Toronto musician Mustafa has posted an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pleading with him to support the people of Palestine and “defy this active genocide and imprisonment that is levelling Gaza.” This comes after Israel declared a state of war against Hamas on Oct. 9.
Mustafa, then going by Mustafa The Poet, met the prime minister at a Black liberation event and eventually served as the Ontario representative in Trudeau’s youth council 10 years ago. Calling Trudeau his “old acquaintance,” Mustafa asks him to fight for the lives of Palestinian civilians, in particular the women and children, affected by Israel’s offensive.
The artist highlights Canada’s own past with colonial oppression. Mustafa asks Trudeau to join past leaders like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu on “the right side of history in the liberation of Palestine.”
My (now) open letter to an old acquaintance; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau- on Palestine, genocide, & our indigenous population pic.twitter.com/7Nqhemf7Up
— Mustafa (@MustafaThePoet) October 16, 2023
Read Mustafa’s full letter below:
We met a decade ago, to jog your memory we participated in an event for black liberation together before you were the prime minister of Canada.
When you were appointed prime minister, I served on the first ever youth council as your Ontario rep., we travelled this endless country together in search of some semblance of democracy.. You have your flaws in leadership, but in our time together I sensed a heart in you.
I know you have a political & economic responsibility to Israel. I remember our time in Calgary was clipped because you had to immediately fly to Tel Aviv for the funeral of war criminal Ariel Sharon. I knew and you knew there was no say in the matter of your attendance for this man you did not know.
I’m asking you to use the same tongue that defended Israel & condemned Hamas to defy this active genocide and imprisonment that is levelling Gaza, that is burying & disfiguring children and women.
I’m asking you to use our people’s tax dollars that have been exhausted to support the most funded & violent state in the world to also protect the relentlessly tormented people of Palestine.
So much of our time together was about undoing the iniquities that were done to our Indigenous population, a hopeless pursuit for this already stolen land — for the decades and decades of ethnic cleansing that they’re still recovering from, how could we ever undo what can’t be forgiven or rectified?
A century from now, when they contemplate your legacy Prime Minister, will you be recalled as a custodian of this unforgivable genocide, this ethnic cleansing, this stolen land? Your battle here in Canada will have been for nothing.
Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, join these respected leaders on the right side of history in the liberation of Palestine.
Solidarity with the oppressed and the erased,
Regent Park, Toronto
Hours after Mustafa posted his letter on X, an air raid struck a Gaza hospital, killing at least 500 people. This prompted Trudeau to tweet about the tragedy, stating accountability must be held for those responsible.
I’m horrified by the loss of life at Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza. My thoughts are with those who lost loved ones. It is imperative that innocent civilians be protected and international law upheld. Together, we must determine what happened. There must be accountability.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 18, 2023
Mustafa has also released the first song, “Name of God” from of his upcoming full-length album debut. A devout Muslim himself, Mustafa reflects on the loss of his brother and his relationship with God.
In true Mustafa fashion, this single also came with a heartfelt message in his own words:
I never felt like the Nubian prince my father seen in me through his tinted lens. I try their dance, their prayer- I always fall short.
& Gods name wasn’t always related to beauty for me, but to hopelessness, this Islam we share and Allah we call for while witnessing a constant violence that continues to
bind us, I don’t think I ever felt completely Muslim among other Muslims,
All these sub-beliefs like borders. My aunts in all their wisdom and narrowness-one Sufi spinning into remembrance, one refuting the taking of a photograph.
When my big brother was killed in what will always feel like yesterday, knowing the suspected murderer was someone he held as a friend, someone he prayed with- it led me to believe that maybe his love was his end? Maybe where there is no love, parting from love keeps us alive? Maybe ending in love is the only way to actually begin? I don’t know.
The only clear memory from the days of his death were my parents reciting in unison, “oh Allah, we accept his passing, we accept what you ordained.”
I’m desperate to love God like them.
Our faith and our hearts are too often our demise- I know a field of young niggas dreaming that can testify to this. For better or worse we’ll uncover every bone beneath our hollow laughter, our confused affection; maybe its revealed in our final gasp for meaning.
Bismillah, In the Name of God, 10.17.23
Mustafa recently made an appearance during the Daniel Caesar Toronto show on Oct.13. Alongside Charlotte Day Wilson and Caesar, Mustafa performed “Old Man’ by Neil Young in an unconventional encore broadcast live from the green room at Scotiabank Arena.
This article was originally published by Billboard Canada.
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