Palestinian Confidence – Palestine Matters

Lauren Booth


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Salam I pray this finds you well and blessed. This video is one of the best discussions I have ever had in 20 years on the topic of Palestine by Palestinians in their own voice. Dr. Ramzy Baroud is discussing the ways in which Palestinians are looking to free themselves with no external help. Like I say to me, it's one of the best talks I've ever heard on this topic. I hope you'll agree, let me know in the comments.

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to Palestine matters, a look at impactful stories and more importantly, ground changing strategies to change the apartheid status quo visited forced upon the Palestinians since 1948. And we could not begin the series with a better or more fundamentally timely guest than Dr. Ramzy Baroud, who has just written an incredible new book, which summarizes where the Palestinians themselves are with their conversation about liberation. So Dr. Ramsey brood who is he? He's a US Palestinian journalist. He is the editor of Palestine chronicle since 1999. He has a PhD in Palestine studies from Exeter University and he's the author of six books Subhanallah this latest one is CO edited by

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the historian Ilan pappy. And it is it features Bertie intellectuals, all of them Palestinian, each of them summarizing a diaspora or an underground context for their personal struggle and ways forward. Dr. Ramsey salaam aleikum Ilocanos Salam wa Rahmatullah and thank you for having me on the program, sister, Laura, you know what we're saying? It's been about 10 years since I saw you was on another TV show, this journey that you've been on as an author. And as a Palestinian living the diaspora existence seems to be coming to some kind of fruition now. Because there is a very strong post Oslo chords, disaster image coming through the Palestinian voices here. Talk to us about being

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post Oslo and a vision for liberation. That's right. I think this assessment is quite correct is that there's what happened after Austin is that we Palestinians lived through this this year that that I consider last year, it's for the Palestinians in terms of our liberation struggle, it was a years of redefinition. we redefined everything about Palestine, and the Palestinian struggle in order for us to fit in, in order for us to be accepted and to be validated. From a western point of view, of course. So the good Palestinian is the Palestinian who spoke the language that was

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that was perceived to be acceptable and valid from an American, Western and, of course, Israeli point of view. This is how Palestinians managed to get funds from so called donor countries. This is how Palestinians managed to gain access to various international institutions, and so forth. But in the process of doing so, those good Palestinians, quote, unquote, if they were not at all allowed to actually lead to liberation struggle in the traditional sense, the sense of that applied to all historical experiences in the Global South, throughout Africa, Asia and South America, fighting against colonialism, using the kind of language that eventually liberated them, at least from the

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traditional classic forms of colonialism. In the Palestinian case, those who championed those types of ideas were perceived to be radical, and terrorists, and anyone who defended resistance within that framework was perceived to be a terrorist sympathizer and an equal and equally radical. So you had this polarized discourse on Palestine that was quite impossible to navigate. And the process of doing so. The the evolution of the Palestinian discourse was disrupted. We found ourselves not without vision, per se, but without decentralized vision, the Palestinians who fought the the

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A true fight on the ground what we call the engaged Palestinians, the engaged intellectuals, the the organic intellectuals, they were either assassinated, imprisoned, or marginalized entirely, they will not relevant, they did not fit into this whole Oslo paradigm. They did not speak the language that really that got you the money and got you the political status, and so forth and so on. And those last years are now coming to an end. Because you have a new generation of Palestinians who are thinking beyond Oslo, thinking beyond the Oslo culture, and thinking beyond the factional paradigm that prevailed over Palestine, sadly, for nearly three decades. And this book is a celebration, not

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just of this generation, it's a celebration for the persistence of the engaged intellectual, that thought paid the price, a heavy price at times, but at the end of the day, they are the ones who are prevailing, and their voices are the ones that now truly matters. It's a book that brings some of these the strongest of these voices together, some of them actually spoke to us from prison, and we bring them together and we tell the world, we can speak for ourselves. Thank you very much. And this is what we want from you, we need you to listen, and we need your solidarity, but we want to be at the center and at the heart of this conversation. And that's really the point, isn't it, you know,

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external voices deciding how Palestine should be remade, are still colonial voices. I remember going on the Free Gaza, and an activist saying to me, you know, you've got to be careful of the white savior,

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content context in your own mind that you're going over there to liberate we're that we're, we're being directed by the Palestinians to to take action. And that really kind of flipped things for me. And this understanding that the Palestinians have their heroes, and we just don't know them. And that that, like you say, this conversation is moving forward. Talk to us about the habit of 2021, the meaning of habit, and and who are the youngsters coming? And what are how are they freer, then then then in their conversations, and in their outlook, then perhaps generations or the last 20 years? That's right, the hub of 2021 actually happened during the process of creating this book,

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during the conversations that we've had with many intellectuals. And we were saying, and this is really interesting, you know, the hotbar, meaning, the rise of the resurgence, which I call the Palestinian rebellion, I know it's it seemingly is was shortly but it wasn't it was a process. And that process started years prior to this hub. And it continued until now, there is an ongoing habit. And it expresses itself in a multitude of ways. If we pay attention. And we listen to what the Palestinians are doing and saying to the new language that they are utilizing. We know that this process is happening, and is still ongoing. And the reason I refer to it as a rebellion, because in

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the history of Palestinian revolutions, I would say starting in the 1920s, but most importantly, the uprising of 1936.

