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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gaza’s “fight to live” is its Hope

“Normalization” nonsense—Palestinians 
Nour Joudah, 
Nisreen Zaqout
Excerpt, editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

As it is with most pathetic, easy-way-out shortcuts, transparent, often desperate and patently ineffective doing-anything-to-get-grant-money gestures – it seems so with something called a “Normalization” program for Palestinians and Israelis. Sounds to me like programming, a mind-manipulating measure cloaked in do-good-ism.

   xiled Palestinians Nour Joudah and Nisreen Zaqout
U.S. “‘Normalization’ programs attempt to build ‘harmony’ between Palestinians and Israeli Jews … without addressing underlying inequalities,” Nour Joudah writes.

This is a congenital malady in the USA, an epidemic condition among the “exceptional.” 

Americans wheedle themselves into key positions in which they pretend to be doing something constructive (“humanitarianism”) all the while deliberately or inadvertently making matters worse.

Nour Joudah quotes Gazan Nisreen Zaqout who was speaking to an audience in Washington, D.C., at the closing session of the 2014 “New Story Leadership” Normalization Program. Joudah writes --

Unlike the Israeli participants, Nisreen Zaqout’s ‘firsts’ were not meeting someone new or going sailing for the first time.

Nisreen Zaqout’s ‘firsts’ were: hearing ‘fear in her mother’s voice’; [hearing] ‘her brother cry over the death of a young friend’; [hearing] her grandfather say ‘no’ to evacuation --   ‘not again’ . 

The ethnic cleansing and dispossession Palestinians experienced in 1948 — the year of Israel’s establishment — was enough.
Turning “ ‘Normalization’s’ beloved rhetoric of hope” on its head,  Nour Joudah comments, Zaqout declares that “there is no hope to tout when we start talking about human lives in numbers and when we are so willing to focus only on the hundreds of women and children — as if every Palestinian man in Gaza were a legitimate target.”

wo insightful young women speak boldly the truth of Palestine

Joudah interprets Zaqout, “Hope comes when the will of Palestinians is respected and when their rights are affirmed and granted.” Hope derives from “Gaza’s fight to live.”

Sources and notes

“Palestinian student ‘wanted to quit’ normalization group over Gaza ‘torture’,” submitted by Nour Joudah, August 20, 2014, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nour-joudah/palestinian-student-wanted-quit-normalization-group-over-gaza-torture

Nisreen Zaqout, who participated in 2014’s New Story Leadership program giving voice to her home and family, is a 21-year-old Palestinian woman from Gaza who is studying at Illinois College in mid-state Jacksonville, Illinois (Pop. around 19,000).

A Master’s graduate in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Nour Joudah had returned to Palestine and was teaching high school and living in Ramallah before she was denied reentry and banned from traveling to Palestine. She has since been re-exiled and is living and working in Washington, D.C.  Joudah has worked as the Assistant Editor for the Journal of Palestine Studies, is currently a researcher for the Arab Studies Institute and the Institute for Palestine studies; and blogs at isdoud.wordpress.com. Nour Joudah’s blog

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