Middle East studies in the News
Professor Praises Intifada in 'P is for Palestine' Book [on Golbarg Bashi]
by Toni Airaksinen
A professor at Pace University recently published a children's book praising "intifada," which she claims is "overwhelmingly peaceful."
P is for Palestine was written by Golbarg Bashi, who teaches history at the university. In her new book, she uses each letter of the alphabet and illustrations to describe the history of the Palestinian people.
"I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!" Bashi wrote in a passage that has since come under fire from numerous Jewish outlets, including The Jewish Journal, Haaretz, The Forward, The Jewish Chronicle, and The Algemeiner.
Bashi explained to Campus Reform that she wrote the book for her social-justice startup, called Dr. Bashi, which is dedicated to creating educational toys for promoting the Palestinian and Persian language.
"I wrote it because I couldn't find any books in English about Palestine," Bashi told Campus Reform. "I myself am a refugee child. My interest in social justice issues started early in life, in Sweden."
While she acknowledged that intifada is "associated with the Palestinian uprising," she argued that intifada is "overwhelmingly peaceful."
The Times of Israel, however, notes that "intifada" has a very different connotation for many Jewish people, evoking memories of the two Palestinian uprisings that resulted in the deaths of roughly 1,300 Israelis and 6,000 Palestinians.
"In my book, I wanted to highlight the peaceful side of intifada, so that the image that goes with that page is with a father and child showing the peace sign," Bashi told Campus Reform, saying the word simply refers to "rising up for what is right."
"Intifada is overwhelmingly peaceful. Protecting Palestinian trees is intifada. Wearing a Palestinian dress is intifada. Calling yourself Palestinian is intifada, when so many powerful people have said you don't exist," she concluded, affirming that she's "very proud" of her book.
Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine recently praised the book on social media, calling it a "much needed representation of Palestinian culture in children's literature," after the owners of a local bookstore released a statement apologizing for the "pain and distress" that the book had caused within the community.
Campus Reform requested a review copy of the book, but Bashi declined.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.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org