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Palestinians unified with this incredible political consciousness that was unprecedented in that region. I mean, imagine this is something happening a century ago, and you have peasants sustaining an ongoing strike for six months, followed by a rebellion of three years that influence the thinking of several generations since then, and I compare this what happened in May of last year, to what happened in 1936, in the sense that there was a process of articulating a new political discourse that is going to last for years and years to come. This is these are going to be the days in which people are going to remember, I you know, the way that I remember what happened during the first

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Palestinian intifada 1987 I was born and raised in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. I live that Intifada. And until now, I have almost 50. And I remember the political discourse of those years in which I was a teenager, and it still affects my relationship to Palestine until this day. So what happened a year ago in Palestine will define a whole generation if not even more for years to come. And we are going to continue to see the repercussions of this then of this for many years to come. But what is so interesting about it is that the people

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were involved in making this book. It's like we knew that something was about to happen. We knew that Palestine has been going through a political transition for years. The question was when, when will this transition lead to something new and different, and something that everybody can see, we see it in the everyday reality of Palestine, but not at a popular level. So in the process of some of the essays being contributed, submitted, drafts being sent back and forth, the habit took place. And then you had all of these intellectuals say, send us the essays back, we need now we know that we what we were talking about, is actually is actualizing. So let's revisit this. So it was kind of

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like almost a process in the making, and the people are telling us what we what we did not know, the people were telling us we want you to change and omit and edit because there is a new reality not happening in the future. But it's happening today. Isn't it almost true, though, that the the rebellion in this current climate of of kind of Western, absolute dogma, pro Israeli whatever they do, nothing matters, the killing of their Shareen Rahim Allah journalists being routinely shot is that it's almost the randomness of the rebellion, the individual illness of each person going I will carry a stone and the old lady with a stick hitting a settler or even a you know, you know, an armed

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Zion wrist soldier, that the the, the the panoramic controls paradigm can't, can't quell. So if we always want there to be unity. But isn't it almost the randomness and the individual stubbornness of the Palestinian character, not my words, the words of the Palestinian writers that makes this work and can can bring it to a conclusion. Right? It is, you know, this seeming randomness. It is in actuality a reflection of an existing unity that is happening at a popular level. One argument that I have made throughout the years do not judge unity and disunity of the Palestinians based on the factional feud between various factions. Don't take these functional fields out of their historical

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context. Remember, every national liberation struggle from Vietnam, to Algeria to South Africa, and anywhere and everywhere else had its own factional and political fields were not the exception. This idea that Palestinians are the exception is a colonial idea implanted by Israel itself. And let me remind everyone that it was Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister of Israel, this this last year right wing character that killed so many Palestinians throughout the years, who insisted we don't have a peace partner, Palestinians are not unified, unless they are unit united, then we can talk peace. And he used that that pretense as a way to carry on with his colonial endeavors building

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and expanding settlements in the West Bank. And the rest of the world is looking at the Palestinian saying, Well, I mean, he has a point, you have to be united to meet the expectations of of a war criminal, who is not satisfied with your current state of affairs. So the issue of Palestinian unity, historically has been used as a way to manipulate Palestinians and to make them appear as if they are failing to live up to the expectations of the peacemakers. But the argument I've made and sustained throughout the years, is that if you and this is why I shift my entire studies from traditional history to people's history, because I have argued that Palestinians are actually

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united, united around the principles value column resistance, united around their anti colonial drive, united in their insistence that the neck part and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, is absolutely critical to the future of Peace and Justice in Palestine, united around all of these principles, and this this is the kind of unity that matters. The question is we have been focusing on the wrong unity, not on the right unity. And now what we have seen what we call hub that is also in Palestine known as the Unity Intifada, which is our way of saying we are united now more than ever, in fact, we have always been united. Amazing. There. There are two two things here. One

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is history.

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archaeology, for example, in digging up the past helped the Palestinian cause today. Absolutely. You know, you note, you notice how the book starts with the archaeology. Because our history as Palestinians did not start in, in 1948. And it did not start when the Zionist movement was formed.

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You know, along with other fascist movements in Europe at the late in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Palestine existed for 1000s of years prior to the existence of Israel and the term Palestine, the etymology of the term itself is an ancient term. So the idea of Palestine and the idea of the Palestinian is an ancient idea as a historic idea. And we wanted to make that very, very clear to our readers. So we don't start the book with when Hertzberg began the Zionist movement this happened, and not at all. So we but but here is what is so interesting about Palestinian archaeology, Palestinian archaeology is very similar, or rather, is situated within what we call

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community archaeology. It's not a group of French archaeologists say going to Mali, digging up some old relics and giving it meaning. No, community archaeology is the kind of, of archaeology where the meaning is given by the people who are rooted in that land in that land. And this is why Palestinian archaeology scares Israel, because when the study has dig their past, they give it meaning, meaning, and the animated and the link it to other historical segments of, of our collective awareness, and it becomes part of our identity. I said earlier in the program that I was born and raised in a refugee camp. Now the history of the refugee camp supposedly goes back to Israel in 1948, when my

