Fanon, Palestine and the Psychology of Liberation

I am presenting a paper with the above title tomorrow at Strategies of Critique, a conference by the Social and Political Thought program at York University. It is happening in Accolade East 007, and I am on the panel which is happening between 2:30 and 4. I am a bit anxious about how it will go, it is my first attempt to do anything academic on a Palestinian topic. Anyway, if you are interested, here is the introduction/abstract:

In my presentation I am concerned with the question of the social psychology of liberation 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 which came under control of the state of 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 anti-colonial 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.

 

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