As Israel’s most recent massacre in Gaza continues, and as police in the U.S. continue to violently repress protesters who are exercising their fundamental human right to challenge injustice and demand an end to racist police killings, activists in each conflict have tied their struggles together.
Protesters in Ferguson have noted parallels between the state-sanctioned violence in Israel and the state-sanctioned racist violence at home (and the shared military training between both forces). Palestinians have shared tips for dealing with tear gas attacks. Jewish organizations have too noticed “the similarity in the tactics and technologies of repression against those who are rising up nonviolently in both places” and have stood in solidarity with the protesters.
On 19 August, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a secular revolutionary leftist organization that has historically stood at the forefront of the Palestinian liberation movement, released its own official statement of solidarity with Ferguson, “salut[ing] and stand[ing] firmly with the ongoing struggle of Black people and all oppressed communities in the United States.” The statement is based largely on an interview with Palestinian writer and activist Khaled Barakat. The PFLP echoes the writer’s statements, adopting them as its official position.
“You have to stay in the square, in Taksim, until the government accepts your demands. Don’t leave it. [Stay] there with your peaceful demonstration, your peaceful strike, sit-in. And I call upon women to join it on a wide scale everywhere, in the squares in different cities, not only in Taksim. Long live the people’s struggle for their rights!”
Details are here for launch events for the Leila Khaled biography in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem on the 7th, 8th and 9th of July respectively. All organised by that Palestinian Jerusalem institution, the Educational Bookshop.
Ultimately, the biographer’s major accomplishment is to remake a decades-old revolutionary icon into a living, breathing woman.
Yes, Khaled is an activist and a political voice on contemporary Palestinian affairs and her commitment to her cause has endured. Her wit and bloody-mindedness in the face of occupation have not lessened an iota. In Irving’s portrayal, Khaled is a wife and mother faced with the challenges of raising a family, but one with the additional concerns of a Palestinian refugee and former militant.
That Irving has found space in this light volume for extensive exploration of the evolution of women’s rights within the Palestinian resistance is testament to the author’s economy with words.
“Leila Khaled – Icon of Palestinian Liberation” is an ideal read for those seeking a brief introductory account that neither glorifies or vilifies its subject nor dumbs down the complexity of the context in which she lived and worked.
Known primarily for the two aircraft hijacking operations she was involved with in 1969 and 1970, Khaled has since then become a major PFLP activist and leader in her own right. It may come as a surprise, then, that before the publication of Leila Khaled: Icon of Palestinian Liberation, there was no biography of her (apart from an autobiography in the 1970s). The Electronic Intifada contributor Sarah Irving has set out to right this wrong, and achieves it ably with this exciting little book, newly published by Pluto Press as part of its “Revolutionary Lives” series.
A major strength of the book is that its based mostly on primary source material: interviews with Khaled herself at her home in Amman, Jordan. Irving also dove into the archives, reading seemingly everything there was to be found in English on Khaled.
From Al-Quds Al-Arabi, 6th May 2012
الكتاب على صغر حجمه مهم لانه يحكي قصة ليلى خالد معتمدا على شهادتها وصوتها يحضر في ثنايا السرد، ولعل قصة العملية الفاشلة وموت باتريك من اكثر المشاهد اثارة للحزن وحبسا للانفاس، فهنا التعاطف العالمي والموت في ارض غريبة بعيدة عن الوطن، والموت جائعا. كتاب مثير وغني ومفيد للقارىء باللغة الانكليزية.
Full article here.