Oct. 27th, 2015 04:00 pm
ajnabieh: Protesters in Times Square, holding a banner reading "New York To Gaza" in front of a neon McDonalds. (gaza)
هوية - hawiyya (n): essence, nature; co-essentiality, consubstantiality; identity; identity card

(From the Hans Wehr dictionary of modern Arabic)

Bethlehem in August.  Marhaba, I say to the man in the cell phone store.  Hal 'aindak SIM card?

Yes, I have, he says.  Passport?

Oh.  I left it in my hotel.  So I can come back.

Yes, he says, then, wait.  You have…he struggles for the word.  Hawiyya?

Eh, I say, yes, I have hawiyya.  Min Kanada, eh?

Eh, he says, and takes my drivers' license to be copied.


We used to travel on our hawiyya, my research assistant says, as we lock our passports (hers Canadian, mine American) into the hotel safe in Beirut.  Once, we were coming here to see family, and the Syrians--it was the Syrians at the airport then--the Syrians stopped us as we were passing through.  They argued and shouted with my father and then, the soldier, he threw the hawiyya across the floor, away from us, to go pick them up.  I was young.  I just remember the shouting.

We traveled on our Canadian passports after that,
she says, and laughs, because it isn't funny.


You know, I had limits on what I can do, says the professor, screening her film footage, working through theory for us.  When I was collecting the data.  I still have the hawiyya, you know.


At the activist meeting, I am listening to two members of the group I study talking.  An older woman recounts being shouted at by someone attending the event she was protesting.  The first thing he asked you is where you're from, the other activist said.  Like a solider! Hawiyya!

She shrugged.  He doesn't need to know the whole story.


I am twenty three and in a service between Bethlehem and Qalandiya checkpoint.  A knot of soldiers appear on the road, stop the service.  Hawiyya, they say.  When I and the other women in the service reach for our purses, they say, bas al-shabaab.  Seeing I'm unclear, seeing the blue passport between my fingers, they say, just the young men.  My passport stays in my bag.  We all stay in the service.  We continue to Bethlehem. 


It takes three tries for the scanner in the cell phone shop to copy my license.  The owner cuts the card to fit my iPhone, puts the credit on, takes my forty shekels.  He hands me back the extra copies at the end.  For you, he says, and puts my hawiyya in my hands. 


(eh - 'yes' in colloquial Arabic.  Any puns with the Canadian 'eh' are accidental but hilarious.)

(service - shared taxi, pronounced ser-VEES.)


(hello yes, this is me trying to get back into blogging, how ya doin')

ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
My review of Wendy Pearlman's Violence, Non-Violence, and the Palestinian National Movement is out now in New Political Science, the journal of the New Political Science caucus of the American Political Science Association. (Basically, it's the caucus full of people who want political science to be more about social change, more about multiple methods coexisting and the validity of qualitative methods, and less about math.)

The review is behind a paywall, but here's my basic point:

Violence, Non-Violence, and the Palestinian National Movement provides suggestive answers to two popular questions about politics: First: when do participants in social movements choose violent tactics over nonviolent tactics? Second: Why is there no “Palestinian Gandhi” or prominent nonviolent leadership in the Palestinian national movement? By taking the first question seriously, and using the logical problems of the second as a motivating force (as she shows well, there is a long history of nonviolent activism in Palestinian movements), Pearlman has written a compelling book that combines close historical documentation with a clear argument about the relationship between the internal features of movements and their tactical choices.

If you're interested in Pearlman's work, here's a video interview with her talking about it, and here's an oldish essay by her on the Middle East Channel about the possibility of a new intifada.

If anyone wants a copy of my review, I'm happy to pass it along--hit me up by PM, or email (emilyreganwills at that ubiquitous server, gmail). And if you're thinking of getting the book, it's a good read, and available for Kindle.

(I know, I know, I never write, I never call. It's been a busy couple of months lately. Hopefully I'll have news to report in the next month or so...)
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Oh my god, you guys. If you haven't seen Amreeka, the film about a Palestinian mother and son who immigrate to suburban Illinois just as the US is invading Iraq in 2003, you totally should. I just screened it with my Arab Migrations seminar, and it was way cute.

