By land and by sea, global mutual aid and solidarity work is rising to the occasion to meet another existential threat to humanity’s continued existence: war and genocide.  

In every disaster, mutual aid and solidarity are how people survive. The disaster of war is no exception. Every atrocity, filling up international news headlines and social media feeds alike, has been answered by persistent humanity; a groundswell of collective care and support. A flotilla nears, medical solidarity convoys carry in mutual aid medics, food is shared, doors are opened, organizers leverage legal aid, financial support, and amplify call outs through dense and vast community networks, and fluid solidarity efforts teach hope and communal responsibility.  

Freedom Flotilla has been stalled but not stopped as the maritime convoy has its sights still set on Gaza, compass undeterred, to transport in thousands of tons of humanitarian aid. The fleet has been stripped of vessel flags, yet another example of how strong-arm tactics, barricades and petty, fabricated technicalities are used to block aid, part of a larger strategy of using starvation as a weapon of war. But this is by far not the worst repression the Freedom Flotilla has experienced. In 2010, Israeli naval commandos raided the vessels in international waters from speedboats and helicopters, killing ten civilians on board and confiscating the ships and their humanitarian cargo. The Freedom Flotilla, then and now, pledges to find a way to part the waters and continue sailing aid to the besieged strip.

A message from Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila, with Doctors Without Borders before the hospital he worked at was bombed. It reads, “Whoever stays until the end will tell the story. We did what we could. Remember us.”

In Kaddish for the Soul of Judaism, Amanda Gelender asks, “Gaza is starving, can she eat at our Seder? Can you jump on the tracks before this train arrives at Bergen-Belsen?” The whole world is responding, “Yes”. Seven brave souls with World Central Kitchen were killed for doing just this, which is only the most well-known and blatant example of the targeting of aid workers in Gaza. Groups like the Jewish Center for Nonviolence, the International Solidarity Movement, and Community Peacemaker Teams regularly prevent the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians through providing nonviolent protective presence in threatened communities. Even in Israeli society, liberatory mutual aid projects are blossoming, becoming a shelter that can never be destroyed, such as Culture of Solidarity, which shares food and other essentials with Palestinians and Tayyush, whose participants put their bodies on the line to prevent ethnic cleansing alongside their international and Palestinian friends.

A constellation of organizing and multi-layered mutual aid relationship building throughout Egypt has welcomed Palestinian refugees and facilitated convoy after convoy of humanitarian aid to breach the Rafah border crossing and help circulate aid through the Gaza Strip. Although Mutual Aid Disaster Relief has been a primarily U.S. based disaster relief network, due to the failure of the international community, including international aid agencies to get adequate aid to the Palestinian people of Gaza, and international institutions’ complicity with Israeli genocidal acts, and building on the strong relationships and connections our volunteers have nurtured with Palestinians, we are coordinating with autonomous, grassroots organizers on the ground in Palestine and Egypt to get aid convoys through the Rafah crossing, an effort you can support here

Another way to support financially is by giving to Palestinian families directly. A Guide to Evacuating Gazans Through Rafah Crossing spells out the steps to escape, an expensive process. Many fundraisers for Palestinian families to afford this and other emergency expenses are circulating organically through social media. If you want to help in this way but don’t know where to start, Project Watermelon has consolidated many of these fundraisers into a helpful spreadsheet

Regardless of how long a particular autonomous zone exists for, or if it is eventually violently crushed, the spirit of freedom cannot be extinguished. If those in power are able to temporary suppress and clear an autonomous zone, whether a university occupation or a whole region like Gaza, it simply spreads the spirit of it far and wide, each person – a seed, a living embodiment of the spirit of liberation in that place – is scattered to the winds and manifests its longing for freedom anew in different contexts, under a different sky, seeking liberation from every river to every sea, through any siege and around every army.

Under the rubble of the world’s bombed humanity, Palestinians and those in solidarity with Palestinians, are teaching the world how to survive disaster. We are listening, and hope you will too.