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Our Manifesto We are students united in the belief that justice will prevail where injustice has so long ruled.

To my father... To my mother’s soul The resistant wings that carry me through the bitterness of struggle

On our American campus we engage in the most fragile and frustrating of struggles. With the drop of a bomb, the construction of a new settlement, or the arrest of a political activist, occupying forces halfway across the world can instill helplessness and futility in our minds. They shake our belief that the pen may overcome the sword, question our faith in people power over military might. However, we will not give in. Though our composure may tremble beneath the bombardment of propaganda politics, our resolve will never crumble. We will resist oppression wherever we find it, whether at its outermost extremities or at its core, because we know our cause is just. We write in this publication with peace, justice, and equality for all people in our hearts. This is our manifesto: a collective voice calling for peace into the abyss of violence and drudgery. A publication for you, but also for ourselves, to look back on and know that we were not silent. Somewhere beyond our imperfect GPAs, recitations we missed, meetings we cried over, classes we dropped, we will know it was worth it. We transformed our knowledge of a textbook definition of justice into action. We want to look back and say, “We resisted, and it was beautiful.” In love and solidarity,

SJP March-2013


Our Manifesto We are students united in the belief that justice will prevail where injustice has so long ruled.

To my father... To my mother’s soul The resistant wings that carry me through the bitterness of struggle

On our American campus we engage in the most fragile and frustrating of struggles. With the drop of a bomb, the construction of a new settlement, or the arrest of a political activist, occupying forces halfway across the world can instill helplessness and futility in our minds. They shake our belief that the pen may overcome the sword, question our faith in people power over military might. However, we will not give in. Though our composure may tremble beneath the bombardment of propaganda politics, our resolve will never crumble. We will resist oppression wherever we find it, whether at its outermost extremities or at its core, because we know our cause is just. We write in this publication with peace, justice, and equality for all people in our hearts. This is our manifesto: a collective voice calling for peace into the abyss of violence and drudgery. A publication for you, but also for ourselves, to look back on and know that we were not silent. Somewhere beyond our imperfect GPAs, recitations we missed, meetings we cried over, classes we dropped, we will know it was worth it. We transformed our knowledge of a textbook definition of justice into action. We want to look back and say, “We resisted, and it was beautiful.” In love and solidarity,

SJP March-2013


Intifada, a Word Dylan Saba “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.” --Martin Luther King, Jr.

I

ntifada means ‘uprising’ in Arabic. Intifadas can be peaceful or violent, successful or futile, but the common thread among them is that they exist as a tool, often the only tool, with which the oppressed can combat their oppression. The American Civil Rights movement was an intifada. India won its independence from Great Britain through an intifada. What was once French Algeria is now simply Algeria, because of an intifada. The struggle against apartheid South Africa was an intifada. The ability to resist racism, colonialism, apartheid, or any other form of oppression is an inalienable right that must be protected as a bare minimum for the globally underprivileged. The question is not how do we avoid the intifada—the resistance, the revolution, the uprising of the oppressed--but it is instead: how do we make it beautiful, nonviolent, productive, and for the good of all? Let us not forget that often it is the case that privileged peoples dictate, limit, and in some cases completely eliminate the right of the oppressed to resist. In Palestine, young children who throw rocks at tanks and armored soldiers are arrested and tortured while their homes are systematically demolished in an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing. Pregnant mothers are forced, often fatally, to give birth at checkpoints, and nonviolent protesters are killed by Israeli forces. Settlements encroach upon Palestinian land, expanding, swallowing up their precious fading hope for a state, yet Palestinians who support a boycott of the state that sanctions their oppression are labeled anti-Semitic or enemies of peace. For they are told that there must be no intifada, that peace will come when they are well behaved, when they respect and legitimize their colonial oppressors--oppressors who maintain their system of subjugation through violence, political and structural racism. Let us not fall into the trap of playing by the rules as they are dictated by the oppressor. Let us reject violence in all forms while recognizing that violence is acted upon the powerless by the powerful. Let us not only recognize the right of the oppressed to defy, but let us also stand as allies in their struggle.

Dr. Weedo Carly Fuglei

Walid’s car needs new brake pads five hundred at least with the old transmission going too he can repair it himself but that means parts, time, and more gallons of sweat pooling at his feet. Dr. Weedo blasting debke through Ramadan traffic home the AC’s down again. Cigarette rinds compile throughout the stagnant drive while cars on cars exhaust the sky. If he knows one thing it’s rhyme how history ricochets off bullet bent walls. Walid has memorized its one repeating chorus no verse or bridge in sight.