Here are a random set of squeeful thoughts about it:

1) I love that all the actors appear, from their names and ability to speak Arabic as well as English, to actually be of Arab descent. The three lead adults and one of the kid characters all have to switch back and forth between English and Arabic, and do equally well in each language; the other kids have to respond to lines in Arabic as if they understand them, and nobody appears to hesitate. (Well, the littlest girl's timing is a little off, but she pulls it off.)

2) The opening cinematography of Bethlehem, where the protagonist, Mona, and her son Fadi start out, is just gorgeous. How much do I want to get on a plane right now? So much. (Frankly, suburban Illinois looks good too...but I harbor no suppressed longing to go there.)

3) The story is funny and "universal" (in that it tells a story that is accessible to folks who don't know much about Arabs/Palestine/Arab-Americans), but it still doesn't shy from talking about Middle Eastern politics and the problems of being Arab in American in 2003.

4) OMG, you guys, Nisreen Faour. She is so great. She's funny, she's got good timing and an excellent earnest "straight-woman" face, she can convey the angst and deliberation she's undergoing, and she can still pull off all the humor.

5) OMG MUNA, the character Faour plays.

It's a bit of a hokey movie, but so earnestly played that it all comes together. This is definitely a movie you could watch with no background info on Arab communities in the US, but for those who know a little, you won't get either enraged or nitpicky. It's just a sweet movie, and really uplifting. (It contains references to structural racism against Arabs, and you see them occur on screen, but in a way that touches lightly on them, and doesn't dwell on the ugliness of them--a way that lets the light shine through.)

Anyway. It's on Netflix, I think, and I rented it from my public library. Suuuuper sweet, you guys.

who wants to nom it for yultide
ajnabieh: Palestinian flag in front of billboard for the movie Prince of Persia.   (prince of persia)
This message brought to you from deep within the hinterland of Dissertation-Revision-Land. At least I managed to find that ACS data pull that I needed to run two more distributions on, right? Right?

Quran-burning pastor: Plan to visit Dearborn opposed - Detroit Free Press

OH FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER NO. I wish I had something more coherent to say on this topic, but it's just going to come down to flaily-hands at the moment.

Two Poems by Rashid Hussein - Jadaliyya

And this is why Jadaliyya is awesome: new translations of poems by one of the best literary translators in the biz, for free, on my RSS feed. The poems in this post are posted to commemorate Yom al-'Ard, Land Day, one of the major Palestinian nationalist holidays. Without a Passport, the second passport, is the more effective of the two, IMHO.

Is Egypt ready for "Queer"? - Bekhsoos

A little contemplatory piece on being out and queer in the revolutionary Middle East. This section in particular struck me:

When attending the Women’s Day protest, I noticed a significant number of gay people present (both men and women). The men present were accused of being “faggots”, and bore equal – if not greater – hostility than the women beside them. In the same way that acknowledging women’s role in society threatens male dominance, the notion of diverging sexualities is not just socially taboo, but also a challenge to the prevalent misogyny which informs attitudes to male-female relationships.

Tahrir Documents

ZOMG SO AWESOME. This is a translation project working on producing English versions (and digital copies) of the emphemeral discourse of revolutionary Egypt. Basically, I am in total geekgasm mode over this stuff--and I wish my Arabic were better so I could be helping out.

What Wasn't Said at Senator Durbin's Hearing on "The State of Muslim Civil Rights in the US" - Erik Lov @ Jadaliyya

Compared to the reporting that Peter King's hearings got, I hadn't heard a thing about Durbin's response until this article. Color me shocked that the Islamphobic fear-mongering dramatics of King beat out an evaluation of actual threats to an American minority community. *rolling my eyes FOREVER*

The Cute Cat Theory Talk at ETech - Ethan Zuckerman

Probably people have heard this before, but I have to admit that I enjoyed it. Favorite quote:

I’d offer the hypothesis that any sufficiently advanced read/write technology will get used for two purposes: pornography and activism. Porn is a weak test for the success of participatory media – it’s like tapping a mike and asking, “Is it on?” If you’re not getting porn in your system, it doesn’t work. Activism is a stronger test – if activists are using your tools, it’s a pretty good indication that your tools are useful and usable.

Rescue the Revolution: Notes from Cairo - Michael C. Hudson @ Middle East Channel

As exciting as the fall of Mubarak was, Egypt's revolution can't be over yet; it's going to be a long time before we know what will come of post-Tahrir Egypt. A good piece of reporting from on the ground in Tahrir now.
ajnabieh: Sign for a store reading "Hot Chick." (hot chick)
Proof I've been a terrible blogger this summer: I had links from July stored in a "to be blogged" file on my browser. D'oh. Anyway, I culled them, and these two were still worth posting:

Cute children bloggers and depressing Palestinian politics )

And now, on to some actually contemporary links! Le sigh.

