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The Occupation Stole My Words, June Jordan Helped me to Relocate Them

Dedicated to June Jordan (who still lives among us)

My friends had expected retellings of my journey when I arrived back from Israel and the Palestinian territories at the start of the year, but I could not locate the words necessary to describe my experience because they were snatched from my tongue. They were occupied by fear. I remained silent for several days and avoided extended conversations regarding my trip. I felt a strange and profound sense of loneliness and struggled to find feeling and meaning. I was made silent. And it makes sense why.

Terror compels us to mute our voice and to still reaction. My preparation for the trip, a delegation (the first) of queer and trans activists to Palestine, consisted of a few fundraising efforts and me figuring out the best way to explain to potential financial supporters that I would use their dollars to cover my trip to Palestine, which provoked fear regarding my safety among many. In the minds of some of my friends, the mention of Palestine and the Arab world conjured images of the terrific and terrifying, of the terrorist and of the terrorizing. And for others, it provoked feelings of detestation. It was those folk who warned me about the possibility of conversion into some sort of pro-Palestinian / anti-Israel activist who, by sway of anti-Semitic evangelists, might be emboldened upon my return to stand on the wrong side of justice. Some others had given me money overly impressed by my seeming commitment to the Israeli cause and my ostensible respect for Zionist pronunciations of Israel as the chosen of G-d. They assumed, I guess, that my Black church upbringing would somehow shape my view of Israel in relation to Palestine or that the Hebrew Scriptures would be the hermeneutical lens through which I would come to understand conquest as a divine order of events as opposed to a dehumanizing project of colonization by mortal hands.

Mortal hands: the anthropomorphic hands of imperialism: the tight grip of state-sanctioned militarized hands on guns controlling land and monitoring mobility and throwing tear gas and slamming elderly women to the ground and disappearing children and steering the demolition trucks that carve zeros in the ground: those hands are the hands of G-d?

When I arrived at the Ben Gurion Aiport in Tel Aviv, the first hands that were extended in my direction were the hands of airport security. The guard wasted no time in requesting my passport. When I made it to the security booth, I was greeted with, yet, another look of suspicion.  I responded with the appropriate performance of tenseness. And, why shouldn’t I have? I landed in Tel Aviv black, male and bearded carrying the rationale for my journey in my mind and a sketchbook with risky words in my bag. Security asked me for my passport and inquired about the purpose of my travels. I gave too much, literally. I handed over my passport, my notebook and my courage, upon request. I failed to recall, however, that I had prophesied that exact moment some time ago right there on the first page of my book. Security discovered the same when he opened page one in my scrapbook and read these words scribbled and crossed out in black ink on the white page:

We know. And, it’s because of this that our “knowing”…that our voices, experiences, stories, life worlds, identities, politics, visions, and bodies are often in danger of being, ostracization, subsumption, violated, violation.

Knowing is dangerous, for many of us: for (non)white, (non)male, (non)abled, (non)polis, (non)bougpetit bourgeois, (non)straight bodies. Those imaged as (non)sense material existing in the world (non)plussed. But, we know!

And, our “knowing” is dangerous. For it is [within] that we hold truths that critique tailored systems of domination fashioned to…

 …silence us?

After reading the words that I forgot existed, security kept my passport and itinerary and asked that I take a seat in the waiting area. I was not alone there, but there were others whose heads were adorned with the حجاب (hijab), whose skin colors were differently hued, and/or whose reasons for travel spurred distrust.  And, our knowing was dangerous.

Darnell in Nabi Saleh in the West Bank

We knew why we were there.  I knew. I had no other reason to arrive in Tel Aviv, black, male and bearded, except to pose a threat to the state of Israel, right? I knew what they were thinking. I knew that I appeared dangerous: a security problem whose entrance into the country absorbed security like the others who nervously waited with me. The really polite guard who invited me into his office for questioning asked my purpose for traveling and requested “this notebook.” I gave him both. I mentioned that I was Christian and that I am a seminarian graduate who came to Israel, Jerusalem specifically, as a spiritual quest. I lied. While I identify as Christian, sometimes, I was not there as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land because I view illegally partitioned land as defiled. I was there to visit Palestine but feared that the announcement of my truth would have not set me free. After discovering that I was Christian, and therefore not Muslim, my reason for being there and my writings were no longer an issue, and I was unconstrained. But my words as in my thoughts as in my affect as in my voice were not–that is not until her words found me.