He is proud of his graffiti fortress, marred by illustrious dreams of return by foreigners upon the walls. colorful children holding hands smiling: “peace culture” where culture insists an obligation to resist. Habibi can’t leave the beach. But in dreams he drives Weedo on the sea. His hubcaps shine and he’s rolling with the beat no sweat on moon soaked travels he wakes for work six a.m. six days a week-sure, he wants his freedom but mostly just reliable AC.


Intifada, a Word Dylan Saba “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.” --Martin Luther King, Jr.

I

ntifada means ‘uprising’ in Arabic. Intifadas can be peaceful or violent, successful or futile, but the common thread among them is that they exist as a tool, often the only tool, with which the oppressed can combat their oppression. The American Civil Rights movement was an intifada. India won its independence from Great Britain through an intifada. What was once French Algeria is now simply Algeria, because of an intifada. The struggle against apartheid South Africa was an intifada. The ability to resist racism, colonialism, apartheid, or any other form of oppression is an inalienable right that must be protected as a bare minimum for the globally underprivileged. The question is not how do we avoid the intifada—the resistance, the revolution, the uprising of the oppressed--but it is instead: how do we make it beautiful, nonviolent, productive, and for the good of all? Let us not forget that often it is the case that privileged peoples dictate, limit, and in some cases completely eliminate the right of the oppressed to resist. In Palestine, young children who throw rocks at tanks and armored soldiers are arrested and tortured while their homes are systematically demolished in an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing. Pregnant mothers are forced, often fatally, to give birth at checkpoints, and nonviolent protesters are killed by Israeli forces. Settlements encroach upon Palestinian land, expanding, swallowing up their precious fading hope for a state, yet Palestinians who support a boycott of the state that sanctions their oppression are labeled anti-Semitic or enemies of peace. For they are told that there must be no intifada, that peace will come when they are well behaved, when they respect and legitimize their colonial oppressors--oppressors who maintain their system of subjugation through violence, political and structural racism. Let us not fall into the trap of playing by the rules as they are dictated by the oppressor. Let us reject violence in all forms while recognizing that violence is acted upon the powerless by the powerful. Let us not only recognize the right of the oppressed to defy, but let us also stand as allies in their struggle.

Dr. Weedo Carly Fuglei

Walid’s car needs new brake pads five hundred at least with the old transmission going too he can repair it himself but that means parts, time, and more gallons of sweat pooling at his feet. Dr. Weedo blasting debke through Ramadan traffic home the AC’s down again. Cigarette rinds compile throughout the stagnant drive while cars on cars exhaust the sky. If he knows one thing it’s rhyme how history ricochets off bullet bent walls. Walid has memorized its one repeating chorus no verse or bridge in sight.

He is proud of his graffiti fortress, marred by illustrious dreams of return by foreigners upon the walls. colorful children holding hands smiling: “peace culture” where culture insists an obligation to resist. Habibi can’t leave the beach. But in dreams he drives Weedo on the sea. His hubcaps shine and he’s rolling with the beat no sweat on moon soaked travels he wakes for work six a.m. six days a week-sure, he wants his freedom but mostly just reliable AC.


This is the story of a name. Alexa Stevens

Hello, nice to meet you, I am Umm Ahlan. The name translates to something like Mother of Hellos, of Greetings. In Arabic, “ahlan” means hello, as part of the larger phrase “Ahlan wa sahlan.” This in turn comes from another phrase, meaning, “May you come as part of the family, and enter on an easy path.” This is said upon greeting someone: “Ahlan wa sahlan.” May you be a part of my family.

M

y Jiddu has a key. It’s old and rusty, and it seems out of place in Connecticut where he now lives. Like him, it yearns for Palestine.

I used to write to expose myself. I would sneak away by the light of my screen, typing away in the hopes that the secrets I committed to paper would be known one day. This was back in the days where all I wanted to do was make those around me happy, and all I felt was alone.

Every year on May 15, when Israel readies itself to celebrate Independence Day, I implore Israelis to remember that like a key or a beautiful memory, a celebration of independence can evoke pain and sorrow that the celebration implied by its name does not express. Palestinians

Eventually Word Documents weren’t enough. After a series of rainy afternoons hearing my Arabic teacher’s stories from Gaza, I finally saw. I felt fervor, disgust, terror, frustration, puzzlement, fear and the rest of the emotions of consciousness. I was alive. Though my heart beats nowhere near Palestine, as another human, I recognized that all was not right.

mean the creation of a Jewish homeland; rather, we mean the forced removal (through fear

being exposed to the truths and terrors of the world and exposing my own views, entities I whole collection of people who trusted the same truths I did. Perhaps Umm Ahlan fit after all; no longer are hellos my defense against commitment, rather my commitment is what makes me a part of the family. from exposing myself to others. Ahlan wa sahlan, may you come as part of the family, and enter on an easy path.

