alt-right white-supremacist groups.
He also co-founded the Mutual Aid Society during the COVID pandemic. It matches people who need clothing, food and support services with those who can help.
Kinnarath says his main focus right now is working with the Palestinian community and providing guidance and advice to younger activists.
“I feel like this is the time where the torch gets passed,” he says.
“I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve never seen this kind of intense organizing. These intense actions go on consistently, day after day, week after week.”
He teaches younger organizers how to sustainably protect their mental and physical health, especially if they face harassment. He also shares time-management skills and advice on speaking with police officers and government officials.
“You can burn out really fast,” Kinnarath says. “So you really need to focus on what makes you healthy, what makes you happy. And the reason you do this is so you have the energy and the capacity to do the work that you need to do.”
The Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip has killed more than 15,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis, according to Anadolu Agency, a news organization in Turkey.
Kinnarath says people in Winnipeg can protest, intensify boycotts, fight propaganda, challenge Israel lobby groups and pressure elected officials to call for a ceasefire.
Published in Volume 78, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 30, 2023)