Black feminist poet warrior scholar June Jordan traveled with me from my apartment in Bedstuy (or Bedford-Stuyvesant as she named the urban neighborhood in Brooklyn that she also called home) to Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, and Ramallah…from Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Beit Lehem, and Qalandia Checkpoint. June Jordan’s spirit was present when I traveled in utter silence with tears escaping my eyes in the dark of the night as I listened to a Palestinian elder, Abu Hussam, tell stories of his childhood as he pointed to acres of barren land that was once the village, his village, of Lajun. The aged laminated map that he held tightly in his hands evidenced his truth and memorized the roadways, the homes, and the wells that Al Nakba sought to dis-remember. The elder held back his tears. I let mine flow. And, as I listened, I opened my internet browser on my iPhone in search of June Jordan’s words. She spoke to me:

-from Moving Towards Home

“Where is Abu Fadi,” she wailed.

“Who will bring me my loved one?”

New York Times, 9/20/82
(after the 1982 Phalangist/Israeli Massacre of Palestinian Refugees in Sabra and Shatila)

I do not wish to speak about the bulldozer and the

red dirt

not quite covering all of the arms and legs

because I do not wish to speak about unspeakable events

that must follow from those who dare

“to purify” a people

those who dare

“to exterminate” a people

those who dare

to describe human beings as “beasts with two legs”

those who dare

“to mop up”

“to tighten the noose”

“to step up the military pressure”

“to ring around” civilian streets with tanks

those who dare

to close the universities

to abolish the press

to kill the elected representatives

of the people who refuse to be purified

those are the ones from whom we must redeem

the words of our beginning

because I need to speak about home

Like Jordan,

I did not wish to speak about aged maps

held tightly

like treasures in matured Palestinian hands

because they possess memories of dirt, of grass, of homes, of wells

exploded like dreams of return

because of the want for more “holy” land

that is defiled by blood, by tears, by debris, by bodies,

by 760 kilometers of separation wall

by many barb wired gates

by over 700 checkpoints

by newly paved roads graciously funded by USAID

guarded by young Israeli soldiers

trained to interrogate

armed with a smile

armed ready to secure land and rights

armed with guns

because everyone else are terrorists

whose anger can only be quenched by bloodlust

whose words are dangerous

because those are the ones from whom we must redeem

the words of our ending

because I need to speak about what was once home

My words my thought my affect my voice were dislocated from the grasp of fear and I began to write.

June Jordan’s words ( I was born a Black woman / and now / I am become a Palestinian) resuscitated my courage and like her I had become a Palestinian, though, I had been a Palestinian all along–even before my arrival on the land. I only needed to recall the guard that awaited me when I departed the plane; the guard that took my passport, my itinerary, my scrapbook, my words; the guard that interrogated me one on one in the security room wanting to know if my beard was a sign for allegiance to Allah…the many guards that guard a nation from everyone else but itself.

I am no longer silent because I refuse to become a “map” held in someone else’s hand carrying unvoiced memories.

I speak. I write. Because, I have to.

 

76 Comments

  1. Alexis

    March 1, 2012 at 3:42 am

    This was a powerful piece. I'm glad that I read it early in the morning, by the light of candles and my laptop. Appropriately, it was silent outside, inside, and within me. I was moved, deeply. Thank you seems inadequate, but thank you nonetheless.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Alexis: Thank you for your kind words. Early morning and late night reading is always wonderful. Darnell

  2. Alexis

    March 1, 2012 at 3:42 am

    This was a powerful piece. I'm glad that I read it early in the morning, by the light of candles and my laptop. Appropriately, it was silent outside, inside, and within me. I was moved, deeply. Thank you seems inadequate, but thank you nonetheless.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Alexis: Thank you for your kind words. Early morning and late night reading is always wonderful. Darnell