to the land so tightly that it required a brutal, ruthless, severing cut, rather than a methodical yet deceitful unwinding to separate these people from their homeland. Just as a key may lock us out of the very place we wish to enter or happy memories may become unbearable with the pain that ended them, independence is irrevocably stained by oppression and exodus. Celebrating independence each year will not erase its mutilated meaning for Palestinian citizens of ian refugees to return to their homes and establish a state of their own. The key remains in my hand; its cool metal sends shivers up my arm. “Why do you keep it?” I ask my Jiddu. “I don’t keep it,” he replies, “it just never left.” —Hani Azzam


This is the story of a name. Alexa Stevens

Hello, nice to meet you, I am Umm Ahlan. The name translates to something like Mother of Hellos, of Greetings. In Arabic, “ahlan” means hello, as part of the larger phrase “Ahlan wa sahlan.” This in turn comes from another phrase, meaning, “May you come as part of the family, and enter on an easy path.” This is said upon greeting someone: “Ahlan wa sahlan.” May you be a part of my family.

M

y Jiddu has a key. It’s old and rusty, and it seems out of place in Connecticut where he now lives. Like him, it yearns for Palestine.

I used to write to expose myself. I would sneak away by the light of my screen, typing away in the hopes that the secrets I committed to paper would be known one day. This was back in the days where all I wanted to do was make those around me happy, and all I felt was alone.

Every year on May 15, when Israel readies itself to celebrate Independence Day, I implore Israelis to remember that like a key or a beautiful memory, a celebration of independence can evoke pain and sorrow that the celebration implied by its name does not express. Palestinians

Eventually Word Documents weren’t enough. After a series of rainy afternoons hearing my Arabic teacher’s stories from Gaza, I finally saw. I felt fervor, disgust, terror, frustration, puzzlement, fear and the rest of the emotions of consciousness. I was alive. Though my heart beats nowhere near Palestine, as another human, I recognized that all was not right.

mean the creation of a Jewish homeland; rather, we mean the forced removal (through fear

being exposed to the truths and terrors of the world and exposing my own views, entities I whole collection of people who trusted the same truths I did. Perhaps Umm Ahlan fit after all; no longer are hellos my defense against commitment, rather my commitment is what makes me a part of the family. from exposing myself to others. Ahlan wa sahlan, may you come as part of the family, and enter on an easy path.

to the land so tightly that it required a brutal, ruthless, severing cut, rather than a methodical yet deceitful unwinding to separate these people from their homeland. Just as a key may lock us out of the very place we wish to enter or happy memories may become unbearable with the pain that ended them, independence is irrevocably stained by oppression and exodus. Celebrating independence each year will not erase its mutilated meaning for Palestinian citizens of ian refugees to return to their homes and establish a state of their own. The key remains in my hand; its cool metal sends shivers up my arm. “Why do you keep it?” I ask my Jiddu. “I don’t keep it,” he replies, “it just never left.” —Hani Azzam


I

grew up going to temple twice a week, unaware of the existence of the Palestinian people. I spent many family dinners nodding along with my grandparents while they blamed anti-Semitic terrorists, who fire ramshackle rockets at the empty deserts outside of Tel Aviv from a mysterious territory, for 9/11.

As a junior in high school I experienced a profound moment of epiphany when, in a town just outside of San Salvador, I found myself face to face with a Salvadoran woman wearing a Palestinian flag. She was bemoaning U.S. funding of the Israeli Defense Forces. My time in El Salvador already outraged me over neo-liberalism and the injustices plaguing Central America as a result of my country’s policies. Suddenly, I found myself aware of the global scope and the persistence of these injustices. The experience opened my eyes to the act of colonization taking place in Palestine. This resilient Salvadoran woman awakened me to the systemic denial of the existence of Palestine and the subsequent appropriation of Palestinian culture. She articulated the unsettling similarities between Israel’s current policies and the colonialism that wiped America clean of the indigenous people who were rooted to the land far before any Europeans arrived. I realized Palestinians had existed and thrived centuries before the construction of simulated reality upon a foundation of genocide and delusion. The encounter left me confused and angry, I was tempted to push away what I had learned rather than to confront such complexities. But with time, a little more research and a few more conversations I was able to feel empathy, connection and solidarity with a people whose existence I grew up denying. When I went away to college I wanted to do something. I wanted to tell the world about the injustices that are made possible by our tax money and propagated in the name of the religion in which I grew up. Luckily, what I found does exactly that, and does it peacefully, thoughtfully and effectively— SJP. —Sophia Goodfriend