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family became refugees, as a result of the Nakba. In actuality, the history of that camp goes back 1000s of years. So the Canaanites, the Byzantines. And the hook source, there was a great Ipsos kingdom that was actually situated where my refugee camp stands. And I was lucky enough to have been assigned by Duke University to write about the ancient history of my refugee camp. And as a result, I got many Palestinian community archaeologists involved in creating an animating the meaning of that camp. So it makes me very happy to learn that we Palestinians are moving beyond the idea of Zionism, as the inception of our modern, you know, awareness of who we are. And we are moving away

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from the defensive approach to history into a different type of historic in which we locate ourselves in our history independent from the Zionist and the Ipsos, and the Byzantines, that the Romans and everybody else Subhanallah we have so little time on this. I'd like a quick comment, though, on the studying of Israeli thought that's going on right now. madda, just tell us a couple of minutes about why that's significant, because, you know, not coming from this,

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you know, stereotypical approach that a Palestinian under occupation might have, but actually knowing the enemy's thought processes and the realities for everyday people in in that in those regions. That's right, the chapter about murder and the experience of murder as a research center that is dedicated to studying Israel. Now, let's remember the term research itself. And there's a lot of good writing and books about it. The modern view of research is a colonial term that is meant for colonial powers to study the oppressed people of the South in order for them to facilitate their oppression. And so there is a new movement of South Asian historians, who are an indigenous

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historians that are now trying to reverse that, first of all, study themselves, and also study the colonial powers as well. And this is what meta is doing. But there are other elements of the book that where we tried to study the, the Israeli and the Zionist mindset, remember such books as the Arab mind, and you know, and that sort of thing where they try to study, you know, and decipher what is this Arab and how do we put a nice the Arab? Well, we are trying to do the same thing. We want to study our colonizer. And that's what also Hanin Zoabi her chapter about her experiences as a member of the Israeli Knesset as an Arab woman, Palestinian woman living in Israel. Also trying to study

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and decipher is a selective view of democracy and the racist application of that term and so forth. So this is really what we tried in the book to go into so many new territories

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In which we challenge, not just the way that Palestine is being viewed, but even the very concept of research itself and how it applies to the Palestinians, and how it applies to Israel. It does feel brave, and it does feel new. And it very much tells each academics, personal family story. And I think that's so important. Because, again, you know, you take people out of their context, and then you intellectualize the language to such a degree, you you can't you can't put it to people on the ground. You know, I cried, reading numerous chapters. And I was fascinated with the newness of the ideas, Ramzi, you run marathons? And this is a marathon? It's not a sprint? Are the Palestinians

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running out of steam? Or are they going for a sprint finish? Now? It have a 2021? Can you really see a finish line for liberation? I absolutely see a finish line. In fact, I've written about this recently about how this new Palestine and this new Palestinian activist is now be, you know, bringing back such concepts as the neck. But we are centering once more around what has happened to us, when Pakistan was destroyed in 1948. We're not satisfied with 1967 borders, we're not satisfied with two state solutions. We're not satisfied with the polite language that has been imposed on us. We are talking about liberation in its classic sense, and we are so insistent that we will

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eventually get there. Subhanallah I just want to thank you for this book. And I'm going to read to you actually your your ending. So where do we go from here we use this book as the beginning of a forward thinking conversation on Palestine, led by engaged Palestinian intellectuals who just whose allegiance is not to a political party, or a rigid ideology, a final thought on how do we, as engaged people support this new struggle? This new struggle, sorry, this new elements of this whole struggle? Right. And you mentioned this earlier in the show when you spoke about, you know, where do we position ourselves, visa vie the Palestinian struggle? Do we tell the Palestinians what to do and

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there's been a lot of people kind of falling into that trap. And as a Palestinian I take responsibility for it, in the sense that if you do not tell people with a centralized and unified message and voice, then this is what we want the kind of take on take on the initiative of telling you what to do. One thing I've noticed that whenever I travel, whether in Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, Hawaii with other indigenous people, I've never experienced any indigenous activist telling me Ramsay go for this. Don't do that. I like him. I like Fattah, I hate Hamas and that sort of thing. This is entirely Western experience. So I think I think perhaps it is time not only for

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Palestinians to redefine their own struggle based on these new new diktats and new realities with disgust but also the solidarity activist, activist to reposition themselves

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regarding toward the Palestinians. Our solidarity means standing beside me, not in front of me. It's not replacing me and not speaking on my behalf. I can speak for my people and they have a voice. They are not mute. They just need you to take moral and political responsibility for what your governments have done to our people. Once you understand that this is the kind of relationship that you should have been we are talking about a very healthy interaction and meaningful solidarity towards the final freedom, justice and liberation. Thank you so much. May Allah bless you. May Allah give the Palestinians their freedoms and their rights and a great future inshallah. Let's all unite

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for this and stand beside you or actually slightly behind you lead the way.

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In Sharla, thank you very much, sister for taking the time. Thank you, brother. Take care see you soon.

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