  3. Alexis

    March 1, 2012 at 3:42 am

    This was a powerful piece. I'm glad that I read it early in the morning, by the light of candles and my laptop. Appropriately, it was silent outside, inside, and within me. I was moved, deeply. Thank you seems inadequate, but thank you nonetheless.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Alexis: Thank you for your kind words. Early morning and late night reading is always wonderful. Darnell

  4. Alexis

    March 1, 2012 at 3:42 am

    This was a powerful piece. I'm glad that I read it early in the morning, by the light of candles and my laptop. Appropriately, it was silent outside, inside, and within me. I was moved, deeply. Thank you seems inadequate, but thank you nonetheless.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Alexis: Thank you for your kind words. Early morning and late night reading is always wonderful. Darnell

  5. Tamura A. Lomax

    March 1, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Brilliant. Timely. Necessary. I'm on my journey toward my own recovery brother. Thank you!

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Thank you, TAL! Keep moving on that journey. Darnell

  6. Tamura A. Lomax

    March 1, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Brilliant. Timely. Necessary. I'm on my journey toward my own recovery brother. Thank you!

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Thank you, TAL! Keep moving on that journey. Darnell

  7. Tamura A. Lomax

    March 1, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Brilliant. Timely. Necessary. I'm on my journey toward my own recovery brother. Thank you!

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Thank you, TAL! Keep moving on that journey. Darnell

  8. Tamura A. Lomax

    March 1, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Brilliant. Timely. Necessary. I'm on my journey toward my own recovery brother. Thank you!

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Thank you, TAL! Keep moving on that journey. Darnell

  9. Matt

    March 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

    You have a powerful voice Darnell that stirs and shakes. Thanks for this article, and for all of your writing. It's beautiful.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

      Matt, thank you for the encouraging words…and for reading. In solidarity, Darnell

  10. Matt

    March 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

    You have a powerful voice Darnell that stirs and shakes. Thanks for this article, and for all of your writing. It's beautiful.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

      Matt, thank you for the encouraging words…and for reading. In solidarity, Darnell

  11. Matt

    March 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

    You have a powerful voice Darnell that stirs and shakes. Thanks for this article, and for all of your writing. It's beautiful.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

      Matt, thank you for the encouraging words…and for reading. In solidarity, Darnell

  12. Matt

    March 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

    You have a powerful voice Darnell that stirs and shakes. Thanks for this article, and for all of your writing. It's beautiful.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

      Matt, thank you for the encouraging words…and for reading. In solidarity, Darnell

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  17. Silenced By NDAA

    March 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Shit bro, you ought to put warning labels on pieces like his. Read it while tears flowed, silencing my heart. "Freedom" purchased at the price of being silent, isn't really freedom at all is it?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Thanks for the note. Yes, NDAA is quite disturbing and tear inducing. Silences won't protect us (all the time). Respect, Darnell

  18. Silenced By NDAA

    March 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Shit bro, you ought to put warning labels on pieces like his. Read it while tears flowed, silencing my heart. "Freedom" purchased at the price of being silent, isn't really freedom at all is it?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Thanks for the note. Yes, NDAA is quite disturbing and tear inducing. Silences won't protect us (all the time). Respect, Darnell

  19. Silenced By NDAA

    March 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Shit bro, you ought to put warning labels on pieces like his. Read it while tears flowed, silencing my heart. "Freedom" purchased at the price of being silent, isn't really freedom at all is it?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Thanks for the note. Yes, NDAA is quite disturbing and tear inducing. Silences won't protect us (all the time). Respect, Darnell

  20. Silenced By NDAA

    March 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Shit bro, you ought to put warning labels on pieces like his. Read it while tears flowed, silencing my heart. "Freedom" purchased at the price of being silent, isn't really freedom at all is it?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Thanks for the note. Yes, NDAA is quite disturbing and tear inducing. Silences won't protect us (all the time). Respect, Darnell

  21. cj

    March 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hello and thank you. All of us, who actually are blessed to visit Palestine, return home with the realization that these are beautiful people and we must tell their story. Yet, we find few people who want to listen! So, we write and we thank you for your ability to share your experience.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:40 am