M

y family belongs to the Palestinian diaspora, but discussion about Palestine is strategically avoided. When I came to Tufts, my mom urged me to “stay away from those activists.” But when I visited my grandmother last Thanksgiving, I asked her about her time in Palestine. Though she was hesitant at first, she eventually opened up and told me the story of her own mother who tried to flee to Jordan during the ‘67 war in the passenger seat of her neighbor’s car. My grandmother explained how her mother never made it across the border; near the Dead Sea valley, an Israeli fighter jet destroyed the vehicle. Studying my grandmother’s eyes and hearing the cracks in her voice, I knew I had a responsibility to her. As Students for Justice in Palestine, our mission is to give a voice to the Palestinian people: a voice for those that have been suppressed; a voice for those who have been disregarded; a voice for those who have perished; a voice for my great-grandmother. —Tarek Makawi


I

grew up going to temple twice a week, unaware of the existence of the Palestinian people. I spent many family dinners nodding along with my grandparents while they blamed anti-Semitic terrorists, who fire ramshackle rockets at the empty deserts outside of Tel Aviv from a mysterious territory, for 9/11.

As a junior in high school I experienced a profound moment of epiphany when, in a town just outside of San Salvador, I found myself face to face with a Salvadoran woman wearing a Palestinian flag. She was bemoaning U.S. funding of the Israeli Defense Forces. My time in El Salvador already outraged me over neo-liberalism and the injustices plaguing Central America as a result of my country’s policies. Suddenly, I found myself aware of the global scope and the persistence of these injustices. The experience opened my eyes to the act of colonization taking place in Palestine. This resilient Salvadoran woman awakened me to the systemic denial of the existence of Palestine and the subsequent appropriation of Palestinian culture. She articulated the unsettling similarities between Israel’s current policies and the colonialism that wiped America clean of the indigenous people who were rooted to the land far before any Europeans arrived. I realized Palestinians had existed and thrived centuries before the construction of simulated reality upon a foundation of genocide and delusion. The encounter left me confused and angry, I was tempted to push away what I had learned rather than to confront such complexities. But with time, a little more research and a few more conversations I was able to feel empathy, connection and solidarity with a people whose existence I grew up denying. When I went away to college I wanted to do something. I wanted to tell the world about the injustices that are made possible by our tax money and propagated in the name of the religion in which I grew up. Luckily, what I found does exactly that, and does it peacefully, thoughtfully and effectively— SJP. —Sophia Goodfriend

M

y family belongs to the Palestinian diaspora, but discussion about Palestine is strategically avoided. When I came to Tufts, my mom urged me to “stay away from those activists.” But when I visited my grandmother last Thanksgiving, I asked her about her time in Palestine. Though she was hesitant at first, she eventually opened up and told me the story of her own mother who tried to flee to Jordan during the ‘67 war in the passenger seat of her neighbor’s car. My grandmother explained how her mother never made it across the border; near the Dead Sea valley, an Israeli fighter jet destroyed the vehicle. Studying my grandmother’s eyes and hearing the cracks in her voice, I knew I had a responsibility to her. As Students for Justice in Palestine, our mission is to give a voice to the Palestinian people: a voice for those that have been suppressed; a voice for those who have been disregarded; a voice for those who have perished; a voice for my great-grandmother. —Tarek Makawi


P? J S hy

W

As a Chicana, I believe that the struggles of my Palestinian brothers and sisters are all too similar to those of my ancestors. Juntos venceremos. —Lupita Dominguez

I know that I am a Palestinian with a history, a land, and ancestors — although I have often been told otherwise. —Bader Abu Eid

It’s an electrifying experience to be surrounded by people with such a strong commitment to exposing and combating injustice, and it’s an experience to which I’ve become totally addicted. SJP till the day that I die!

As an American, observing my own freedom means actualizing that right for all people.

When I bring up the topic of Palestine among my Jewish family, their gut reaction is to act as if I had somehow betrayed my heritage or culture. I am in SJP to change this dynamic and help show that Judaism and Zionism are not the same. —Jeremy Goldman

I stand with the Palestinian struggle for justice because I know that the vitality of humanity is diametrically opposed to imprisonment and that all systems deriving their power from oppression, racism, or misogyny are not only unsustainable, but unjust. —Matthew Parsons Because I believe in human rights and justice for ALL, not just for SOME. Because I value “tikkun olam,” the Jewish concept of healing the world. Because I am an American Jew and want to actively challenge my position of privilege. —Anna Furman


P? J S hy

W

As a Chicana, I believe that the struggles of my Palestinian brothers and sisters are all too similar to those of my ancestors. Juntos venceremos. —Lupita Dominguez

I know that I am a Palestinian with a history, a land, and ancestors — although I have often been told otherwise. —Bader Abu Eid

It’s an electrifying experience to be surrounded by people with such a strong commitment to exposing and combating injustice, and it’s an experience to which I’ve become totally addicted. SJP till the day that I die!

