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in a protracted colonial conflict. The situation I am discussing is the Palestinian refugee camp, probably the strongest institution of resistance against the normalization of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the territory became Israel in 1948. First I will discuss how out of the situation of the camp we can see the manifestation of an idea and a way of liberation that is consistent with the way of anticolonial liberation advocated by Fanon in Wretched of the Earth. Secondly I will discuss the forces that, especially since the end of the second intifada, are acting to undermine this way of liberation and replace it with the idea of statehood and western freedom in the minds of the people in the camp. Third, I will try to represent and to reflect on this tension, this stuckness that you find in the camp when their idea of liberation is not only under attack, but is recognized by themselves to be no longer possible – there is a kind of deep trauma here which we should not easily pass over. Finally, I will conclude with some thoughts about what any international immediately sees as a “third way” solution – the international non-violent BDS campaign, fails to appear as salient within this tension between resistance and compromise, and what this means to internationals, to non-Palestinians who want to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause - can Fanon help us to act in a way that is honest and is really solidarity work and not part of the imposition of Western values onto the Palestinian struggle. 1) Fanon on Liberation and liberating the camp For Fanon, anti colonial liberation is just this: anti colonial liberation. Not postcolonial interstitially, not a transformation the flux of a between or the inclusion a subaltern into hegemony. It is the barrel of a gun, the bomb in a cafe, and the “total, complete, and absolute substitution” of “ a certain "species" of men by another "species" of men”(WE 35). Absolute substitution is always the “minimum demand of the colonized” because it exists as a need “in the consciousness and in the lives of the men and women who are colonized”(WE 35-36). The need for violence emerges because this substitution is a historical process, one which cannot remain a merely formal possibility
This is because Fanon’s thinking is not so much theoretical or any kind of a priori moral treatise on what is right. for in concrete fact everyone will be discovered by the troops. The armed struggle mobilizes the masses.the fact that everyone must work for the death of the settler allows “strayed and outlawed members” to re-enter the group. And just as violence binds individuals together as a whole. communities.. So. Violences gives the process this historical dimension: for example. The common project of violence allows for the healing of communities .it is a concrete experience in the mass repression that follows the emergence of the national war of liberation. I .in the war “the interests of one will be the interests of all. finding israeli soldiers around makes the people who live here lose the feeling of fear on a lot of things like death . playing on [the] street.” (45) It is in the context of Fanon’s thinking about violence and the absolute substitution which we should try to understand the situation of the Palestinian refugee camp. “it throws them in one way and in one direction”. if we ask a Palestinian what makes the camp strong we might hear something like this: “the camp [is strong] because of the kind of life which we live inside of it..that corresponds to the needs of the colonized but must emerge as a positive historical phenomena of liberation and healing at the level of individuals. This repression abolishes any attempt to see liberation as an individualized phenomena . everyone will be massacred—or everyone will be saved. of a national destiny. violence provides work for the colonized who are unemployed. and the nation.. This common idea is not mere propaganda . it also causes colonized groups to recognize each other and to see the indivisibility of the future nation (WE 93). but a description of the situation of the colonized. violence here plays a role “comparable to a royal pardon” (WE 86). of a collective history”(WE 93). “it introduces into each man’s consciousness the idea of a common cause. and thereby “invests their characters with positive and creative qualities”(We 85). So when it was the resistance by guns my camp was at the first line of everything and the camp was strong and dark in that time as I remember. going to jail..
but also because we want the Palestinian viewpoint to be something we can include into a larger understanding of a complex mediation. Those who have nothing to lose have nothing to lose together. (WE 41) I do not mean to defend this Palestinian idea as a “good idea”. is only one side of things. We go to the jail for this reason . this mother fucker Jew who comes from Russia or from germany or from any where in this earth [should] return to where his root belongs. in the resistance. yes I need to fight. “The natives' challenge to the colonial world is not a rational confrontation of points of view. Who is not will never belong to this land. I need to die now or live free in all my homeland. but the untidy affirmation of an original idea propounded as an absolute. between freedom and arrest. so we can vindicate our own thoughtful engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a kind of good work. strategy. other groups. and this binds resisting groups together .” The “old time” is the second intifada. the “concretization of mass repression” blurs the line between life and death. I belong here. I certainly would not to place it alongside . we must also ask the Palestinian what he or she needs. just as Fanon describes. But to talk about resistance. there is no difference between Hamas. So we might hear something like this: like if we need to talk about my emotion. In the war. or what many Palestinians refer to simply as “the war”. Fateh.” This Palestinian viewpoint is difficult for us to hear. because this kind of mediation can be worked out in thought so maybe if things are like this then thinking about it can have some positive impact. This. and if the war comes back Hamas and Fateh will stop needing to make unity and go into the operations room together. [I] can’t leave [and] lose everything my friends died for.I heard time and again that in the war.remember the camp was more strong at the old time. I am Arab.I need to return to my home land and take all my rights. between one and another. We want the conflict to be a mediation of a universal. not only because we want to believe everything can be solved by negotiations and friendship. But instead. This is my right and this is why I am stuck here. It is not a treatise on the universal.
