It has been just over two months since my last post and I wasn’t going to post anything today either but I felt it was important to share my support for Palestine on all my social media platforms. The sentiments below are what I shared on my Instagram last week, when I heard Gaza, the worlds largest open air prison, was once again being bombed by the Israeli occupation forces. Around 2.1 million people live in the Gaza which is about 365km squared, therefore it is one of the most densely populated places in the world. For the past 15 years Gaza has been under Israeli blockade, meaning the occupiers control everything that goes into and comes out of Gaza, including the water supply, food and healthcare. 64% of the households have food insecurity and unemployment is at 45%. Israel is an Apartheid state. Most recently Amnesty International published a report on Israel’s Apartheid policies, but most Human Rights organisations echo these sentiments. The regular bombardments of Gaza is referred to as ‘mowing the grass’ equating Palestinians to weeds, IN THEIR OWN LAND!! David M Weinberg, a former government analyst, wrote this dehumanising quote in the Jerusalem Post ‘If you fail to do so, weeds grow wild and snakes begin to slither around in the bush‘ . Imagine if these words were used to describe any other group of people, for example substitute Palestinian for Israeli, it would be an antiemetic hate crime! 16 Palestinian children were killed in the last week of attacks, and many more are in critical condition awaiting their fate. Israel targeted residential buildings and cemeteries, which in any other situation would have been called out as a war crime.. I know its hard to speak up against all the atrocities in the world, we’d have no time for any other conversations, but if you truly believe in Human Rights, if you believe that all people are born equal and have the right to live in dignity and peace, you must take a stance against the colonisation and illegal settlements that Israel continues to build in Palestine.
(from my Instagram post) Once again GAZA IS UNDER ATTACK. I just saw a video of a father carrying the body of his five year old daughter, after their RESIDENTIAL building was attacked by a war plane! Imagine how you would react if you saw that image of a young girl from Ukraine? Imagine what tomorrow’s newspapers might say? Would Liz Truss, potentially our next Prime Minister, urge us to take up arms against Israel? Would she encourage us to fight on the front line in Gaza, like she did in Ukraine?? I doubt it.
Gaza is under attack again, because Gazan’s and Palestinians refuse to bow to their oppressors. They refuse to give up their ancestral land and homes to the Israeli colonisers. Their existence is resistance.
In this space we celebrate so many worthy causes, for example I wanted to post about South Asian Heritage month today, but why do we do that? We are celebrating our freedom, our identities and our right to exist against the occupying forces who wanted to destroy us and our cultures and take our lands and our freedoms. But that’s still happening. Just ask the Palestinians.
Land is still be stolen, racist policies are still being used against indigenous people and children are still being put in cages. Our work is not done.
For Palestinians, resistance is their fight back, but what about us. Surely we can’t just condemn the horrors of history but turn a blind eye to exactly the same things happening today, just not to us. We need to be allies. We can’t go and throw stones at their tanks, but we can speak up, whether with our mouths or with our keyboards. We can show our support by supporting Palestinian activists. Amply them. Share their content, even if you don’t post on Instagram, actually ESPECIALLY, if you don’t usually post. Share a post. Don’t just browse and like, use your power wisely, be proactive and be pro-Palestine.
I’m not being dramatic when I say don’t let the blood of Palestinians be on your hands, because by not doing anything, you are on the side of the aggressors.
I wanted to recommend some books, nonfiction that I’ve extremely compelling in its arguments against illigal occuption and settler colonisation (if you really need to be convinced) and fiction which highlights the plight of the Palestinian people and their everyday lives dealing with issues such as trauma, being a refugee, and the struggle for independence and the right to return. Below are a few suggestions, but please feel free to add more in the comments and I have even more on my Instagram account.
Books – Nonfiction:
Going Home by Raja Shehadeh – Orwell Prize winning author Raja Shehadeh travels Ramallah and records the changing face of the city. Walking along the streets he grew up in, he tells the stories of the people, the relationships, the houses, and the businesses that were and now are cornerstones of the city and his community.
Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis – a collection of essays including some on Palestine ad why the freedom of Palestinians is one of our greatest moral struggles. My review for this book is up on my Instagram.
Orientalism by Edward W. Said – (from the back cover) In this highly-acclaimed work, Edward Said surveys the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, considering orientalism as a powerful European ideological creation – a way for writers, philosophers and colonial administrators to deal with the ‘otherness’ of eastern culture, customs and beliefs. He traces this view through the writings of Homer, Nerval and Flaubert, Disraeli and Kipling, whose imaginative depictions have greatly contributed to the West’s romantic and exotic picture of the Orient. Drawing on his own experiences as an Arab Palestinian living in the West, Said examines how these ideas can be a reflection of European imperialism and racism. Although this book was published in 1978, it is still incredibly relevant in understanding the current state of the world and Palestine in particular.
On Palestine by Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappe – you can read my full review of this amazing book here
Minor Detail by Adania Shibli – My full review of this book is on my Instagram but here’s the synopsis. Minor Detail begins during the summer of 1949, one year after the war that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba–the catastrophe that led to the displacement and exile of some 700,000 people–and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers murder an encampment of Bedouin in the Negev desert, and among their victims they capture a Palestinian teenager and they rape her, kill her, and bury her in the sand.
Many years later, in the near-present day, a young woman in Ramallah tries to uncover some of the details surrounding this particular rape and murder, and becomes fascinated to the point of obsession, not only because of the nature of the crime, but because it was committed exactly twenty-five years to the day before she was born
Thr Blue Between Sky and Water by Susan Abulhawa – Violently pushed from their ancient farming village of Beit Daras, a Palestinian family tries to reconstitute itself in a refugee camp in Gaza. Susan Abulhawa is probably one of my favourite Palestinian authors, her work includes Mornings in Jenin an absolutely incredible book.
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan – Salt Houses is a multi generational story about a Palestinian family living in the diaspora, after they are evicted from their family home in Yaffa during the Israeli assault and subsequent occupation. My full review can be found here.
Trees for the Absentees by Ahlam Bsharat – This is magical realism at its absolute best. Young love, meddling relatives, heart-to-hearts with friends real and imagined – Philistia’s world is that of an ordinary university student, except that in occupied Palestine, and when your father is in indefinite detention, nothing is straightforward.
The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah – A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter–radicalized by the online alt-right–attacks the school.
I know there are lots of other brilliant books, including many for younger reader, on Palestine, especially in the last few years. Please feel free to drop your reading suggestions in the comments below, but more importantly, please show up with your support for Palestine.