As an American, observing my own freedom means actualizing that right for all people.

When I bring up the topic of Palestine among my Jewish family, their gut reaction is to act as if I had somehow betrayed my heritage or culture. I am in SJP to change this dynamic and help show that Judaism and Zionism are not the same. —Jeremy Goldman

I stand with the Palestinian struggle for justice because I know that the vitality of humanity is diametrically opposed to imprisonment and that all systems deriving their power from oppression, racism, or misogyny are not only unsustainable, but unjust. —Matthew Parsons Because I believe in human rights and justice for ALL, not just for SOME. Because I value “tikkun olam,” the Jewish concept of healing the world. Because I am an American Jew and want to actively challenge my position of privilege. —Anna Furman


“Poor boy loved her” My aunt told me years later Lina was a rebel A girl of fifteen Bringing all the girls from her school To my father’s boys school Giving birth to a political party Of school children Al-Sanabel The ears of wheat The congregation of wild fauna Hurled stony pieces of Earth At the sleek, green metal of tanks Until golden bullets That dispersed the pollen And caused the sneeze Were hurled back Lina was a child Running to my father’s house For shelter For protection Shimmering darts studded Her blue school uniform Staining that spring day With a premature autumn

Folksongs Tamara Masri The curfew had ended weeks ago But the car still felt like a novelty Driving along the upturned roads We were free My father and I Singing songs Of land Of love Of revolution Of tomorrow Of the better days We have never known

One morning I recited the words I learned in class the day before

Lina was a child She ate her dinner Lina fell Her blood spilled We used to sing We used to sing My father ran a stop sign And for the only time in my life Told me to stop singing

She couldn’t run through door Fast enough to escape the Sudden change of season My father watched As her veins lost their red petals Covering his house steps Dark was the night As the blindfold tightened around My father’s beating temple In a solitary prison cell Who will lift the blindfold

Allowing him to look out And see her fifteen-year old bones Float to the heavens? *** Across an ocean I hear the sounds of a new alphabet Casual, controlled, collateral tones Vibrating the wheat tucked Behind my ear Tell me again Why I have a different birthright In this sliver of the universe Listening to talk of your security Forgive me if my eyes glaze over I’ve gone to the wheat field That Lina planted for me Only I am standing Safe under the night’s blanket Singing slow folksongs Tying invisible threads Connecting the sky’s burning bulbs Lina was a child Watching over Her lost daughter You won’t find her Through the crisp focused lens Of that telescope they gave you As targets cannot calculate The “complexities” Of this harsh galaxy When will I find The bits of science and statistics And assemble them into A sterile textbook mosaic


“Poor boy loved her” My aunt told me years later Lina was a rebel A girl of fifteen Bringing all the girls from her school To my father’s boys school Giving birth to a political party Of school children Al-Sanabel The ears of wheat The congregation of wild fauna Hurled stony pieces of Earth At the sleek, green metal of tanks Until golden bullets That dispersed the pollen And caused the sneeze Were hurled back Lina was a child Running to my father’s house For shelter For protection Shimmering darts studded Her blue school uniform Staining that spring day With a premature autumn

Folksongs Tamara Masri The curfew had ended weeks ago But the car still felt like a novelty Driving along the upturned roads We were free My father and I Singing songs Of land Of love Of revolution Of tomorrow Of the better days We have never known

One morning I recited the words I learned in class the day before

Lina was a child She ate her dinner Lina fell Her blood spilled We used to sing We used to sing My father ran a stop sign And for the only time in my life Told me to stop singing

She couldn’t run through door Fast enough to escape the Sudden change of season My father watched As her veins lost their red petals Covering his house steps Dark was the night As the blindfold tightened around My father’s beating temple In a solitary prison cell Who will lift the blindfold

Allowing him to look out And see her fifteen-year old bones Float to the heavens? *** Across an ocean I hear the sounds of a new alphabet Casual, controlled, collateral tones Vibrating the wheat tucked Behind my ear Tell me again Why I have a different birthright In this sliver of the universe Listening to talk of your security Forgive me if my eyes glaze over I’ve gone to the wheat field That Lina planted for me Only I am standing Safe under the night’s blanket Singing slow folksongs Tying invisible threads Connecting the sky’s burning bulbs Lina was a child Watching over Her lost daughter You won’t find her Through the crisp focused lens Of that telescope they gave you As targets cannot calculate The “complexities” Of this harsh galaxy When will I find The bits of science and statistics And assemble them into A sterile textbook mosaic


To brighten the blacker mysteries That lie beneath That will convince you to look up To drop that acute Target-maker Cold, cowardly machine And stand next to me On this cold ground Where we can create warmth For all On this even patch of Earth

My name is Um Khas. Caitlin Doucette

And so can we not String our calcium constellations Into a luminous chandelier Made of the minerals we lost?