Social media, post-conflict women's philanthropy, political pop music, and women and Park51 )

And, since watching the Shatha Hassoun video sent me down a rabbit hole of Arabic pop on YouTube, let me just close by linking to Ah W Nuss (Yes and a Half) and Ya Salam (...Oh peace, literally? but it's just an interjection? Translating song titles is hard) by Nancy Ajram, with English subtitles.
ajnabieh: Palestinian flag in front of billboard for the movie Prince of Persia.   (prince of persia)
Deep in my current fieldwork, I'm taking a strange detour, into poetry. There's a small but vibrant Arab arts scene in New York, and I'm trying to figure out how to think about the literary work produced in it as "data" for my research. In particular, I'm trying to work through how to do that without either resorting to a very cheap definition of politics, wherein it means everything and nothing, and yet also not stripping the writing of any artistic content. Suheir Hammad says in her poem "palestinian 98":

this poem begging to be
beautiful poised
articulate this poem
palestinian and too late

But of course the poem's own form refutes its statement: it is "beautiful poised/articulate," even if Hammad doubts its ability to respond to the questions she is posed. Political poetry (particularly the good stuff) is both/and, and I want to be able to capture some of that both/and in my work.

Anyway, this means I'm spending a lot of time reading Hammad's work. She's a Palestinian-American raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, and she's relatively well known for her appearances on Def Poetry Jam, as well as for her poem First Writing Since,, which I think of as the quintessential poem about September 11th. It perfectly captures the relationship between being a New Yorker and being an Arab and being a person committed to social justice, in that particular moment in history.

first, please god, let it be a mistake, the pilot's heart failed, the
plane's engine died.
then please god, let it be a nightmare, wake me now.
please god, after the second plane, please, don't let it be anyone
who looks like my brothers.

True story: Suheir Hammad once performed at a benefit for my wife's former employer. Walking home after the event, we passed her outside. I waved. She waved back. I had to text my roommate in a full bout of fangirl.


Tahani Salah is a poet who is easily compared to Hammad, as another Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American who performs spoken word (and also an alum of Def Poetry Jam). She's younger, though I can't find an exact age, went to Columbia (is still at Columbia?), and has competed on the Nuyorican team at the National Poetry Slam. I've heard her perform at Al-Awda demonstrations and at other Palestine events in the city. She hasn't yet published a book that I can find, and doesn't seem to maintain a website. That means that my major source for her work is YouTube videos of her performances...and that I'm having to make transcripts of her stuff.

This appears to be her most famous poem, "Hate." She performed it on Def Poetry Jam, and also at the National Poetry Slam. This is the Def Poetry Jam version, though the other one is on YouTube as well.

Transcription below cut )

She's a vibrant performer. I am also interested to see how she's interrogating the notion of Palestinians as hateful, not by rejecting it, but by redefining hate as a useful, motivating function. I also find it interesting that in both the performances I watched, there is so much cheering over the lines "And in other countries, there are six year old children who step/and throw rocks to protect the tears and the lives of their grandparents" that I can't hear the following line.

So: poetry as data. Political ethnography is nothing if not interesting.
ajnabieh: Sign for a store reading "Hot Chick." (hot chick)
I think I've had these links gestating on my hard drive long enough...time to get them out there before they rust.

Pretty & Yummy Things )
Politics Things: Iran, Yemen, Lebanon, Youth Identity )

Academia stuff; okay, only one link here )
ajnabieh: Palestinian flag in front of billboard for the movie Prince of Persia.   (prince of persia)
Oddly, my recent posts are tending towards the ranty. I apologize for this.

I'm reading an interesting essay by Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. He published it in a collection of forward-thinking strategy essays written about "where to go from here" for the Palestinians in the post-Second Intifada period, published in 2006. (If anyone's interested, it's in the Journal of Palestine Studies, or I can send you the PDF.) It's a good history of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, which is good, because I'm in need of such a thing that I didn't cobble together off websites. (Note to all social movements ever: document, document, document. Please. Love, all social scientists and historians ever.)

