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About Sa’ed Adel Atshan

Sa’ed Adel Atshan

Sa’ed Adel Atshan

Sa’ed Atshan is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. He is also a Lecturer in Peace and Justice Studies at Tufts University. Sa’ed is from Palestine where he continues to serve as an activist with alQaws, an organization promoting LGBTQ rights for Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Posts By Sa’ed Adel Atshan

Palestinian Trail of Tears: Joy Harjo’s Missed Opportunity for Indigenous Solidarity

December 12, 2012 | 2,694

I understand what it means to be indigenous to a land and to feel the spirit of our ancestors calling on us to return in the face of ethnic cleansing and colonization.

Ever since my childhood, I have always felt a deep connection with Native Americans. At the Ramallah Friends School, a Quaker institution established in Palestine over a century ago, we learned about our shared history as indigenous peoples who have faced ethnic cleansing by European colonists and the importance of nonviolent resistance for freedom and dignity. Many Palestinians and those in solidarity with our struggle had hoped that Joy Harjo would be principled in heeding the calls of another subjugated people. We have been profoundly dismayed by her recent decision to accept funding from Tel Aviv University, an Israeli state institution, and to not only perform there on Monday but also to serve  as a Writer-in-Residence. Soon after hearing this disappointing news, Native American peers of Harjo, including Robert Warrior, called on her to boycott the event. The Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) sent an open letter to Harjo imploring her to honor the boycott. A USACBI petition generated over 2,000 signatures within 36 hours. Harjo disregarded these requests and announced that she would proceed with the performance. Her statement expressed sympathy for Palestinian and Jewish suffering without acknowledging that many American settlers—like their Israeli counterparts—had also faced persecution in Europe, and that Jewish and Israeli voices have been invaluable to the BDS movement. Harjo crossed the picket line. She helped provide legitimacy to an institution that sits above the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Shaykh Muwannis while supporting the Israeli military occupation which is illegal under international law. Read More