All of a sudden, my name is Um Khas.

Dark was the night Cold was the ground And so it will remain

“How the fuck did I get here?”

***

Until the solar systems Within our cells Give birth to new bones

Man has always rearranged The stars’ formations Into fixtures of cosmic consolation

We shall become Resplendent in the darkness Unafraid of the borderless

And all of a sudden, I am holding a megaphone and screaming in Arabic and my new name means Mother of Lettuce.

It is not every day that your name changes to Mother of Lettuce and there’s one styrofoam wall and one wall of people behind you and you find yourself stirring up the Fight for the Cause of Causes that you knew nothing about just one year ago. “What am I doing?”

“Where the hell am I?”

I dazedly pass the microphone to the next worthy Chanter of Chants and there is an attack of a blinding, deafening blanket of silence and stillness in my head. And then I remember how Dear Friend described another deafening blanket of destruction, followed by silence, followed by cries and screams and death, panic, shock, rubble. And I remember the pictures of the tanks on his street, a 12 year old whose mother crafted a contingency plan for confrontations with snipers on his way to school (what 6th grader should have a sniper-backup plan?), and I remember the taxi driver who wanted to go “home” to a land he was never allowed to step foot in and the tragedy in his eyes and on his tongue, and I remember when I realized that a colonial settler state has no place in our world, my world. This is why I will not be silent. My name is Um Khas. And I will scream and stomp and hold more Red Megaphones, even if it freaks the shit out of me, because I am one hundred percent sure that we are one hundred percent right in demanding an end to the hiding, the lying, the indoctrination, the silencing.


To brighten the blacker mysteries That lie beneath That will convince you to look up To drop that acute Target-maker Cold, cowardly machine And stand next to me On this cold ground Where we can create warmth For all On this even patch of Earth

My name is Um Khas. Caitlin Doucette

And so can we not String our calcium constellations Into a luminous chandelier Made of the minerals we lost?

All of a sudden, my name is Um Khas.

Dark was the night Cold was the ground And so it will remain

“How the fuck did I get here?”

***

Until the solar systems Within our cells Give birth to new bones

Man has always rearranged The stars’ formations Into fixtures of cosmic consolation

We shall become Resplendent in the darkness Unafraid of the borderless

And all of a sudden, I am holding a megaphone and screaming in Arabic and my new name means Mother of Lettuce.

It is not every day that your name changes to Mother of Lettuce and there’s one styrofoam wall and one wall of people behind you and you find yourself stirring up the Fight for the Cause of Causes that you knew nothing about just one year ago. “What am I doing?”

“Where the hell am I?”

I dazedly pass the microphone to the next worthy Chanter of Chants and there is an attack of a blinding, deafening blanket of silence and stillness in my head. And then I remember how Dear Friend described another deafening blanket of destruction, followed by silence, followed by cries and screams and death, panic, shock, rubble. And I remember the pictures of the tanks on his street, a 12 year old whose mother crafted a contingency plan for confrontations with snipers on his way to school (what 6th grader should have a sniper-backup plan?), and I remember the taxi driver who wanted to go “home” to a land he was never allowed to step foot in and the tragedy in his eyes and on his tongue, and I remember when I realized that a colonial settler state has no place in our world, my world. This is why I will not be silent. My name is Um Khas. And I will scream and stomp and hold more Red Megaphones, even if it freaks the shit out of me, because I am one hundred percent sure that we are one hundred percent right in demanding an end to the hiding, the lying, the indoctrination, the silencing.


(…) a great miracle here the living are dying and the dying living

Gaza: 4 Years Later

a festival of lights a strip a land a blaze

Lucas Koerner a casting of lead upon children their heads roll off their shoulders into streets their tops spin in hands Without overstatement, Israel’s massacre in Gaza was, for me, an earthquake at the level of ethico-political consciousness. This is not to suggest that I was politically uninitiated prior: I spent my 15th and 16th birthdays protesting the US occupation of Iraq, and I wrote a thesis on

