" /> Palestine Archives - Naomi Foyle
A wildflower

Driven by a giddy need to make up for lost time, my first full year post-cancer treatment was full tilt with travel, art galleries, books, family and friends. I also finally learned how to use my iPhone camera – you touch the screen to focus, doh!  Fizzing with this epiphany, I even signed up for a iPhone photography course, way back in February, but what with my madcap work pace haven’t had time to start it yet.  I also remain confused by Instagram – it seems you can’t use the app on a computer, only your phone, and I like curating albums, which Facebook, for all its multitude of sins, is pretty good at. Still, I did migrate from the insanely perplexing iPhotos (I spent an hour at a festival with an award-winning filmaker trying to clear storage space without deleting all my photos, and she gave up too), to…

Read more

  September sings, but the chords of summer echo on, not least of my visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories in late July for readings from A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry, the bilingual anthology I edited last year for Smokestack Books. Travelling with Rachel Searle, the Director of BlakeFest (Bognor Regis) – for whom I am consulting on the Building Jerusalem event in this year’s festival – Palestinian-American poet Farid S. Bitar, and performance artist/historian Catherine Charrett, I chaired two poetry events in East Jerusalem and Ramallah; visited with Jewish peace activists in Haifa; and, in the Occupied Galilee, met with poet and political prisoner Dareen Tatour on the eve of her sentencing. Rachel and I returned home sobered by the manifold injustices we had witnessed, but also inspired to ‘see the world in a blade of grass’, and motivated to continue creating poetic bridges between Palestine and…

Read more

As FB friends know, I’m just back from an incredible two weeks in the Middle East; first in Lebanon, as a member of charity Interpal’s Bear Witness women’s convoy, visiting refugee camps; then the West Bank, where I was exploring the Palestinian eco-resistance to the Israeli occupation. I chose to write about my trip on Facebook partly because I didn’t have time to travel, share on social media *and* blog, but also for security reasons: Israel and Lebanon are not the best of mates, and I was worried about storing my photos of the camps and Beirut on my camera and laptop, which Israeli airport guards have been known to rifle through. Posting my pix each night to Facebook was the answer, and it was only natural to turn my albums into photo diaries, a habit I continued in the West Bank, again because I wanted to delete any evidence…

Read more

          Raw sewage and muddy rainwater rising in the fruit and vegetable market. Six hours of electricity a day, while snow blankets the Middle East. Will it be frostbite, corpses and medieval diseases this Christmas for Gaza? The world’s media, of course, pays not a fig of attention to the crisis.* Meanwhile here in Brighton & Hove, today at the weekly Boycott Ecostream demo – urging consumers not to buy products made by an Israeli company with its HQ illegally situated in occupied territories – local Zionists chanted ‘The BDS-ers don’t care about Palestinians, they only care about their human rights agenda’. The Zios also repeatedly, loudly, denounced us all as ‘crybabies’ and anti-Semites, and gleefully hurled vacuous personal slurs – ‘You spit like a girl’ to one man who hadn’t even opened his mouth. We laughed about that one later on in the cafe – …

Read more

Note: for the benefit of readers hazy in the geopolitical department, a short history of the West Bank is included at the end of this post. I don’t think you have to visit a country in order to have a valid opinion about it, but as a writer-activist, and a vocal advocate of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement since the 2009 Gaza Massacre, this year I felt the time had come to go to Palestine.  Creatively, I wanted to experience the conditions of daily life there as research for my second novel, which is set in a colonialist post-apocalyptic, post-oil world.  Politically and professionally, I hoped to forge stronger ties with local activists, and make what contribution I could to their political and cultural resistance.  In particular, I was going to the West Bank to visit The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, and to take part in a…

Read more

Jerusalem.  The Holy City.  Centre of three major world religions,  and surely a place that should transcend political differences, remind us of our shared humanity, and humble all who enter its ancient walls? For while I am not a member of any of the patriarchal Abrahamic faiths, it seems to me that Christianity, Judaism and Islam share a reverence for knowledge, love, and justice and their houses of worship can be experienced as imperfect shrines to these ideals.  Despite the promise of interfaith harmony still faintly echoing through the lanes of the Old City, however, modern West Jerusalem is not built on any spiritual values I can recognise.  The contemporary city is closer to ancient Rome – a gloating festival of Zionist triumphalism, a swaggering celebration of military might, intent on the ruthless dispossession of the indigenous population.  As such, it cannot last. But more of prophecies in a moment. …

Read more

First day in Israel-Palestine, and a stop in Tel Aviv en route to Jerusalem, Jenin and Ramallah.  But what to do in a city you are boycotting?  Protest, of course.  Today I joined Arab and Jewish Israeli activists demonstrating in Yaffa – AKA Jaffa or Yafo, the old Arab town now subsumed by Tel Aviv – in support of the mass hunger strike of over 1600 Palestinian prisoners. The prisoners are demanding an end to the practice of Administrative Detention – indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial – the use of solitary confinement and the denial of family visits, in some cases for years. Today marked the 75th day of hunger for two men, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab, who are now close to death.  The strike is reaching crisis point, and could trigger the eruption of the Third Intifada. Not that you would guess that from Tel Aviv’s crowded beaches,…

Read more

My new Dell Inspiron laptop arrived yesterday.  Having spent the last three months complaining to BlackBerry support about the malfunctioning touchscreen on my new ‘Playbook’ tablet – bought on sale as a Christmas present to self, and cause of nothing but warfare ever since – I was in fact dreading the arrival of this new piece of kit.  Apart from a hiccup of admiration for its sleek black case, I took possession of my new workmate joylessly, and spent the day bleakly summoning the courage to plug the thing in.  Even so, I was not prepared to be crying before I even turned it on. But then, I didn’t expect that Dell’s designers – surely intelligent individuals who occasionally use their own products – would have microwaved their brains and decided to place all the sockets not at the back but along the sides of the notebook. Meaning that my mouse,…

Read more

8/8