Covid-19 is a fresh wake up call for us to address the rooted problems and historical yet continuous injustices that underlie our political system. Palestinians have long understood what is wrong and have led the struggle for a just and shared future. Today, with a greater reason, we need to listen, take responsibility and join their struggle to #ReturnHome. ً
Watch Zochrot’s online gathering to hear from our guest speakers who discussed the conditions for Palestinians in light this pandemic and the rooted problems and historical injustices leading to the devastating crisis a Covid-19 outbreak would generate within the camps, and why the solution to this health crisis can only be political.
Our panel discussion will included: “Erasure of history in the making of medical knowledge” presented by Osama Tanous a specialized pediatrician a Master's in Public Health student in Tel Aviv University a 2020 candidate for Fulbright Hubert Humphrey fellowship in public health and health policies. Osama discussed the Nakba as an establishing event for the livelihood and habitat of Palestinians inside Israel that has largely shaped their health, disease and well-being. Many resulting factors predispose them to mortality from COVID-19 while others like segregation and lower life expectancy paradoxically might protect them from the pandemic. He also discussed the erasure of history and the normalization of the products of state violence such as poverty, crowdedness and a lesser accessibility to health care as a given fact in medical knowledge production.
“Explicating root causes in the current crisis: why Palestinian health is instrinsically linked to their liberation” by Bram Wispelwey, an Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a Co-founder and Chief Strategist of Health for Palestine. Bram highlighted the current situation of Palestinians in refugee camps in the occupied Palestinian Territory, the devastating crisis a Covid-19 outbreak would generate within the camps, and current community-based responses. He discussed a solidarity and allyship framework that centers root causes of health inequities within history and politics, highlighting the necessity of political solutions to ongoing health problems that derive from discrimination, military occupation, forced displacement, land theft, neoliberal aid regimes, and denial of reparations.
Moran Barir, activist, educator and film editor, Member of Zochrot & the return council, discussed our vision for a shared and a just future of Return and our responsibility, now more urgent than ever, to call for acknowledging of the Nakba, righting the wrongs, and implementing the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
And listen to poetry by: Remi Kanazi, a Palestinian American poet, writer, and organizer based in New York City. He is the author of the new released collection of poetry Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine. He is also the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine (RoR Publishing, 2011).