and that the truth of the original idea of the Palestinian which I cited is not a truth of reason or discourse. we should contrast it with the Palestinian Authority’s current tactic of establishing Statehood on the ’67 borders. But aside from military co-operation. with other ideas and goals assumes that there is a kind of universal to which this idea is one possible response. I shouldn’t do this because any attempt at comparing this idea. and how this change in goal and strategy impacts the camp and the camp’s ability to self-determine its own liberation. the Israelis put spies in the camp so they can always arrest the right person. does this mean that the idea of liberation in the camp and by extension Fanon’s idea. But I think Fanon is right to say that is wrong. the communal strength becomes a liability to be controlled and watched to keep it from undermining negotiations and world public opinion. drugs like hashish are introduced into the camp . in fact. is simply bad. And I think that once you recognize this it becomes a lot easier to understand the Palestinian plight. but it did bring the Palestinian Authority to Ramallah. 2) Abstract ideals. If the main goal was not achieved. because your own personal liberation is only a side of the goal of liberating your community or nation. To properly see the value of this way of freedom. Also. But actually.this is widely known. Today the Palestinian government co-operates with the Israeli military to prevent resistance . I think it is that liberation is only understandable as communal and national selfdetermination. If we want to see something positive in this idea of liberation.other Palestinian ideas and maybe some Israeli ideas as well and talk for a while with other people and then say “yes. and this is a very short presentation so I will focus on the camp. an interpretation of the ontological-historical situation of the Palestinian refugee which functions as a strategy for the overcoming of that situation. compromise and collusion The armed struggle did not liberate Palestine. a mistake? The answer is difficult and long. Liberation is something that can’t be done for you. and so they can identify Palestinians in photographs even if they conceal their face with a keffiyeh. this goal. and the Palestinian cause. but a truth of being. this is the right idea”. The key shift for the camp when the PA adopts the goal of statehood by peaceful negotiations is that the strength of the camp is no longer of any use to the PA.
” Fanon wrote that it was at the “decisive moment” when the colonial bourgeoisie would come into the field and proclaim the idea of “non violence” (WE 61). it is not so difficult to bring “ into being a kind of class of affranchised slaves.. Those people [Palestinians from outside] don’t know because they grow up outside with all the fake life and this freedom which inside their mind. as Fanon described. So. As the situation in the Westbank has improved it attracts wealthy Palestinians from first world countries to move there and start businesses. it is not the bourgeoisie of the colonizer but the colonized which appears on the scene with the idea of non-violence and Western freedom. and how much pain they give us. They come over here and make brain storming for the people. What has happened in Palestine is a kind of reverse version of this. or slaves who are individually free”(WE 60). But most importantly. and western freedom they come to establish it here in the middle east. there is a sustained attempt by NGOs to change the ideas in the minds of the people in the camp: “. for which there is already a demand because of all the international volunteers and aid workers who are there working for NGOs teaching Palestinians about peace. the international they come with the NGO companies.instead of national liberation.. And when anyone needs to fight. They have been working here from a long time to make new Ideology in the peoples’ mind . but this is a problem because they spend all there time speaking about the peace and Freedom and this bullshit and we were those who died here and lost everything.to try to get the people to calm down. including western style nightclubs. And we should listen very carefully when Fanon says “affranchised slave”. they will instead have individual liberation . they [Palestinians from outside] don’t accept that because only we can feel how much they [the Israelis] hate us. because from the position of the camp. that is what statehood offers .to change there thinking about the life. Like now we have a lot of NGOs Company they send groups of palestinian and israelian together to establish the peace with the new generation most of them they are the palestinian who was living outside. Like the USAID.the freedom to live free in their .
