Bloody Sunday

Bay Area activists protested outside Chevron to highlight its involvement in the Israeli genocide of Gaza.

Bloody Sunday
Photograph by Chris Koh

LISTENING: to Nemahsis, a Palestinian-Canadian artist my girl Angely put me on to
FEELING: enraged
SEEING: "ALL EYES ON RAFAH" all over my feed

My birthday was Friday. I turned 31. My partner and I went upstate for the long Memorial Day weekend to celebrate. We kayaked. We walked under the tree canopy. We swatted away bugs. We got high and laughed. We kissed and kissed and kissed some more.

We spent a blissful weekend away, unaware of what was happening thousands of miles away in Rafah. On May 26, Israel used missiles made right here in the U.S.A. to blast a refugee camp. The airstrikes killed at least 45 people. It's sick how Israel coordinates these attacks when we are most distracted.

I'm still confused as to why there has been no attempt I can find by mainstream media outlets with the resources to validate or debunk the allegations that the Israeli airstrike decapitated at least one baby — a narrative that Israel itself touted after Oct. 7. Remember when Hamas allegedly beheaded 40 babies, and the media (and our president) went wild running with it? There weren't images of these victims, but leaders wasted no time doubting. That lie has since been debunked, but the damage has been done.

This time, there is an image. There's a video in Rafah. I've seen it. Is it real? Is it from the site of the massacre Sunday? Who is the child? Who is the man? These are questions I, as a journalist, have not been able to find answers to. It is the role of journalists to verify and dig into such stories, but I've seen nothing so far. I am not a newsroom with contacts on the ground or technology to vet videos. The newsrooms with those have so far not released anything I can find.

Perhaps the worry of getting it wrong again has media institutions hitting pause, but I fear that's not the only reason. It's never so simple for Black and Brown folks, for Muslim folks, for the colonized.

I won't stop talking about Palestine. And I won't stop connecting it back to climate justice.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I'm Yessenia Funes, and I'm reminding you that the fossil fuel industry is profiting from this genocide.

Last year, I wrote about the fossil fuel connections to Israel's ongoing assault in Gaza. Many activists based in the Middle East I spoke to believed then that Israel's genocide is directly connected to its desire to conquer and access more of Palestine's resources. Indeed, the Middle East carries a history of resource exploitation and imperialism brought on by foreign interests in the region's riches.

‘This Genocide Is About Oil’ | Atmos
Given the billions of barrels worth of oil in Palestine, some advocates believe that fossil fuels are influencing Israel’s attacks.

Now, activists in the U.S. are drawing those connections, too. On Wednesday, a group of protesters gathered in California's Bay Area to block the entrance to Chevron's headquarters during a shareholder meeting to protest the oil and gas company's alleged "fueling of Israeli apartheid and war crimes in Gaza," according to the group's press release.

They cheered and rallied outside the building with Palestinian flags and banners that read, "BOYCOTT CHEVRON." They want consumers to boycott the company until Chevron divests from operations in the Palestine-Israel region. Chevron co-owns the gas fields in the Mediterranean off the coast of Palestine. Though Chevron considers its projects to be on Israeli land, international law dictates that such resources should belong to the occupied territory, not the occupying power.

Chevron has a violent history here in the U.S., too. In Richmond, California, not far from the protest, a Chevron refinery has long polluted the air of the local predominantly Black and Brown community. I've covered that reality for many years. My earliest story was back in 2016 for Colorlines.

"As Bay Area residents, we know that the same polluter that pollutes our air and water is directly profiting from Israel's destruction of Palestinian life and land," said Shelley Sella, a Jewish Oakland resident, in a press release. "Chevron is literally fueling genocide and ecological disaster, both locally and globally. We're causing disruption during Chevron's annual shareholder meeting to call out its war profiteering and demand it get out of Palestine!"

In February, Chevron announced it would be investing another $24 million into the Tamar gas field to boost its production of planet-destroying methane to help meet Israel's needs. But what about the people of Palestine? They need income sources and energy access, too — but the activists there I've spoken to, at least, want to see a Palestine powered by clean energy. They don't want fossil fuels.

This reminds me of the term "energy democracy," which calls for a new way of building energy infrastructure. Per the Climate Justice Alliance:

Energy Democracy represents a shift from the corporate, centralized fossil fuel economy to one that is governed by communities, is designed on the principle of no harm to the environment, supports local economies, and contributes to the health and well-being for all peoples. 

We need a world with such values. All of us do.

As optimistic as I try to be, I find humans awfully disappointing. Those thoughts have become especially pervasive as I helplessly watch Palestine burn, and our politicians do absolutely nothing to stop it. My therapist instructed me to actively replace those negative thoughts by remembering the people who are doing something about it — the ones putting their bodies on the line. The ones leading with love. The protesters. The students. The children of Gaza.

I saw a video somewhere online. The man said, "To feel is to be free." And, man, did that resonate with me. We have to keep feeling. We can't turn our emotions off. Feel and cry and scream with rage and sob until your body shakes. Then, do more. Donate. Protest. Organize. Confer with friends. Write. Make art.

Just, please, do something. 🌀

Rest in Power

While we can't say for certain that climate change led to these specific weather events (we need attribution studies for that), we do know that the Earth's rising temperatures are already creating more disasters like these.

Thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least 22 people in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend.

Typhoon Ewiniar has killed at least three people as of Monday. A seven-month-old boy is among those who passed.

On Sunday, Cyclone Remal made landfall in India and Bangladesh. More than 50 are dead.

In Papua New Guinea, a devastating landslide has trapped more than 2,000 people. Only six bodies have been pulled out from the rubble, but the initial death estimate sat at 670. It is expected to rise. The cause remains unclear though locals believe heavy rains and lightning triggered it.

Currently Reading

It is wild that a major city like Mexico City is about to run out of water. We should all be freaking out about this!

I've been working on a story about migrants who take maritime routes and found this story from the Associated Press. It's a haunting read, by Edna Tarigan and Kristen Gelineua.

The Biden administration has a monumental task at hand: How does it respond to the growing fatal risk extreme heat poses? The New York Times has the story.


This post is for paying subscribers only

Already have an account? Sign in.