The discourse on Palestine has been shifting in different directions since the turn of the 20th century, marked by decades of struggle and labour by Palestinians and their allies. And as Palestinians came together last June under the banner of the Unity Intifada, forming a collective front against Israel's ongoing colonisation, we witnessed in real time some of these ongoing shifts in the conversation. This shared moment helped to highlight the inaccuracy of the mainstream narrative and the international community’s refusal to acknowledge the lived experience of Palestinians or the realities of Israel’s apartheid and settler colonial regime. As a result, the usual mantra of a conflict between two equal sides was increasingly being called into question. Yet, while a more grounded understanding of Israel’s policies and practices is starting to enter the mainstream across North America & Europe, much work remains to fully reclaim the narrative to one that upholds freedom, justice and equality for all.
In this talk, novelist and human rights activist Susan Abulhawa will join with Alaa Tartir of Al-Shabaka, Aline Batarseh of Visualizing Palestine and Aimee Shalan of Makan, to discuss the history and context of the changing perceptions of the Palestinian struggle, what happens when the concept of ‘neutrality’ is disputed, why narrative shifts matter, and how - in an increasingly loveless world - they feed into the wider liberation movement.
Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian American writer and human rights activist. She is the author of the international best-selling novel, Mornings in Jenin, and the founder of the NGO, Playgrounds for Palestine. Against the Loveless World, her third novel, was released in August 2020 to critical acclaim.
Aline Batarseh joined Visualizing Palestine in July 2021 as Executive Director. She is a community organizer, activist and development professional. She has extensive experience working with Palestinian and international nonprofits whose missions are focused on advancing social justice and equality for individuals and communities that experience systemic discrimination.
Dr Alaa Tartir is a Program and Policy Advisor to Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network,a Senior Researcher and Academic Coordinator at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland, and a Global Fellow at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Aimee Shalan is Co-Director of Makan. She is also a Trustee of Friends of Birzeit University (Fobzu), a policy member of the Palestinian policy network, Al Shabaka, and Chair of the British-Palestinian Council. Her previous roles have included: Chief Executive of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), Director of Friends of Birzeit University (Fobzu) and Co-founder and Director of Pressure Cooker Arts, a not-for-profit arts and advocacy organisation. She has been a regular contributor to the Guardian and other media outlets. Aimee holds a doctorate in the Politics of Palestinian Literature.