Palestinian Studies

2023 Workshop

Nour Bader

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Tunis

Digging into the roots: In the meaning of resisting hidden places and invisible people

The Mandrake plant warns you by saying: Do not dig into my roots that resemble your monstrous human form! Do you know why; because if you dare to do that, my screams will swallow you to death!

This research is concerned with digging into the roots, and by that I mean, digging towards producing knowledge about the daily resistance through its places, which I call “hidden places" during the Palestinian revolution, and its bodies, which I call "the disappeared", In doing so, I am transcending the division of places in Palestinian history as a city, a village and a camp, into places as "small" spaces that have exercised daily resistance and have been subjected to constant control, In order for me to do this, I will dismantle the role that the Palestinian library and the Palestinian sewing workshop have played as spaces of resistance, and I will do this through the voices of its people, that is, through their bodies, their words, their expressions, their gestures, their feelings.

I trace this through two main figures, namely Salim al-basset-the Librarian of Al-Bireh municipality under military rule - and Al-basset was able through his work in this library to provide dozens of books that were banned by military rule based on military orders, as well as providing a space for discussion, especially for students and political organizations,  and Ali Hamdan-the owner of a sewn-from this sewn came out the unified national leadership, and Palestinian activists gathered there, as in this sewn Palestinian flags were sewn and distributed. 

In this research, I deliberately break away from the official - traditional history, which focused on battles, tournaments and political events, moving on to the history of ordinary people, the history coming from below, I turn to their voices and places, according to Ali Moula,  this means of penetration into various components of public social life, an incursion based on commitment to people who are absent from traditional history (workers, women, minorities, the poor, and others) . In our research, we are committed to places that have been absent from traditional history, and to their people who practiced a daily act of resistance and paid for it with closures of places and restrictions on them, arrests and exile of their body’s.

Based on this, this research argues that the Palestinian library and  Palestinian sewing workshops formed one of the most important spaces that actually exercised daily resistance against the practices of domination over the place and the body under military rule, while this spatial and physical resistance was kept "hidden" and “absent" in the traditional - official Palestinian history.

The importance of this lies in the fact that, as Genghis Curley puts it, public space has become a phenomenon that is being adopted "wherever people come together to exchange and express their opinion". In the Palestinian historical writing, the space was based on the tripartite divisions of a city, a village and a camp. Palestinian writing has been based on three divisions of place, a city, a village and a camp. In this research, I am aiming to change the angle of view of spaces, as triangular spaces, to describe it as small "hidden “spaces”.

In doing so, I am aiming to dig towards producing more truthful knowledge about the places that practiced a resistance , and the people who made this act, destroying this savage human face, and they would have paid for it "death", through closure, narrowing and arrest, and I am doing this through another digging as a researcher, which is digging aimed at producing knowledge from "below" by those who experienced the event in detail and were absent in the historical narrative of the Palestinian revolution.

Nour Bader, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tunis at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, is working on a thesis entitled: “Colonialism in its daily incarnation: in the sociology of the control of the Israeli military rule over the Palestinian bodies and their resistance.” She is interested in the sociology of the daily life of Palestinians under Israeli colonialism and focuses on dismantling the oppression that targets Palestinian bodies with a slow process of extermination within the framework of their daily life. Her book, “The engineering of oppression and the politics of controlling silent bodies, Palestinian women with breast cancer,” was published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. In 2022, Badr received the state of Palestine prize for social and humanitarian sciences.