      Thank you, CJ, for writing and affirming the need to speak up. Darnell

  22. cj

    March 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hello and thank you. All of us, who actually are blessed to visit Palestine, return home with the realization that these are beautiful people and we must tell their story. Yet, we find few people who want to listen! So, we write and we thank you for your ability to share your experience.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:40 am

      Thank you, CJ, for writing and affirming the need to speak up. Darnell

  23. cj

    March 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hello and thank you. All of us, who actually are blessed to visit Palestine, return home with the realization that these are beautiful people and we must tell their story. Yet, we find few people who want to listen! So, we write and we thank you for your ability to share your experience.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:40 am

      Thank you, CJ, for writing and affirming the need to speak up. Darnell

  24. cj

    March 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hello and thank you. All of us, who actually are blessed to visit Palestine, return home with the realization that these are beautiful people and we must tell their story. Yet, we find few people who want to listen! So, we write and we thank you for your ability to share your experience.

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:40 am

      Thank you, CJ, for writing and affirming the need to speak up. Darnell

  25. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between radicalized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It's a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists' disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

  26. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between radicalized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It's a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists' disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

  27. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between radicalized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It's a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists' disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

  28. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between radicalized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It's a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists' disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

  29. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between racialized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It’s a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists’ disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:49 am

      Habiba: Thanks for your thoughtful response. While I was in Palestine as part of a delegation ("a buffer"), I still experienced my own senses of "locatedness" and dislocation as a black queer American in Palestine…and thought lots about the ways in which my various locations "colored" my experience (as a member of a mostly white delegation within the context of Palestine). The question of internalized racism within Palestinian society did not come up, however. And, it is a conversation worth pursuing, one that I believe many of the queer and feminist Palestinian activists are more than able to engage. Many (those with whom I shared conversation) seem to maintain political frames that are intentional about broadening "the resistance to include all forms of subordination". Darnell

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:23 am

        Thanks for writing an equally thoughtful response back. I understand there is always space for transformation, would just like to see that articulated in spaces inhabited by general audiences. I am assuming you don't speak Arabic either?, and relied on intermediaries and/or engaged with Palestinian activists who are bilingual. I didn't even broach the subject of language and dislocation, we put so much emphasis on locations, such as, race and nationality, religion, gender etc while there are other dimensions at play…so we'll keep the conversation flowing.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:30 am

          Indeed, there are many dimensions at play-language is, yet, another. And, my lack of ability to speak Arabic presented another form of dislocation.

          But at that place where understanding/translation is stifled because of language, I still was able to "translate" much of the senses of living life under various "occupations" by what I saw with my eyes and experienced in my body. And, I spoke with many Palestinians who spoke Arabic and English.

          This reflection is a beginning of a knitting together of my personal experience there (from the standpoint of my context) and is less of a critical analysis. In fact, most of it is centered on my entrance into Tel Aviv…your points are very helpful, however, as they will help shape other writings in the future. So let's keep the conversation flowing…:)

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:48 am

        P.S. What happened to the composition of the delegation? (There aren't too many Queer delegations going to the occupied territories, so it's safe to say the statement about the delegation, I received in an email for a fundraising drive was linked to your trip), I could have sworn I read that half the delegation was African-American? I'm just curious to know what changed.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:33 am

          We did not conduct a joint fundraising drive prior to our trip. And, we did not compose a statement until after our return. I was one of two African-Americans who traveled as part of this delegation. So I am not sure what you are referencing. Peace and thanks for the dialogue, darnell

  30. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between racialized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It’s a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists’ disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:49 am

      Habiba: Thanks for your thoughtful response. While I was in Palestine as part of a delegation ("a buffer"), I still experienced my own senses of "locatedness" and dislocation as a black queer American in Palestine…and thought lots about the ways in which my various locations "colored" my experience (as a member of a mostly white delegation within the context of Palestine). The question of internalized racism within Palestinian society did not come up, however. And, it is a conversation worth pursuing, one that I believe many of the queer and feminist Palestinian activists are more than able to engage. Many (those with whom I shared conversation) seem to maintain political frames that are intentional about broadening "the resistance to include all forms of subordination". Darnell

