From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Shades of feeling: human rights, decoloniality, and Palestine

Luigi Cazzato


Today, the question of human rights is powerfully and newly set by the ‘percolating’ global southern diaspora (mass migration), through new forms of intellectual and artistic engagement (spoken poetry, videos, music, graffiti, etc.) helped by digital media (mass mediation). These forms appeal less to the Kantian motto “dare to know” (sapere aude!) than to “dare to feel!” This article tries to demythify the main glorious moments of the Human Rights march as recorded by Western historiography and proposes an alternative decolonial genealogy and perspective, contextualising it within the framework of Modernity/Coloniality. Above all, having considered the ‘irrational’ outputs of rationality as the reliable agent on which to found a respectful attitude towards the other, it encourages, through Richard Rorty’s anti-Kantian proposal, a different ground on which to pose the question of Human Rights: sympathy rather than reason. The question of Palestine is the very irrational case in point. Rafeef Ziadah’s spoken poetry and Amer Shomali's multidisciplinary art, from their diasporic and mediatic dimension, may help to elucidate the proposal.




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