The Black community’s struggle against police brutality in the U.S. has received support from a powerful source, as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, sent out a series of English-language tweets drawing a connection between the police gunning down Black people in the U.S. and the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom and self-determination against Israel.
Using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, Khamenei reached across the globe to link the struggle of Black and brown peoples in two different lands, demonstrating that the fight against white supremacy might take different forms in the U.S. and Israel but in many ways it is the same fight.
Khamenei has used his Twitter account over the last several months to repeatedly lash the U.S. for its hypocrisy in condemning other nations for human rights abuses while it oppresses Black people on its own shores.
In one of his more powerful tweets, the 75-year-old cleric used Christmas Eve to draw a crucial connection for Christians, saying,”If #Jesus were among us today he wouldn’t spare a second to fight the arrogants&support the oppressed.#Ferguson #Gaza”
As he does with many of his tweets, Khamenei used the hashtag #Ferguson.
Though Iran has a president, Hassan Rouhani, the president still answers to Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. In 2012, Forbes selected Khamenei 21st in its list of the World’s Most Powerful People.
Khamenei actually served as President of Iran himself, from 1981-1989 during the Iran-Iraq War, answering to the powerful Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He became Supreme Leader himself in 1989 after Khomeini’s death.
Khamenei has been using Twitter for several years to comment on world affairs. During the Occupy protests in 2011 demonstrating against the U.S.’s oligarchic wealth inequality, Khamenei grandly predicted the Occupy movement would take down the entire capitalist system.
After the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson led to nationwide protests, Khamenei tweeted, “Today like previous years, African-Americans are still under pressure, oppressed and subjected to discrimination. #Ferguson”
After the grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson, he wrote, “At events in #Ferguson US is fighting w its ppl. #BlackLivesMatter”
He has used Twitter to castigate Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians on a regular basis, at one point comparing Israel to the Nazis.
“If #Jesus (pbuh) were among us today, he wouldn’t tolerate hunger of billions and warmongering of big powers. #Ferguson #Palestine,” he tweeted.
“The US govt has subjugated a great nation w massive resources to a criminal regime like #Israel.10/31/12 #Ferguson,” he wrote in another tweet.
“The day when American nation realize their socioeconomic problems stem from domination of #Israel over their govt, what’ll happen? #Ferguson,” he asked.
He went hard at the U.S. when the Torture Report was released showing brutal CIA atrocities committed against detainees, once again linking it to Ferguson.
“Today,US govt. is symbol of tyranny against humanity;even American ppl are faced w cruelty #ToutureReport #HumanRightsDay #Ferguson,” he tweeted.