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:23 am

        Thanks for writing an equally thoughtful response back. I understand there is always space for transformation, would just like to see that articulated in spaces inhabited by general audiences. I am assuming you don't speak Arabic either?, and relied on intermediaries and/or engaged with Palestinian activists who are bilingual. I didn't even broach the subject of language and dislocation, we put so much emphasis on locations, such as, race and nationality, religion, gender etc while there are other dimensions at play…so we'll keep the conversation flowing.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:30 am

          Indeed, there are many dimensions at play-language is, yet, another. And, my lack of ability to speak Arabic presented another form of dislocation.

          But at that place where understanding/translation is stifled because of language, I still was able to "translate" much of the senses of living life under various "occupations" by what I saw with my eyes and experienced in my body. And, I spoke with many Palestinians who spoke Arabic and English.

          This reflection is a beginning of a knitting together of my personal experience there (from the standpoint of my context) and is less of a critical analysis. In fact, most of it is centered on my entrance into Tel Aviv…your points are very helpful, however, as they will help shape other writings in the future. So let's keep the conversation flowing…:)

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:48 am

        P.S. What happened to the composition of the delegation? (There aren't too many Queer delegations going to the occupied territories, so it's safe to say the statement about the delegation, I received in an email for a fundraising drive was linked to your trip), I could have sworn I read that half the delegation was African-American? I'm just curious to know what changed.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:33 am

          We did not conduct a joint fundraising drive prior to our trip. And, we did not compose a statement until after our return. I was one of two African-Americans who traveled as part of this delegation. So I am not sure what you are referencing. Peace and thanks for the dialogue, darnell

  31. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between racialized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It’s a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists’ disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:49 am

      Habiba: Thanks for your thoughtful response. While I was in Palestine as part of a delegation ("a buffer"), I still experienced my own senses of "locatedness" and dislocation as a black queer American in Palestine…and thought lots about the ways in which my various locations "colored" my experience (as a member of a mostly white delegation within the context of Palestine). The question of internalized racism within Palestinian society did not come up, however. And, it is a conversation worth pursuing, one that I believe many of the queer and feminist Palestinian activists are more than able to engage. Many (those with whom I shared conversation) seem to maintain political frames that are intentional about broadening "the resistance to include all forms of subordination". Darnell

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:23 am

        Thanks for writing an equally thoughtful response back. I understand there is always space for transformation, would just like to see that articulated in spaces inhabited by general audiences. I am assuming you don't speak Arabic either?, and relied on intermediaries and/or engaged with Palestinian activists who are bilingual. I didn't even broach the subject of language and dislocation, we put so much emphasis on locations, such as, race and nationality, religion, gender etc while there are other dimensions at play…so we'll keep the conversation flowing.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:30 am

          Indeed, there are many dimensions at play-language is, yet, another. And, my lack of ability to speak Arabic presented another form of dislocation.

          But at that place where understanding/translation is stifled because of language, I still was able to "translate" much of the senses of living life under various "occupations" by what I saw with my eyes and experienced in my body. And, I spoke with many Palestinians who spoke Arabic and English.

          This reflection is a beginning of a knitting together of my personal experience there (from the standpoint of my context) and is less of a critical analysis. In fact, most of it is centered on my entrance into Tel Aviv…your points are very helpful, however, as they will help shape other writings in the future. So let's keep the conversation flowing…:)

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:48 am

        P.S. What happened to the composition of the delegation? (There aren't too many Queer delegations going to the occupied territories, so it's safe to say the statement about the delegation, I received in an email for a fundraising drive was linked to your trip), I could have sworn I read that half the delegation was African-American? I'm just curious to know what changed.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:33 am

          We did not conduct a joint fundraising drive prior to our trip. And, we did not compose a statement until after our return. I was one of two African-Americans who traveled as part of this delegation. So I am not sure what you are referencing. Peace and thanks for the dialogue, darnell

