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Special Memorial Episode: the Martyrdom of Refaat Alareer

The Anti-Imperialist Archive

Release Date: 12/09/2023

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More Episodes

Refaat's Twitter account was @itranslate123, he was a Palestinian writer, poet, professor, and activist from the Gaza Strip. He taught literature and creative writing at the Islamic University of Gaza and cofounded the organization We Are Not Numbers.

First: Robin Brickner (our beloved social media manager) reads excerpts from the 972mag article on the Israeli "mass assassination factory"

Second: Refaat at TedxShujaiya (2015)

included blurb: Refaat Alareer’s major concern was that older people’s stories aka the oral history is dying out because due to modern technology we stopped caring about stories. “I am the man I am because of the stories told to me by my mother and grandmother,” he states. As Palestinians under occupation, storytelling transcends the didactic value to an urgent need to owning our narrative, something that gives back power to the people rather than the elite. Stories that people can tell about a land are proofs of their right to that land. 

Editor of "Gaza Writes Black", RefaatAlareer teaches Creative Writing and World Literature at the Islamic University, Gaza. Alareer has an MA in Comparative Literature from University of London. After the Israeli aggression of 2008 on Gaza, Alareer expanded his interest to include young Palestinian writers in storytelling as a form of growth, understanding and resistance. Refaat believes in storytelling and its role in building and shaping individuals and communities. "We are what stories have been told to us," he says. In Gaza, storytelling, an activity that has been diminishing recently, has always been women's strategy to exercise power and overcome men's dominance.

Third: I Am You, a poem by Refaat AlAreer, read by a guest (2022)

Fourth: Refaat's appearance on the Electronic Intifada Podcast (2022)

included blurb: On episode 63, we speak to Refaat Alareer, a professor, writer and father in Gaza, about the latest Israeli military assault on Gaza that killed nearly 50 Palestinians, including 17 children, in early August. "What Israel is doing is nonstop campaigns of mowing the lawn, killing as many Palestinians and putting us [in] a corner where we can’t do anything to defend ourselves and our rights,” Alareer tells us. He wrote a striking feature for The Electronic Intifada during the assault, expressing the difficulty of parenting his young children during Israel’s incessant attacks and the ongoing siege on Gaza. But he also described the resilience of the ongoing liberation struggle and Palestinian resistance. Alareer explains to us that Israeli politicians frequently launch attacks on Gaza in the lead-up to elections, but that it’s wrong to assume that Israel only kills when elections are on the horizon. He says that these regular killings are part of a century-long strategy to eliminate Palestinians despite political theater. “They know how to win votes, they know how to win seats, they know how to do it – by killing Palestinians, by making our life miserable,” he says. “It was [former Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett who said ‘I killed Arabs, I’m proud of it.’ Because he knows, despite [that] this could resonate horribly globally, they don’t care about the public opinion – because there will not be punishment, and there will not be consequences for what they do.” We also talk about Israel’s rampant arrest raids and attacks across the West Bank, as well as the ransacking of seven Palestinian human rights groups’ offices by Israeli soldiers just two weeks ago.

Fifth: Refaat appearance on Democracy Now on the status of the bombing campaign by October 10th (2023)

included blurb: As hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed by those killed and wounded in Israel’s massive bombing campaign, we go to Gaza City to speak with Palestinian academic and writer Refaat Alareer about conditions inside the besieged territory. Israel announced Monday it was completely cutting off all food, fuel and electricity to Gaza amid airstrikes of unprecedented intensity, launched in response to Saturday’s surprise attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel. Hamas has threatened to begin killing hostages if civilians inside Gaza are targeted without warning. “No one is safe. No place is safe. Israel is bombing everywhere,” says Alareer, who describes his own children as “shaking out of fear” amid the assault. “Why is this happening? Because we refuse to live under occupation. We refuse to live in total submission. We want freedom.”

Sixth: Refaat appearance on EI livestream (9.29-35.33)

included blurb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcY2KlllgPo "The whole room is filled with gunpowder. … We don’t deserve this. We’re not animals like the Israelis think. Our kids deserve better." This is what our contributor Refaat Alareer, an academic and writer in Gaza City, told us on a special livestream broadcast of The Electronic Intifada Podcast. Alareer spoke to us on Monday evening from his home, as relentless Israeli bombs exploded in the background. You can watch the entire broadcast above. Israel pounded the Gaza Strip from air, land and sea overnight Sunday as a major confrontation that began with a surprise assault launched by Hamas stretched into its third day. The health ministry in Gaza said that there were at least 413 fatalities in the territory by the end of the day on Sunday. Israel killed multiple members of several families when it bombed their homes over their heads without warning, rights groups said. Meanwhile, Israel’s war minister Yoav Gallant promised more genocidal attacks and collective punishment against Gaza’s population and infrastructure, which are war crimes. “It’s very bleak, it’s very dark, there’s no way out,” Alareer added. “If there is no water, there is no way out of Gaza. What should we do, drown? Commit mass suicide? Is this what Israel wants?” “We believe that if we give up, then everybody is going to say, ‘Look at the Palestinians. They gave up. Why don’t you behave like the Palestinians? Why don’t you bow down?’” he said.

Seventh: Refaat appears on NDTV October 12th (2023)

included blurb: Educator at the Islamic University in Gaza, Refaat Alareer, said that the siege of Gaza is horrible and that Israel is systematically bombing Gaza. He said that as Israel is an occupying power, it has no right to defend itself.

Final: A reading of Refaat's final poem, read by a Palestinian woman (credit rejected)

As always, edited by Ian Anderson (@starsalwayslost), with special thanks / credit to Sina Rahmani + The East is a Podcast. Robin Brickner is our social media coordinator. Our Twitter presence is @AntiImpArchive, and if you would like to reach out directly we have an email address at: [email protected]