Tag Archives: Palestine


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Color Images taken in Dheisheh Refugee Camp outside Bethlehem (March 2016); Black and White Images taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).


Color Images taken in Dheisheh Refugee Camp outside Bethlehem (March 2016); Black and White Images taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).


Recently, the Freedom Archives was a part of the first US delegation to Palestine focused on political imprisonment and designed to strengthen the solidarity between Palestinian and US prisoners. During our ten day trip, we were empowered and humbled by stories of the ways many Palestinians maintain their culture and dignity while resisting the brutality of the Zionist colonial project. One of the methods of resistance is through revolutionary art, an example being the image of Handala.

Handala, created by political cartoonist Naji Al Ali, is a child refugee who always has his back turned to the audience as he watches policies and events unfold. Handala is now an icon of Palestinian defiance and is seen the world over as a symbol of resistance to oppression.


Top: The names of villages of origin are inscribed on the ceiling at the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp (March 2016). Black and White Image taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).

Al Ali spent most of his childhood in refugee camps and began sketching outside and inside of his family’s tent. He also developed his drawing skills in prison after he was arrested by the Lebanese military intelligence. His political cartoons are critical of the Israeli, Arab and United States governments. Al Ali’s cartoons effectively called for change and revolution, making him a threat to Israeli occupation.

Al Ali was assassinated on July 23rd,1987 by the Israeli military.

The following images weave the historical representations of Handala with some of what we saw during our trip. Truly Palestinian resistance is still alive!

You can learn more by visiting our collection on Palestine.

Updates to Palestine Collections

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13.JewishAllianceAgainstZionism.flyerOver the past few weeks  I have been working on updating the Freedom Archives’ collections on Human Rights in Palestine and Anti-Zionism. All of the documents in each collection now possess descriptions, as well as a more robust list of searchable keywords. In addition, there are now a few more digitized documents in each collection.13.ZionismApartheid.Periodical 1

Given recent events in Palestine, I think it is especially important to look at some of these documents to be reminded both of the long history of Israeli abuses against Palestinians, and the fact that the Zionist ideology under-girding Israeli oppression is not a universal Jewish position. The Anti-Zionist collection presents numerous view points from individuals and groups opposing the Zionist attempt to claim a legitimate right to Palestinian land. One particular document that stands out is Moshe Menuhin’s essay, “Jewish Critics of Zionism,” which details the history of political Zionism, beginning in 1897 with Theodor Herzl’s World Zionist Organization and the numerous Jewish voices that have spoken out against the oppressive and colonial aspects of Zionism. This document, along with other Anti-Zionist pieces, can be found here.

17.AlHaq.Ketziot.PressRelease 1In the Human Rights in Palestine collection I came across a few interesting and important documents relating to the imprisonment of Palestinians in Israeli detentions camps. Two particular camps, Ketziot and Ansar 2 (the “Shore Camp”), seem especially worthy of mention. Two 1988 reports on the horrible mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners at the Ketzoit camp, one written by lawyer Tamar Peleg Sryck and the other by Palestinian prisoners at the camp, can be found here. In addition, a description of the troubling practice of incarcerating Palestinian youth can be found in the document, “Minors in the Shore Camp,” also written by Tamar Peleg Sryck in 1988.

These documents provide a vivid depiction of Zionist Israel’s abuse of Palestinians and an inspiring reminder of all the voices which oppose the oppressive nature of Zionist ideology. Furthermore, these documents shed light on the ways that current Israeli actions mirror those committed in the past. Each outbreak of conflict in Palestine is not completely new, but is part of a recurring cycle of Israeli colonial violence against the Palestinian people which dates back to the birth of political Zionism and the creation of the Israeli state.


The Value of Unlearning

imageHi, I’m Kathryne, a student at Johns Hopkins who interned at the Freedom Archives this summer. For the past couple of months, I’ve watched documentaries, read papers, and listened to audio recordings pertaining to a number of different topics. These topics were not necessarily closely intertwined geographically or chronologically, but ideologically and in the greater scheme of historical developments- absolutely. I discussed with Nathaniel the not-totally-unsurprising parallels between the development of the states of South Africa, Israel, and the United States, at the expense of their indigenous populations. So the historical parallels were laid down, objectively, and objectively, there is little moral difference between the ways in which Western imperialists colonized their respective stolen lands.

But objectivity is a non-factor: of course there is a moral difference – at least from the perspective of an American teenager who grew up in the United States consuming its media, its history education, its news, its values.

As hours and days and weeks passed at the Freedom Archives it became very clear that it was my responsibility, in order to become an informed citizen, to unlearn the destructive thought processes that made the Boers’ Great Trek and American Manifest Destiny somehow wildly different; the latter was justified and at the very least, pure history, with no bearing on the United States in the 21st century. I found that unlearning is much more difficult than learning. For the first few weeks at the Freedom Archives, I read a number of feminist papers, perspectives which I found easy to accept. I had no issue with bell hooks’ explanation of patriarchy because she was simply articulating what I already knew to be true. But regarding other topics outside my own realm of experience there is a kind of mental block formed of everything the public school system and mainstream media have ever taught me.

I think I fully understood the concept of doublethink when I consciously recognized it in myself – and therefore in the vast majority of other young Americans who were inculcated in the same culture. So many of us can clearly condemn the murder of Palestinian children, but are unwilling to specifically condemn Israel for its actions, unwilling to specifically assign the title of “aggressor” to any party (except, often, Hamas), unwilling to note the United States’ support for bloodshed. So many of us could explain why Boston Tea Partiers were heroic for fighting for self-determination against a tyrannical power, and at the same time absorb the depiction by the media of rioters in Watts in 1965, in L.A. in 1992, of protesters in Ferguson today, as completely out of line and irrational, as not indicative of any real problems. I have learned a lot as an intern this summer at the Freedom Archives, but I’ve also learned the value of unlearning.


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