  32. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article that draws the contours around the solidarity between racialized peoples in the States, (namely people of Black African descent), and Palestinians in the shared struggle for human dignity, confronting racist norms and practices. That said, my sense is that you may have had an alternative experience had you visited alone, without the buffer of a delegation, and journeyed throughout the occupied lands as a man with a dark complexion.
    It’s a pity you did not meet Palestinian activists who embody varying degrees of blackness, who are very much committed to the liberation of Palestine, however, experience both internal and external racism. This vantage point, would have, in my opinion, produced a different critique or discourse that simulatenously condemns Israeli occupation and names internalized racism within Palestinian society. Perhaps one of the short comings of Queer Palestinian and Feminist discourses, is that both fail to recognize, that in particular contexts, Palestinian bodies are subject to more than one racial inscription. No doubt there is some strategic essentialism at play here, or simply a lack of reflexiveness/locatedness, despite the appropriation of framework, such as, intersectionality by well-known activists. With Pink-washing in mind, of course, and the queer Palestinian activists’ disavowal to be used as diversions in a colonial system, the question is can we broaden the resistance to include all forms of subordination?

    • Darnell Moore

      March 5, 2012 at 5:49 am

      Habiba: Thanks for your thoughtful response. While I was in Palestine as part of a delegation ("a buffer"), I still experienced my own senses of "locatedness" and dislocation as a black queer American in Palestine…and thought lots about the ways in which my various locations "colored" my experience (as a member of a mostly white delegation within the context of Palestine). The question of internalized racism within Palestinian society did not come up, however. And, it is a conversation worth pursuing, one that I believe many of the queer and feminist Palestinian activists are more than able to engage. Many (those with whom I shared conversation) seem to maintain political frames that are intentional about broadening "the resistance to include all forms of subordination". Darnell

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:23 am

        Thanks for writing an equally thoughtful response back. I understand there is always space for transformation, would just like to see that articulated in spaces inhabited by general audiences. I am assuming you don't speak Arabic either?, and relied on intermediaries and/or engaged with Palestinian activists who are bilingual. I didn't even broach the subject of language and dislocation, we put so much emphasis on locations, such as, race and nationality, religion, gender etc while there are other dimensions at play…so we'll keep the conversation flowing.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:30 am

          Indeed, there are many dimensions at play-language is, yet, another. And, my lack of ability to speak Arabic presented another form of dislocation.

          But at that place where understanding/translation is stifled because of language, I still was able to "translate" much of the senses of living life under various "occupations" by what I saw with my eyes and experienced in my body. And, I spoke with many Palestinians who spoke Arabic and English.

          This reflection is a beginning of a knitting together of my personal experience there (from the standpoint of my context) and is less of a critical analysis. In fact, most of it is centered on my entrance into Tel Aviv…your points are very helpful, however, as they will help shape other writings in the future. So let's keep the conversation flowing…:)

      • Habiba

        March 6, 2012 at 1:48 am

        P.S. What happened to the composition of the delegation? (There aren't too many Queer delegations going to the occupied territories, so it's safe to say the statement about the delegation, I received in an email for a fundraising drive was linked to your trip), I could have sworn I read that half the delegation was African-American? I'm just curious to know what changed.

        • Darnell Moore

          March 6, 2012 at 2:33 am

          We did not conduct a joint fundraising drive prior to our trip. And, we did not compose a statement until after our return. I was one of two African-Americans who traveled as part of this delegation. So I am not sure what you are referencing. Peace and thanks for the dialogue, darnell

  33. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Please refer to the reply I resubmitted, as the first includes the wrong term due to automatic spell: i meant "racialized" not "radicalized"..

  34. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Please refer to the reply I resubmitted, as the first includes the wrong term due to automatic spell: i meant "racialized" not "radicalized"..

  35. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Please refer to the reply I resubmitted, as the first includes the wrong term due to automatic spell: i meant "racialized" not "radicalized"..

  36. Habiba

    March 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Please refer to the reply I resubmitted, as the first includes the wrong term due to automatic spell: i meant "racialized" not "radicalized"..