But there's something he's saying that's making me itchy. He's saying that, with good reason, outsiders ask why there isn't a unified national leadership for the BDS movement. He outlines the reasons why the PLO, the PA, and the other relevant Palestinian political bodies are unsuited for this task, and calls for a broadly unified, representative body that could do this work. All well and good. However, he says:

"Where is your ANC [African National Congress]?" is a difficult and often sincere question that faced Palestinian boycott activists everywhere.


the PLO must be resuscitated and remodeled to embody the claims, creative energies, and national frameworks of the three main segments of the Palestinian people.

I read these quotes, and all I can think is:

You don't need a new PLO

You don't need a Palestinian ANC.


The Unified National Leadership of the Uprising managed to coordinate the entire first intifada with, basically, mimeograph machines and telephones. They wrote the text of pamphlets which determined Palestine-wide (and international) actions, including strike days, demonstrations, special women's activities--the thousands of small resistance actions, most of them nonviolent, that made up the intifada, and that made it one of the most shocking and, I'd argue, successful social movements of the 20th century. (I mean success very relatively here: the fear and shock of the intifada lead to the increasing opposition to continuing the occupation among the Israeli electorate, which eventually lead to the Oslo Accords...which lead to the expatriate PLO coming into political power, the dissolution of the political unity of the Palestinian people when faced with the problems of poor governing and little internal negotiation, the eventual collapse of the peace process, and now we're right back where we started, only a little bit worse. However, no matter what happened next, Oslo was a hell of a concession to win for a social movement.)

The PLO didn't direct the intifada. It was an expatriate organization, mainly; cut off by first the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (and Sinai, and the Golan) from Palestinian communities, and then ejected from first Jordan, and then Lebanon, by Israeli negotiation and military attacks, the PLO had almost no connections the Palestinians on the ground in the territories. While many Palestinians in the territories had allegiances to PLO-affiliated parties, like Fatah or the PFLP, they weren't bound to it in any clear way. The PLO couldn't have managed the intifada back then. It just wasn't there. The UNLU was a coalition of members of all political parties, on the ground, networked, with good alliances across the whole of Palestine, and able to operate under the radar of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Barghouti argues elsewhere that "Only the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PLO, can theoretically claim to represent the entirety of the Palestinian people: inside historic Palestine and in exile." But the UNLU did this as well: its bayanat (pamphlets) were followed in towns, cities, and villages throughout Palestine, and are some of the most important discursive data we have for the first intifada. It make gestures towards representation, but more to the point, it was able to show its representativeness by getting results. People followed UNLU because they wanted to. And even if UNLU's members hadn't been arrested before the peace process, I doubt they would have ended up running the Palestinian state. That wasn't what they were there for. They were there to organize.

I wish I knew why UNLU has dropped out of our historical consciousness about the intifada. They organized a people with words alone, and helped totally change the politics of the end of the 20th century.

They also, IMHO, have the most badass name I've ever come across in Middle Eastern political history. I mean, come on: Unified National Leadership of the Uprising? Who doesn't want a piece of that action?

ajnabieh: Protesters in Times Square, holding a banner reading "New York To Gaza" in front of a neon McDonalds. (gaza)
CNN Billboard
Freedom Flotilla protest in Times Square, New York, 31 May 2010. The CNN electronic billboard reads "9 dead as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid convoy." The activist sign in front reads "Arrest Netanyahu for Piracy and Murder."

I'm certain by now everyone's heard about the Israeli Defense Forces boarding the ships of the Free Gaza Flotilla, killing at least nine, and as many as nineteen, of the activists bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, as well as the diplomatic and political aftermath that's ongoing. It'll be a while before observers (like me and my ilk in the discipline of political science) have a real idea of what the political effects of this incident are going to be. But from my perspective as someone engaged in ongoing research on Palestine activism in New York, this is a time where things are in flux for these movements, and when politics could change for the better or worse.

I was shocked when I woke up Monday morning to a long stretch of emails and Facebook updates about the boarding and deaths. It wasn't that I didn't expect the IDF to stop the flotilla; it was that I didn't expect there to be violence of this magnitude. In particular, what's shocking about this raid is that it is internationals, and not Palestinians, who were killed; the reaction to these 20 deaths looks like the reaction to the Gaza bombardment, which killed over a thousand Palestinians and injured more. (There are shades here of Rachel Corrie's death, made more apparent by the fact that one of the boats in the Flotilla is named after her.) The different political value of different lives is never more apparent than at moments like this, no matter that the human value might be identical.

