Against Acquiescence



In Pictures: Palestine Marathon

Runners took various routes during the race. It was impossible for organizers to find a marathon-length route that was uninterrupted and under full Palestinian control.

 Iran (1953)


Thailand (1957)

Laos (1958-60)

the Congo (1960)

Turkey (1960, 1971 & 1980)

Ecuador (1961 & 1963)

South Vietnam (1963)

Brazil (1964)

the Dominican Republic (1963)

Argentina (1963)

Honduras (1963 & 2009)

Iraq (1963 & 2003)

Bolivia (1964, 1971 & 1980)

Indonesia (1965)

Ghana (1966)

Greece (1967)

Panama (1968 & 1989)

Cambodia (1970)

Chile (1973)

Bangladesh (1975)

Pakistan (1977)

Grenada (1983)

Mauritania (1984)

Guinea (1984)

Burkina Faso (1987)

Paraguay (1989)

Haiti (1991 & 2004)

Russia (1993)

Uganda (1996)

Libya (2011).  

+ a roughly equal number of failed coups, nor coups in Africa and elsewhere in which a U.S. role is suspected but unproven.

America’s Coup Machine: required reading

The Indigenous Palestinians

The Palestinian as a True Indigenous

While the history of the Palestinians, as an indigenous group, is unique, it should not be separated from the broader global struggle of native and indigenous populations. Since the ushering of the new world by the “discovery” of the Americas in 1492, we have witnessed the systematic and industrialized process of dispossession and complete elimination of indigenous populations and cultures across the globe, with limited remnants of these affected communities visible today. Ravaged by greed, disease, and systematic military destruction, the indig- enous populations in the Americas, Africa, and parts of Asia faced the trilogy that caused the death of countless millions over the past five hundred years. 
From a broader perspective, one can begin to down- play the suffering of the Palestinians as an indigenous population, considering the circumstances of other native groups around the world and the history of genocide and total destruction visited upon them over the years. In addition, I can also understand those who would argue that the horrors of the Holocaust should engender the Palestinians to be more understanding of the Zionist ideal, and thus not see or describe it as a colonial project. Some insist that the Jewish population itself should be viewed equally indigenous to the land, rather than as an extension of Western colonization.

The problem in this context is once again a crime of omission and memory. I do not espouse the denial of Jewish suffering at any level, and I assert that each people have a right to speak of their pain and history of suffering. However, at no time should this give birth to an open-ended colonial project that is supported by a biblical theology of dispossession. Over a 50 year period, the indigenous Palestinians faced an emergent European nationalist movement that succeeded in dispossessing them and transforming their ancestral homeland into a modern nation state that locates its genesis in the biblical text. Not dissimilar to the Native Americans or Africans who suffered under “manifest destiny,” the Palestinians were relegated to a secondary role and possessed no rights other than those granted to them by the emerging colo- nial state. Palestinians are victims of a Zionist “manifest destiny” that functions to create facts on the ground and attempts to recreate the mythical past in the present through reenactment of biblical narrative.

Port-en-Bessin. Paul Signac, 1883.

Port-en-Bessin. Paul Signac, 1883.

Today, 1948

On 9th April 1948, exactly 66 years ago, the Zionist terrorist groups Irgun and Stern Gang invaded the Arab village of Deir Yassin. The militia forces entered the village firing upon the homes of unsuspecting villagers who thought they would be safe because Deir Yassin had entered a non-aggression pact with the ‘official’ Zionist militia called the Hagana. The terrorist forces then proceeded to gather all of Deir Yassin’s inhabitants in one place to kill them in cold blood after raping many women, and then the forces mutilated the bodies of the dead.

In his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe quotes the following firsthand account of a survivor of the massacre:

“They took us out one after the other; shot an old man and when one of his daughters cried, she was shot too. Then they called my brother Muhammad, and shot him in front of us, and when my mother yelled, bending over him–carrying my little sister Hudra in her hands, still breastfeeding her–they shot her too.”

Fahim Zaydan was 12 years old at the time and shot too when the troops lined up children against a wall and sprayed them with bullets “just for the fun of it”

Names, yo.

I had to present my second “soapbox” speech today in my Discourse of Dissent class. The idea is to hear it, not read it, but that’s alright.

