By Nadrat Siddique
December 29 – Tonight I ran 10k (6.2 miles) to call for justice for the Maya Q’Eqchi’ in Guatemala. These are Guatemalan Indians, who have been violently evicted by the Guatemalan police at the behest of a multinational corporation operating on indigenous lands. Twenty-five Mayan Indian women and children were arrested, when they resisted expulsion from their homes. Mayan Indians have long been the target of extermination by successive U.S.-supported dictators in Guatemala.
According to the organizers of the virtual run, "On December 6th the Chapín Abajo community in El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala was violently evicted, affecting 50 Maya Q’eqchi’ families. There are 25 arrest warrants against Q’eqchi’ Ancestral Authorities. Women and minors were arbitrarily detained without any justification by the National Civil Police (PNC). This eviction was on behalf of the the company NaturAceites - a leading company in the production of African palm oil in Guatemala, and with a high rate of human rights violations."
The organizers website, further explaining the struggle of the Maya Q’Eqchi, is here:
Very often I run various races as an individual. But, to me the parallels between the struggle of indigenous Guatemalans and the Palestinians--who are routinely expelled from their homes so that upscale Jewish-only settlements may be erected—were so stark, I was compelled to set up a Muslim team in an effort to expand Muslim participation and solidarity with the Guatemalan Indians. The team, Team Jamaat Al-Muslimeen, named for one of the United States’ oldest Muslim social justice organizations of which I am a part, was, due to last minute organizing, unfortunately comprised only of myself. In spirit, however, we stand with indigenous peoples in their fight for human rights and self-determination.
A video of my run is here.
Nadrat Siddique is a Muslim marathoner of Pakistani origin.