When I woke up Monday, New York's activist community was already mobilizing to organize an immediate response. A pro-flotilla demonstration had been planned for Tuesday afternoon, no matter what, but the issue was too urgent, and another was scheduled for Monday afternoon. Because this was a holiday in the US, people were able to attend an afternoon event. Because of the short notice, a parade permit couldn't be gotten; therefore, this was a 'sidewalk protest,' meaning that protesters had to stay on sidewalks, and could not obstruct the flow of traffic. Sidewalk protests are easier to run, because they don't require advanced police approval; however, they do run the slight risk of arrest for obstructing traffic or, really, annoying the police at all. But nothing of that type happened at this demo. Mostly, there was standing around with signs, passing out flyers (including this cartoon by Adalah-NY member Ethan Heitner) to passersby, and then a march to the Israeli Consulate.

I attended the protest in Times Square, along with at least eight hundred other people (the highest estimate I heard was 1200). This was a mass rally, drawing from all the diverse constituencies that make up the pro-Palestine, anti-occupation, anti-war and social justice movements in New York. In particular, it drew from both sides of the divide between borough-dwelling Arab immigrants, who tend to mobilize in mass organizations with explicitly Arab and/or Muslim identity politics, particularly in the organization Al-Awda, whose protests and events I've been attending for my research, and the more ideological Arab, Jewish, and other American activists, who organize in smaller social justice groups, such as Adalah-NY, the group where I've done the majority of my fieldwork. At moments of crisis like these, all members of these communities show up. However, as the week is progressing, different groups are diverging and starting to plan individual actions; it's only at the first moment of crisis that the pan-group unity can occur.

As always, I took my camera to the demonstration. Normally, most of my research photos are crap: I take them to judge the size of the crowd, and to record slogans on photographs, or remind me of important moments I want to document later. But this time, I managed to get some that strike me as worth sharing. So below, under the cuts, I'm going to do some analysis of the demo, and of some images I took there. Warning: photo-heavy.

Spectacular Spectacular: Times Square as Site )

Messaging )

Dressing For Demonstrations )

And one story. )

This is News
The central sign reads: "This Is News."

There was a protest on Tuesday I wasn't able to go to. There are others scheduled for this week, though I'm not sure how many I'll be able to get to. It's a bit odd to be a researcher at a time like this, thinking about a big picture that isn't on the table for most participants. But there's this feeling you get when you realize you've stumbled into a data goldmine, and I'm getting it right now.

More photos (really!) at my flickr set.

Lazy Links

May. 21st, 2010 07:24 pm
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
I am just finishing up my grading for the semester, which means I'm rather on the edge about everything--it's a period of high burnout and frustration. (Though, thank you, student who titled your response paper "My Final Response Paper: What I’ve learned of Resistance and an Opportunity to Call Out People Who Believe in Radical Semiotics," for making me feel better for quite a while.) So, here are some linky links. How lazy am I going to be? I'm not even going to bother to code them. DW will make them clickable via magic, right? Awesome.


This has nothing to do with Arab-Americans, but it is made of awesome.

Assorted: includes stuff on media studies, Arabic literature, queer stuff, health stuff, Israeli/Palestinian conflict stuff )

Special section on Rima Fakih, because the party don't stop )
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (amal)
I'm on a listserv dedicated to research methods; so's one of my dissertation advisors. During a conversation about using novels for social science research and teaching, my advisor made a proposition: all social scientists are failed novelists. My immediate reaction, from the part of me that spent the years of 1998-2000 identifying primarily as a writer, was along the lines of "Who're you calling failed?" In general, I've been thinking about the relationship between writing fiction and writing ethnography as I pick my way through my fieldwork-oriented chapters. Apart from the fact that I'm constrained by adherence to actual data, many of the elements of writing I'm doing don't strike me as so different from the ones I practiced as a short story writer: conveying character, theme, tone, meaning through carefully chosen details and scenarios.

Writing the 'other,' writing about people not like you in some significant way, is hard. Those of us in fandom are just coming off a year of debate on the subject of when and how to do it right, but it's a constant concern for researchers too, at least those of us who feel a normative duty to our research subjects. I constantly worry about how I'm describing Arab American communities, and thinking about how others, including others with whom I have serious disagreements, might use what I say, and what possible interventions I might make to forestall this.