Even if the palestinian government says this statehood will never be only when all the refugee return. and we have nothing. because by the time you don’t know what to do. Now. but because of the failure of the armed struggle the people in the camp can not simply laugh at the statehood project . because we know exactly how is the israeli and the Zionist way of thinking. But if I need to use my mind to reach this goal I can really understand that we have no chance against Israel. Like if we need to talk about my emotion. We have no way to win any war .we tried [in] the second intefadah.even if they disagree they have to seriously consider that this might be the only line open to them. especially if you [are] stuck between what should happen [and] what what we can do. 3) Between impossibility and inadequacy: what can Fanon reveal about the stuckness of the Palestinian refugee? “Well we are the refugees we are afraid from one thing that even after this pain and this sacrifices and after all of things we can’t easily accept to forget about our home land. [They] who arrest kids and kill them. the American guns.. but it’s impossible. They have the world support. yes we can win this war . in your understanding..” What would be needed. So if we speak about the statehood. We deal with them from a long time. [They] who build the mirkava which we saw them by our eyes move on the people’s bodies. yes I need to fight [for all the land]. for things to be going in a good way again? “Ah well this question is really hard on me especially this time.overcrowded jail of the Palestinian state. and what we [are] sure about [is] they don’t even need us [to] live in the earth. Fanon claims that these attempts to introduce the idea of non-violence and individualistic freedom will simply be laughed at by the native. they don’t understand about peace. the Zionist support.
This fight makes you stuck between the two and you can't do anything. For this what the Palestinian revolution sacrifices is the core of its own being . and in asking them to exchange it for a different idea of freedom (Western).so what about those 9 Million who are outside? So because of this you stay stuck. “ This expression of the internal struggle of a single Palestinian reveals an essential inadequacy of the peace process . and your mind which says something we can fight to win [statehood]. But maybe in 3 year or even 1 year [we will] reach the state hood if we increase the pressure on the israeli side by making everyday a protest against the occupation. “ “And these things make you sometimes sit on your chair and keep thinking. but because the absoluteness of the demand constitutes not just an essential part. [you] don’t know what to do and don’t know what is right and what is not. what about my future? It will stay dark and have no answers.if we stick to the non violent reaction. but we will suffer.. That this compromise might be pragmatically required due to the failure of the armed struggle to accomplish its goal does nothing to console those who’s emotion remains committed to the original national cause. but the basis of the struggle for liberation on the individual. And if we think with Fanon then we see that this demand is not only important because people need to have their houses back because their house in the refugee camp is poorly built and they need a better house.that in giving up the essential thing which motivates people and communities to fight and die for their liberation. social and national level. between what your emotion says it should be .. For this person. sending them to the checkpoint as a statement. We have no space to fill the refugees who live inside Palestine .000 and we are not the biggest camp. and you just get destroyed by time. the pressure to compromise and to give up the dream is . and you are in an internal fight about what you believe and what should be.all the land.. where will I go after it. because in the same time this statehood will be 6002 KM(2) and we live just in kalandia camp 21.its minimum demand. But still for me [this is] shit. and a different idea of liberation (maybe the refugees move to where the settlers lived instead of to their homes inside the 1948 borders of Israel).
you here. and you know less than them and you have much less riding on the question. so I will just saw a few things and if someone wants to ask a question I could talk more about this . because the Palestinians don’t know. because we are not dealing with something mediate . not because we offer them a better version of the freedom that they were going for. And even if you would do it. the biggest Palestinian leader who supports BDS. There is no simple answer here. And that’s wrong. But as far as I can see . So why is this? The only answer I can see is that BDS puts you first . If they accept the compromise it is because they accept it with their own mind. . they should support BDS. is not very strong in Palestine. 4) Where is the BDS in the camp? I am out of words now. because they live inside of it. because you won’t do it.it is very surprising to me that no one I talked to in the camp was interested in BDS.they don’t. Support for Mustafa Barghouti. it’s still wrong for the people in the camp because they have to liberate themselves.experienced as exhausting and young men say they feel old in the face of this. or perhaps more importantly. Rather. they should support BDS because it is a strategy of achieving their key demand .the right of return while at the same time laying down the gun. people outside. Superficially this doesn’t make sense. And it gives a political way not tainted by the corruption of the PA. the PA’s apparent willingness to negotiate away the rights of the refugees for statehood. and to understand that BDS is not the whole simple answer to this complex question. then yes. they have to decide what they will do against it or decide to try to leave. but they should also try to understand something about the difficult history of the Palestinian struggle. and especially weak in the refugee camps. I would suggest to any other non-Palestinians who want to express solidarity with the Palestinian cause. nonPalestinians.we should instead try to see this trauma for what it is and be honest with ourselves that we can not expect Palestinians to trade the right of return for summer camps and peace workshops. you should understand that you don’t know what the answer is.
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