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Sunday, June 13, 2021

On the Postponement of our ‘Queering the Middle East’ Event

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by Walaa Alqaisiya

Due to the Israeli insistence to expel Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, which has led to an unforeseen use of violence by the Israeli army, police and settlers towards the Palestinian civil populations across historic Palestine, including the continuous bombardment by air and land of the Gaza Strip, I – as chair of the Queering the Middle East event – have decided to postpone it until further notice.

As a Palestinian academic who lives in Europe, although thousands of miles away from my people, I watch in dismay the events taking place in colonised Palestine. The last few weeks have witnessed further Palestinian death and dispossession at the hands of the Israeli settler state. Israeli insistence to expel Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem has led to an unforeseen (and ongoing) use of violence by the Israeli army, police and settlers towards the Palestinian civil populations across historic Palestine, including the continuous bombardment by air, sea and land of the Gaza Strip.

As the world watches, these events continue to be reported in the language of ‘conflict’, ‘civil war’ and ‘two sides.’ The mainstream media narrative has the objective of eliding the violence of the Israeli settler state against Palestinians and, more importantly, the historical context in which these events are taking place: the Zionist settler colonisation of Palestine. Zionism’s ultimate goal is to wipe out Palestinian indigenous presence on the land, which has been systematically Judaized for the past 70 years now.

I believe this is an important moment to reflect on the denial of the Palestinian narrative in the Western media context. This is not only reflective of the long-standing and blatant complacency of Western governments with the same occupier but should also animate our understanding of the centrality of Palestine to decolonial pedagogy and practice. Academic engagement cannot look away from Palestine; rather it should aim to challenge and change the very concepts and approaches through which Palestine is framed and understood.

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