I'm thinking of this now because I just picked up Matt Beynon Rees's mystery novels set in Palestine. Rees is a journalist who has lived in Jerusalem for many years and covered Israeli and Palestinian politics for Time Magazine. His novels feature Omar Yussef, a refugee and teacher in an UNRWA school, and are murder mysteries with political intrigue thrown in for fun. There are four novels in the series: The Collaborator of Bethlehem, A Grave in Gaza, The Samaritan's Secret (set in Nablus), and The Fourth Assassin (set in Brooklyn). Sadly, my library only had the last three, but I ordered them and picked them up eagerly.

I've read through them now, and find that they're inspiring me to think much more than I would have expected. To be blunt, they're not very well written; Rees doesn't seem to be very good at characterization, and so most of his characters fall flat. I also find myself very dissatisfied with them as fictional representations of Palestinian life and politics. They aren't overtly or intentionally racist, and Rees is clearly familiar with and positive towards Palestinians. But being a nice guy doesn't make your work unimpeachable, sadly, as we all know.

Because I found them so interesting, I'm planning on doing three posts on them, because I have kind of a lot to say. In this first one, I talk about the ways that Rees uses language, particularly the distance between Arabic and English, and the ways I think that his decisions are othering, and representative of the broader trend towards othering in his work. In the second, I'm going to talk specifically about The Fourth Assassin's discussion of Arabs in New York City, which has particular issues that strike me as someone who is also writing a book set, largely, in Bay Ridge (and as someone who's worked at the UN, which is the other major setting of the book). In the third, I'm going to talk about the reception of Rees's fictional works, which I think help indicates precisely how the things he establishes are problematic.

Inshallah: the beginning of our problems )

Look for my post on The Fourth Assassin and on the reception of these books in the days to come!
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
I'm certain everyone and their mother has heard about Bil'in's Avatar-themed protest by now. It got coverage in the LA Times; for the geek community, it was posted on io9; for the Middle Eastern studies blogosphere, Ted Swedenburg posted on it. In other words, it's been talked about.

The event had a strange set of resonances for me. The first is that Adalah-NY, one of the groups that I'm doing fieldwork with right now, is closely involved in support for the village of Bil'in, which has been home to a long-running series of protests against the Israeli separation wall/separation barrier/apartheid wall (naming the object is highly contested--those are the three most common).

The second resonance is that I actually participated in a demonstration in Bil'in when I was in Palestine and Israel in 2005 for the International Conference of the Women in Black. Here, have some of my photos:


peace signs


Click through to see them larger, in more detail.

Whenever I see video of Bil'in, I'm immediately thrown back to that day--to the sense of routine that accompanied the demonstration, to the energy of the activists gradually ebbing away as we realized that there wasn't going to be a big symbolic event, to the American Jewish women arguing with the Israeli soldiers, to the dramatic ripping away of the barbed wire, to remembering my promise to my wife not to get teargassed (I'm asthmatic), so making sure to stay towards the back as villagers and IDF soliders began to play the eternal game of chicken that, I'm sure, ends most protests. It's a vivid set of memories, and I'm glad I have them. Plus, now, if anyone asks, yes, I got teargassed in the West Bank. (I was way far away. It still hurt.)

The third resonance is that, as those who know me outside of of the [personal profile] ajnabieh context know, when I'm not being passionate about the Middle East, political theory, or feminist politics, I'm being passionate about fandom. (Everyone needs a hobby. Especially when writing a dissertation.) This was one of those awesome collisions of my interests: you got your fandom in my Palestine activism! You got your Palestine activism in my fandom! In particular, what I like about this is how it uses the metaphor from a fictional text to make a non-fictional point. I made a similar point about the Tigh/Roslin '08 campaign in this essay for a special issue of FlowTV on Sarah Palin; when fictional media are complex enough to carry political resonances, we can use them to make arguments about our world, and do so in a way that's going to get attention and attract people who wouldn't otherwise care about what we're saying. Pop culture is a way for activism to bridge worlds, to communicate outside of its neck of the woods. Of course, this is what Adalah-NY does in its protests; if you're singing Beyonce, someone might listen to hear what you're saying about apartheid.

In any case, I'm not overly hopeful that this protest will be the crucial one that changes Bil'in's situation, but I'm very glad to see them getting press, and, at least, they'll never be bored.


ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Ajnabieh - The Foreigner

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