O

sassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who was reportedly on the verge of negotiating a permanent ceasefire, the Israeli military commenced its latest bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in which half of the population of 1.5 million are under the age of 18 and almost 80% live below the poverty line [1]. Yet this time, I felt not only visceral shock and outrage, but déjà vu. Just like four years ago, I was again witness to an unspeakable horror unfolding before my eyes, which despite my anguish and fury, I was powerless to stop. In December 2008-January 2009, after violating the ceasefire agreement, Israeli bombarded and invaded Gaza, killing over 1400 Palestinians, the majority civilians, including at least 320 children, according to B’Tselem.[2] A junior in high school at the time, I was profoundly shaken by the callous savagery of “Operation Cast Lead” which only the poetry of Suheir Hammad adequately captures:

Indeed the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, murdering hundreds of thousands of people, sacrificed to the gods of “full-spectrum dominance” and geopolitics. The difference now was that my eyes were fully open, and I saw what I could not unsee: 23 days of concentrated mass slaughter of a population, caged like animals, with a median age the same as my own changed me forever. As Marx put it, I had long contemplated the situation in Palestine/Israel; now was the time to act. I founded a Palestine solidarity group at my high school, joined a chapter of American Jews for a Just Peace, and went on to help found an SJP chapter at my university. In short, Palestine became my raison d’être and Gaza especially my principal moral referent. Certainly my newfound commitment to Palestine was in part a reclaiming of my Jewish identity, which had been always been denied to me on account of my anti-Zionism and marginality from the Jewish establishment. To this day, I am guided by the realization that Jewish freedom is forever incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians. Only by liberating ourselves from our colonial oppressor roles can we ever truly be free of internalized anti-Semitism: the imperative to dominate is very much a symptom of our internalized oppression as a historically oppressed people. of my Jewish heritage. What is so compelling yet so heartbreaking about Gaza as the planet’s largest prison is not its particularity but its universality. Gaza is for me a symbol for the kind of apartheid that has come to characterize our world in the age of postmodern capitalism, from the teeming prisons that warehouse “surplus” humanity to the new ghettos and urban geographies of exclusion to the walls, concrete and socioeconomic, which separate haves from have-nots. Therefore, in the wake of the latest round of devastation and collective punishment wrought by the Israeli military in Gaza, I arrive at one conclusion: humanity will not be free without the freedom of our brothers and sisters in Gaza (and Palestine as a whole), and Gaza will not see true liberation until every last one of the prisons, ghettos, and walls that segregate and incarcerate people of color and the poor globally come resolutely crashing down.


(…) a great miracle here the living are dying and the dying living

Gaza: 4 Years Later

a festival of lights a strip a land a blaze

Lucas Koerner a casting of lead upon children their heads roll off their shoulders into streets their tops spin in hands Without overstatement, Israel’s massacre in Gaza was, for me, an earthquake at the level of ethico-political consciousness. This is not to suggest that I was politically uninitiated prior: I spent my 15th and 16th birthdays protesting the US occupation of Iraq, and I wrote a thesis on

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sassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who was reportedly on the verge of negotiating a permanent ceasefire, the Israeli military commenced its latest bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in which half of the population of 1.5 million are under the age of 18 and almost 80% live below the poverty line [1]. Yet this time, I felt not only visceral shock and outrage, but déjà vu. Just like four years ago, I was again witness to an unspeakable horror unfolding before my eyes, which despite my anguish and fury, I was powerless to stop. In December 2008-January 2009, after violating the ceasefire agreement, Israeli bombarded and invaded Gaza, killing over 1400 Palestinians, the majority civilians, including at least 320 children, according to B’Tselem.[2] A junior in high school at the time, I was profoundly shaken by the callous savagery of “Operation Cast Lead” which only the poetry of Suheir Hammad adequately captures:

Indeed the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, murdering hundreds of thousands of people, sacrificed to the gods of “full-spectrum dominance” and geopolitics. The difference now was that my eyes were fully open, and I saw what I could not unsee: 23 days of concentrated mass slaughter of a population, caged like animals, with a median age the same as my own changed me forever. As Marx put it, I had long contemplated the situation in Palestine/Israel; now was the time to act. I founded a Palestine solidarity group at my high school, joined a chapter of American Jews for a Just Peace, and went on to help found an SJP chapter at my university. In short, Palestine became my raison d’être and Gaza especially my principal moral referent. Certainly my newfound commitment to Palestine was in part a reclaiming of my Jewish identity, which had been always been denied to me on account of my anti-Zionism and marginality from the Jewish establishment. To this day, I am guided by the realization that Jewish freedom is forever incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians. Only by liberating ourselves from our colonial oppressor roles can we ever truly be free of internalized anti-Semitism: the imperative to dominate is very much a symptom of our internalized oppression as a historically oppressed people. of my Jewish heritage. What is so compelling yet so heartbreaking about Gaza as the planet’s largest prison is not its particularity but its universality. Gaza is for me a symbol for the kind of apartheid that has come to characterize our world in the age of postmodern capitalism, from the teeming prisons that warehouse “surplus” humanity to the new ghettos and urban geographies of exclusion to the walls, concrete and socioeconomic, which separate haves from have-nots. Therefore, in the wake of the latest round of devastation and collective punishment wrought by the Israeli military in Gaza, I arrive at one conclusion: humanity will not be free without the freedom of our brothers and sisters in Gaza (and Palestine as a whole), and Gaza will not see true liberation until every last one of the prisons, ghettos, and walls that segregate and incarcerate people of color and the poor globally come resolutely crashing down.


