Middle East studies in the News
'When I See Them I See Us': Lauryn Hill Appears in Black-Palestinian Solidarity Video [incl. Noura Erakat]
Grammy Award-winning artist Lauryn Hill joined academics, activists and artists on Wednesday in a video calling for the freedom of African-Americans in the US and Palestinians in Israel-Palestine, reported NJ.com.
The short video, titled "When I See Them I See Us," was released just five months after Hill cancelled a scheduled concert in Tel Aviv.
While the BDS Movement pushed for the cancellation, Hill said at the time that her decision was made after being unable to schedule a performance in Ramallah, a Palestinian city.
"It is very important to me that my presence or message not be misconstrued, or a source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans," Hill had said in a statement.
Although Lauryn doesn't speak in the video, a photo of her appears holding a sign that says "free all political prisoners."
Narrated by several people, the video, which draws comparisons between the struggles for justice in both communities, begins by saying, "Every 28 hours a black life is stolen by police or vigilantes in the U.S. Every two hours a Palestinian child was killed in Israel's attack on Gaza last summer."
Other participants in the video included Cornel West, Angela Davis, Danny Glover, Palestinian hip-hop group DAM and Alice Walker.
They each hold up signs carrying messages including "Gaza stands with Baltimore" and "solidarity from Ferguson to Palestine."
Palestinian human rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University Noura Erakat was behind the powerful video. She came up with the idea in summer 2014, when the Israel-Gaza conflict was at its peak, the same time as the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson was unfolding.
"Here were two groups of people dealing with completely different historical trajectories, but both which resulted in a process of dehumanization that criminalized them and that subject their bodies as expendable," Erakat said. "Not only were their lives more vulnerable and disposable, but that even in their death, they were blamed for their own death," reported Al Jazeera English.
Noura told Al Jazeera that "Hill does not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but she believes in dignity for all sides."
"She believes in liberation for all people and she respects the organic nature of the messaging on this movement," Erakat said.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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