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Break the silence, uphold the truth and let Palestinians lead on history, culture and lived experiences.

UPHOLD THE TRUTH

A BRIEF CONTEXT 

“The power to narrate, or to block other narratives from forming and emerging, is very important to culture and imperialism, and constitutes one of the main connections between them”  

EDWARD SAID

WRITER & ACADEMIC

     Whilst the lives of Palestinians are once again front-page news, Palestinian history, experiences and perspectives continue to be sidelined and rewritten, including in cultural spaces.

     WRITERS AGAINST THE WAR ON GAZA analysed the NY Times and found it quoted Israeli and American sources 3xs more than Palestinians since October 2023. They also found that the NY Times used the passive voice to describe Palestinians 1.7xs more than they did to describe Israelis.  The cultural sector in the West reflects the same issues that are prevalent in the media and on the rare occasion Palestine is centred, it is often done so without Palestinians leading the on the conversation or creative output. In theatre, one example is the Tony Award-winning play Oslo, which was made without any leading Palestinian involvement. Placing a European at the centre of a white saviour narrative, it was riddled with racism and historical inaccuracies where Palestinian characters were instrumentalised to support the Western and Israeli perspectives.

 

    When Palestinians are invited into a space or a public statement is made, this often happens in a framework that ignores basic historical and current truth, falling into colonial, discriminative or racist tropes that perpetuate misinformation, causing further harm.

 

These problematic frameworks include but are not limited to:

     

BALANCE

      Attempts at "balance" create the impression that Israelis and Palestinians are equal in power, rights and role in ‘the conflict’. This erases the current and historical context of the oppressor and the oppressed and that the indigenous Palestinian population has faced over a hundred years of British then Israeli settler-colonialism, apartheid and military occupation. When a Palestinian artist is given space, it is often only if an Israeli or pro-Israeli is also invited for balance. Often termed normalisation, this is almost never a requirement for an Israeli or pro-Israeli artist. 

PEACE

      Notions of “arts for peace” or as a means to “foster connection, conversation and understanding” often expect Palestinians to participate in dynamics that ignore the core routes of injustice or without a foundation of human rights and equality being recognised first.

SELECTING WHEN THE STORY BEGINS AND ENDS

      When discussing propaganda, George Orwell, likened it to a clock starting and stopping. A pattern of events is curated that begins with Palestinian provocation and ends with Israeli retribution, once again eradicating history and Israeli settler colonialism, apartheid and military occupation. 

      The starting point is often a moment of Palestinian resistance, setting up the idea that Palestinians are the aggressors and Israelis are simply responding to unprovoked attacks. There has been no clearer example of this than “October 7th”, which is often noted as the beginning of when aggression started (including in the majority of statements by the cultural sector).

      In previous years once there has been a ceasefire, the clock is stopped again with little acknowledgement that violence and human rights violations towards Palestinians continues as does land theft.

TERRORIST / VICTIM BINARY

      International films, T.V. and theatre are notorious for adhering to and doubling down on a “terrorist” or “victim” binary. This either expects Palestinians to take the blame for Israeli occupation and colonialism or causes further dehumanisation and disempowerment.

      The “terrorist” label allows countries, their people and corporations to avoid taking responsibility for their role in supporting, funding and profiting off Palestinian oppression.

      At the same time, a “victim” narrative puts those on the outside in the role of saviour and erases the rich and diverse struggle Palestinians have built in the fight for liberation.

      Furthermore, whilst the arts should be a place of emotional expression, the demands for the perfect victim, or the fear of being stereotyped as angry and violent due to Islamophobia and racism, further dictate and restrict how Palestinians can resist, speak out or create art.

READING

Timelines, articles and resources from some of the worlds best writers, groups and cultural organisations

READ >>

FILM

Artistic Clapboard

A history of Palestine Films told through documentaries and film.

WATCH >>

AUDIO

Podcasts, short stories and interviews told through audio.

LISTEN >>

BOOKS

Stack of Books

History books and novels by predominantly Palestinian writers.

READ >>

VISUALS

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VISUALIZING PALESTINE uses data and research to communicate Palestinian experiences visually.

SEE >>

MAPS

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Maps to help understand land occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism.

FIND OUT MORE >>

DICTIONARY

Wooden Alphabet Letters

A dictionary of words often used in relation to Palestine.

ALL OUR RESOURCES

A collection of all our learning resources

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EXAMPLES OF ACTIONS TO INSPIRE YOUR OWN

EVERYTHING
YOU NEED
TO WRITE
A STATEMENT

Colorful Pens

Statements we love and inspiration and guidance to writing your own 

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SPREAD THE WORDS
OF ARTISTS

Performance of The Revolution's Promise organsied by Motforestillinger in Norway

Palestinian artists have made  their testimonies, texts and poetry available to read around the world. Share their words at events, meetings, and protests.  and use storytelling to mobile globally.

SHARE
PALESTINIAN WORDS
ON THE TRAIN

Members of LIBRARIANS AND ARCHIVISTS WITH PALESTINE took to the subways in NYC to read Palestinian poetry and testimonies

FIND OUT MORE >>

ORGANISE
A BOOK CLUB

Everything you need to set up a Palestine Book Club by LEEDS PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL

FIND OUT MORE >>

FOR MORE BOOK SUGGESTIONS >>

TAKE A STANCE
ONLINE

Book Workers 4 Palestine

BOOK WRITERS 4 PALESTINE have been encoring writers to express solidarity online. Join them by sharing their graphics or share another groups

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OCCUPY A
CULTURAL SPACE

WRITERS AGAINST THE WAR ON GAZA occupied MOMA in New York to challenge the museums silence on genocide

FIND OUT MORE >>

PROJECT ONTO A CULTURAL SPACE

IMG_8834.HEIC

ARTISTS AGAINST GENOCIDE project 'Silence is Complity' on the National Theatre in the UK.

SPEAK OUT AT
A PERFORMANCE

In Barcelona, a director speaks on the stage after a performance at the Sala Beckett Theatre.

WEAR A SYMBOL FOR PALESTINE AT A CULTURAL EVENT

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Whether a poppy, a kuffiyeh or embroidery, wear a symbol of Palestine at a cultural event and show your solidarity with Palestinian artists.

WRITE A GIANT LETTER TO A SILENT CULTURAL ORGANISATION

QUEERS 4 PALESTINE and STOP ART WASHING write a giant letter to the CEO of the Art Gallery Ontario with one protestor placing it in the gallery.

THE PLAYWRIGHT
VS THE THEATRE

Victor I. Cazares has stopped taking their HIV meds — until the NY Theatre Workshop calls for a cease-fire in Gaza.

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MAKE A STATEMENT
ON THE RED CARPET
(EVEN IF YOUR NOT INVITED)

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A flashmob at the Venice Film Festival.

READ MORE >>

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