How to create Palestinian identity from the outside and inside

Palestinian film-maker Elia Suleiman:

But ambivalence is a good place to stand regarding the term ”˜resistance’ because it may have lost its meaning from overuse. Resistance isn’t what it was in the 1960s ”¦ If we are just going to use the term for a nationalist cause, then I think we’re just [resurrecting] ’60s cliches.

“Resistance should never be an institution. It should never be used in a tribal fashion because, when it becomes tribal, resistance starts to [generate] a binary opposition that excludes, attacks and antagonises another tribe.

I think ”˜resistance’ is a touching, even tender, word because it’s trying to deter what is already in our living rooms. The fight has become much harsher, but there are many different strategies to resist. In my case it’s aesthetic.
If you ghettoize yourself in this or that just cause, you can be exploited and abused by those who want to keep you within that ghetto ”¦ I hope that when you come and see my work you don’t come and tell me this is ”˜the Palestinian experience.’ Everybody ages. There are many expulsions, many exiles in the world. We should have heart for all of them. Maybe the Palestinian case is special but there are many special tragedies in this world. It does no good to our humanity to think otherwise.

If the Palestinians want a state, an identity, all that it means to me is the disappearance of tanks from the schools, the freedom that they absolutely deserve and the justice that they should have brought to their feet. This is a justice I am calling for.
Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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