From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

“When I see them I see us”: Palestinianness, Blackness, and new geographies of resistance

Olga Solombrino


The complex political configuration in which Palestinian territories and people are seized nowadays is defined by a tight texture of power which expands its range far beyond the material aspects of expropriation and occupation; it is also defined as an everyday experience of subjugation and annihilation led by the suffocating necro-political regime of Israel for which Palestinian lives are considered as an expendable surplus. The material and cultural politics of dispossession has its climax in a precise policy of invisibility, disappearance, and de-humanization of the Palestinian Other. As a paradigmatic case of racialization, the Palestinian experience could be in many ways read alongside that of Black people in South Africa, and also alongside the contemporary situation of Black Americans in the US While the exceptionalism of the South African and the Palestinian contexts, with their acknowledged status of apartheid, has been discussed in the last years in terms of a critical reflection on this analogy and on the politics of possibility which could potentially derive from it, the recent events sparked in August 2014 (when Israel launched its operation Protective Edge on Gaza, and in Ferguson, MI, a police agent fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, igniting unrest in the city) have reopened – or simply strengthened – the ties between these two communities who share overlapping histories, emerging from a politics of exclusion and ‘colonial policing’. The article will focus on the transnational and grassroots movement of Black-Palestinian solidarity that have started to emerge, retracing the common lines which pose both plights not only in the global nexus of a horizontal circuit of policing practices, but which also sees them involved in recovering the old solidarity tradition of decolonial and anti-racist movements, evolving into a new transnational movement of liberation.




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