Instagram Molly Goodell An instagram made waves today the crosshairs of a sniper’s sight, lingered on a young boy’s life. How long until our anger fades away? In Palestine a man is hauled away filming peaceful protests through the broken cameras’ crystal view. And violence is wrong, we say. But fathers who are sons are terrorists are numbers on the screen. the Death tolls just distract; it’s defense that the bombs display. We compromise all that we say forcing narratives to split in two we choose the side of none. Convictions fade to shades of gray. The bulldozers are on their way to tear the olive trees from roots, and any outstretched branches —unsurprisingly— decay. An instagram made waves today the crosshairs of a sniper’s sight, lingered on a young boy’s life not long until our anger fades away.

A Note about the Cover: Hallie Gluk

When discussing ideas for a cover image, a good friend showed me a series of photographs she’d found of women in Gaza, dating back sometime prior to 1948. Melancholy relics of the past, the foreign faces stamped on grainy film were unfamiliar to me. But these women were exceptionally striking. The ornamentation, beadwork, and embroidery I’d seen in isolated ways, on a bag or “costume.” But never all together, draping a baby and back dropped by palms. My friend, who’s from Palestine, remarked, “it’s so surprising to see women in Gaza looking this way … with their hair exposed and dressed like this. It even looks exotic to me, and that’s my culture.” I’d never thought too much about what a privilege it is to have an immaculately preserved personal history. But the potency of these photos, their inevitable “exotic” quality, is reflective of cultural suffocation. Along with their land, Palestinians are robbed of their history. “This kind of cultural orphaning,” my friend remarked, “is a strand of the most wretched violence you can inflict on a people.” I was hesitant to use these images, wary of insensitive appropriation. I am not Palestinian, what right ic book character? But my approach became deeply personal. I can do little to preserve Palestine’s history, but I can stitch these women into my own. Draw on a pair of go-go boots and invest some supernatural power in my own, pathetic, childish way. The Great Cultural Excavator, I’ll call her.

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Instagram Molly Goodell An instagram made waves today the crosshairs of a sniper’s sight, lingered on a young boy’s life. How long until our anger fades away? In Palestine a man is hauled away filming peaceful protests through the broken cameras’ crystal view. And violence is wrong, we say. But fathers who are sons are terrorists are numbers on the screen. the Death tolls just distract; it’s defense that the bombs display. We compromise all that we say forcing narratives to split in two we choose the side of none. Convictions fade to shades of gray. The bulldozers are on their way to tear the olive trees from roots, and any outstretched branches —unsurprisingly— decay. An instagram made waves today the crosshairs of a sniper’s sight, lingered on a young boy’s life not long until our anger fades away.

A Note about the Cover: Hallie Gluk

When discussing ideas for a cover image, a good friend showed me a series of photographs she’d found of women in Gaza, dating back sometime prior to 1948. Melancholy relics of the past, the foreign faces stamped on grainy film were unfamiliar to me. But these women were exceptionally striking. The ornamentation, beadwork, and embroidery I’d seen in isolated ways, on a bag or “costume.” But never all together, draping a baby and back dropped by palms. My friend, who’s from Palestine, remarked, “it’s so surprising to see women in Gaza looking this way … with their hair exposed and dressed like this. It even looks exotic to me, and that’s my culture.” I’d never thought too much about what a privilege it is to have an immaculately preserved personal history. But the potency of these photos, their inevitable “exotic” quality, is reflective of cultural suffocation. Along with their land, Palestinians are robbed of their history. “This kind of cultural orphaning,” my friend remarked, “is a strand of the most wretched violence you can inflict on a people.” I was hesitant to use these images, wary of insensitive appropriation. I am not Palestinian, what right ic book character? But my approach became deeply personal. I can do little to preserve Palestine’s history, but I can stitch these women into my own. Draw on a pair of go-go boots and invest some supernatural power in my own, pathetic, childish way. The Great Cultural Excavator, I’ll call her.

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SJP

The Zintifada  
The Zintifada  

An Independent Publication by Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine

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