In support of Palestinians and in particular of the people of Gaza, who since the 30th of March have been experiencing a new period of bloody and disproportionate repression, we organised an international political action of solidarity.
This took place on the 15th of May 2018, the anniversary of the Nakba, and lasted three hours, like the daily supply of power to Gaza by the State of Israel.
Two concerts, a radio show and a performance, all happening in the same space, aired live on the Internet and automatically archived. As a result, this action was immediately available for broadcast all around the world with a simple internet connection.
The main event took place in Berlin at The Workshop
(Mary Fischer), while being broadcast in Locarno at Spazio ELLE
(Nadia Bensbih and Marco Cupellari).
The radio show was at the centre of our evening. We were pleased to have three hours on Colaboradio.de, from 7 pm to 10 pm, which were organised as follows:
- an introduction to Palestinian musicians by C-drik Fermont (45 minutes)
- first concert by Dirar Kalash (oud and electronica, 25 minutes)
- “Hidden Stories: Nakba” radio show by Shanti Suki Osman (45 minutes)
- second concert by Dirar Kalash (oud and electronica, 25 minutes)
- interview with Frank Barat about Global Palestine (20 to 30 minutes)
- the performance’s audio will be intermittently audible and will be the common thread throughout the evening (10 to 20 minutes)
Jérémie Pujau’s performance ran in parallel to the radio show.
It is based on a handpoke tattooing session of a symbol of solidarity combining the Palestinian slogan “Kulluna Ghaza” (We are all Gaza) with the infamous Palestinian Key of Return. The tattoo was designed in a collaboration between Belal Khaled, calligrapher and photographer met in Gaza, and densha_tattoo.
The performer read texts such as UN Resolution 194 and writings by Hannah Arendt.
The whole performance took place within a structure covered with gauze reminiscent of the shape of the Gaza strip. This action was visible only indirectly, through this veil of gauze, as well as in the form of a simultaneous projection on a wall next to the structure and on YouTube.
The aim here is to express unreserved support of the Palestinian right of return and to make a call for the end of the blockade.
The 15th of May 2018 was the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the disaster, when 700,000 Palestinians were chased out of their homes. 70 years of exile, colonisation, occupation, oppression, violence, racism, propaganda... 70 years of progressive ethnic cleansing, but 70 years of resistance too, a resistance which is amplifying and spreading.
Far from being exceptional or unique, the case of Palestine brings together more and more heterogeneous groups throughout the world, with increased organisation. The intersectionality of their struggles can be seen in other groups who are fighting for justice and human dignity.
In his book Global Palestine (Columbia University Press, 2012), John Collins explains how the worldwide interest in this cause increases in inverse proportion to the size of the territory still controlled by the Palestinians, and how the local struggle for their rights reflects four global processes shaping the conditions in which we all live: colonisation, securitisation, acceleration and occupation.
- We are all Palestinians -
It is in this dreadful but also somehow hopeful context that we strive to make our contribution. This action takes place at the end of the Great March of Return, a 6-week popular protest started in reaction to President Trump’s decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. The official opening is planned for the 14th of May, the anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel, and the day before the anniversary of the Nakba. A very significant “coincidence”, especially for the Gazans, who have been living under the Israeli-Egyptian blockade for over 11 years now and whose hope for Return gradually disappears with the lives of their children.
In 2016 I had the opportunity to spend 6 days in this open-air prison, a strip of land of 365 km² and 1.8 million inhabitants, a heartrending experience. I was part of Ai Weiwei’s filming team for his documentary “Human Flow”, just like Yasser Mourtaja, the Palestinian journalist murdered by the Israeli army while he was covering the demonstration on the 6th of April.
But as Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liebermann said on the day after Yasser’s funeral, there are “No innocent people” in Gaza...later claiming he meant “naive”.
However this is not surprising coming from someone who threatened the Arab-Israeli citizens in 2015: “Those who are against us, there's nothing to be done – we need to pick up an axe and cut off his head”.
The current situation isn’t surprising either. Hannah Arendt warned us in two essays, written in 1944 and 1947 respectively, gathered in Jewish Writings ("Zionism Reconsidered", "To Save the Jewish Homeland", Schocken, 2007), against what could occur if Zionism kept following this path: Nakba, unending conflict, dependence on the American Jewish community (thus its progressive isolation) and political Zionism’s contribution to global anti-Semitism.
We can legitimately wonder if antisemitism would still make headlines if political Zionism wasn’t a colonial racist ideology and did not perpetuate this dubious yet strategic conflation that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism...which in turn allows the stifling all forms of criticism of the State’s policies. US support also grants a certain amount of freedom but when this support withers, this could well mean the end of the State of Israel as we know it, as illustrated by the case of South Africa.
It is now necessary to look towards the future and think of the concrete means of resistance available to us to put an end to apartheid in Israel. Even if this struggle demands uninterrupted dedication, some points deserve our immediate attention. The situation in Gaza is particularly worrying on many levels, notably the drinking water issue. Last year the United Nations declared that “the last source of drinking water in Gaza will irreversibly run dry by 2020, unless immediate measures are taken”. Israel is not solely responsible for this situation - Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt also bear their share of responsibility - but it certainly is the main culprit.
Finally, as Hannah Arendt reminded us, life in society implies a non-negotiable collective responsibility.
"...no moral, individual and personal, standards of conduct will ever be able to excuse us from collective responsibility. This vicarious responsibility for things we have not done, this taking upon ourselves the consequences for things we are entirely innocent of, is the price we pay for the fact that we live our lives not by ourselves but among our fellow men, and that the faculty of action which, after all, is the political faculty par excellence, can be actualized only in one of the many and manifold forms of human community."
Hannah Arendt, Collective responsibility, 1968.
Pieces played by C-drik Fermont:
01. Mounir Anastas - Né du néant
02. Donia Jarrar - The Dictator Balances on his Inside Edge
03. Asma Ghanem - Bang Bang Opera أوبرا طاخ طيخ
04. Tashweesh - Intro - المقدمة
05. Stormtrap - 7elem fil pixel (حلم في البيكسل)
06. Muqata'a - Al Watar Al Wiswas - الوتر الوسواس
07. Checkpoint 303 & Jawaher Shofani - In 1948
08. SAWT - One thousand and one states ألف دولة ودولة
09. Rhéa Dally - Moghamarat rambo wil comtessa
10. Dirar Kalash - Asphalt Prophecies
11. Axel Dörner & Jassem Hindi - Caol (at the very end)
Poster by Stéphane Hirlemann
Photos by Mary Fischer, Romain Malauzat and Jérémie Pujau