Second day of 2nd year, first day of History 232- A history of Peace Movements. The prof asks the class who last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners were, so I raise my hand and say Tawakkol Karman, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson and Leymah Gbowee, I think. I’m correct and the professor goes into more detail explaining who the women were and what they did, starting with the Liberians. When she gets to the Yemeni woman, she asks me to repeat her name, since I “can probably pronounce it better than” she can. As I say “Tawakkol Karman” again, she sort of squints as she looks at me, trying much too hard to repeat an easy name. For the entire rest of the term, she looks at me cautiously whenever pronouncing any “ethnic” sounding name, and I stare back, blankly, irritated.

I have a friend, her name is Yasmine. Yasmine, meaning ‘Gift from God’ in Persian.’ Yasmine, the name for the soft white flower whose heavy scent sweetens and thickens the air of summer nights.

She introduces herself: “You can call me Yazmin. Or Jasmin. Whatever’s easiest.”

Every time I hear her say that, I feel defeated.

What’s in a name? Why are names so important? What are we doing when we refuse to learn someone’s name because we think it’s difficult or different? In a place and time in my life where it feels increasingly hard to assert and maintain unique features of my identity, and assimilation is encouraged, if not explicitly, my name is a way for me to remember who I am. I have met plenty of people whose names I have found difficult to pronounce. But I have always committed to learning them, not wanting somehow to replace their self with a version I find more suited to what I have thus far been comfortable with.

When I used to introduce myself, people would often say, “what a beautiful name”. They don’t do that anymore, and a little while ago I think I became aware of one of the reasons that may be the case. I had almost forgotten how to say my own name. I had been pronouncing it the way others had decided my name should sound. It took some repeated practice in my own head to make sure I would be getting it right and wouldn’t fall back into the habit of introducing myself in the way that would be easiest for others.

Ever since I was young, my parents told me never to let anyone change my name. They didn’t understand the dozens of hilarious nicknames my elementary school friends had invented for me; they didn’t understand why I didn’t tell those friends to stop.

“Your name is beautiful,” they would tell me. We gave it to you. It has meaning.”

And they are right. Zainab is a sweet-smelling flower that grows in heaven. Zainab was the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad, a model of defiance against oppression and injustice. Zainab is also my great aunt, beloved by my mother.

My name is part of my identity. So hello, wonderful to meet you.

My name is Zainab. 


سُوَاقْ | SWAG


سُوَاقْ | SWAG


I attended a lecture tonight, given by writer and activist Sriram Ananth, “Fascism as a temporary default setting in South Asia”. You should read his autobiographical novel, Across the Sabarmati

Gujarat 2002. February 28th. A compartment of the Sabarmathi Express was set on fire and 58 Hindus aboard the train were killed. Despite popular assertion that Muslims at the train platform set the compartment on fire, it has been found that the fire most likely started from inside the train. An estimated 2000 Muslims in Gujarat were killed following the incident, with additional reports of women being raped multiple times before being killed. 

The governor of Gujarat at the time, Narendra Modi, was found to be fully culpable in the resulting violence. Of further concern, members of the murdering mobs have been cited praising Modi, saying that the events following February 28th could not have happened if it was not for Modi holding back various state forces which would have stemmed the violence. 

Modi is now poised to be the newest prime minister of India, at the helm of the Hindu nationalist BJP, the political wing of the RSS. In his lecture, Ananth made the comparison between Modi, Hitler, Ariel Sharon, and Zia ul Haq, all democratically elected leaders.

The comparison to Ariel Sharon stood out to me as a particularly apt comparison. Sharon, Israeli Defense Minister at the time of the Sabra and Shatila massacre (between 762 and 3,500 civilians were killed) was found by an Israeli commission to bear personal responsibility for the event. Sharon was demonized in Israel for his role in the massacre….

…but went on to become the prime minister of Israel.

"Positive campus climate"

Remi Kanazi’s repsonse, when asked whether this video contributes to a positive campus climate.

"Positive campus climate" itself is a problematic phrase. Who is campus climate positive for right now? Not for those who can’t afford quickly rising tuition and student fees. Not for undocumented students whose rights aren’t recognized. Not for black students at UCLA who see complete under-representation and marginalization. Not for Palestinians studying in the US whose universities profit off of their families’ suffering.

Furthermore, if you support policies of segregation and discrimination, and challenging those systems of oppression makes you “uncomfortable,” that’s on you. Your “comfort” shouldn’t trump human life. Every student has the right to feel safe on campus, but they don’t have the right to profit off of oppression, whether it’s the prison industrial complex or Israeli occupation.

The full interview: