City is making history

By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck city officials have notched a couple of “firsts.”
Several weeks ago, the city council was one of the first dozen public bodies in the country to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
And more recently, the council passed a resolution calling for the U.S. to cut military spending, as part of a nationwide movement called “Move the Money.”
That resolution, presented by Mayor Amer Ghalib, read, in part:
“… According to the National Priorities Project, cutting $100 billion from the Pentagon budget could pay for: the clean energy and childcare provisions in the Build Back Better initiative; power every household in the United States with solar energy; hire one million elementary school teachers; furnish free tuition for 2 out of 3 public college students in the U.S.; and could send every household in the U.S. a $700 check to help offset effects of inflation. …”
Mayor Ghalib said passing the resolution would make Hamtramck the first community in the nation to take this position.
“We hope our government will listen to us and to the people of the U.S.,” Ghalib said. “Local communities are suffering and struggling.”
Ghalib added that the U.S. has been supporting oppressive regimes around the world.
“I think we should stop that. Democracy is our main value here.” He said.
As for the call for a ceasefire in Gaza, the council’s resolution read, in part:
“… Millions of people are facing dire circumstances, lacking access to essential necessities such as shelter, clean water, food, electricity, and medical supplies; and there exists a substantial risk that this conflict may further destabilize the Middle East and potentially spill over into neighboring regions, posing a threat to global peace and security; and every individual residing in that part of the world deserves the right to live in an environment marked by peace, freedom, dignity, justice, and the same fundamental human rights enjoyed by people worldwide. …”
The resolution also called for “President Biden and all elected officials and policymakers in our government to employ their influence and authority to advocate for an immediate ceasefire. We also implore them to facilitate the unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, with the dual purpose of preserving innocent lives, reinstating peace and stability, and preventing the further proliferation of violence to neighboring regions. …”
Ghalib also recently criticized Shri Thanedar, the Congressional representative for Hamtramck’s district, who would not commit to calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Ghalib said he was told that Thanedar “only has one view.”
Ghalib did not elaborate on the comment. But Ghalib said he hopes there will be someone elected to Thanedar’s seat “that will listen to our concerns.”
Thanedar is up for re-election this November, and there are already several challengers lined up.
In a statement that Thanedar released on Feb. 23, he said, in part:
“I support efforts for a ceasefire in Gaza, which must begin with Hamas releasing all hostages and Hamas’s military infrastructure being dismantled. Alongside this, we must ensure humanitarian aid reaches the Palestinian people directly, differentiating their plight from the actions of Hamas.
“Israel has a right to defend itself, and the Israeli people deserve to live without terrorism or harm. The Palestinian people also deserve self-determination and security. However, we cannot achieve long-lasting peace and security in the region with Hamas.”
And, in one more “first,” city officials gave Holbrook the honorific name of “Palestine Ave.,” which garnered attention from a number of media outlets.
Councilmember Khalil Refai proposed the action, saying the sign “Serves as a symbolic gesture of remembrance and support for the people of Gaza, Palestine and the Palestinian Americans who, many of them, have lost a family member since the occupation of their land.”
Posted March 22, 2024

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