Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Looking to New York

You would have to have been locked away in solitary confinement not to know that this week is when the Palestinian state juggernaut goes to the UN and seeks international recognition of the fact.  Walking across Clock Square (or is it now Arafat Square?) my friends and I came across the work team putting up a stage and sound system.  Palestinian flags made up the bunting between the lampposts while in Al Manara Square a few minutes’ walk away a giant blue and white chair to symbolise Palestine’s seat at the UN has been put in place (I intend to get a photo of me sitting on it, which will make me look tiny - UPDATE: That wasn't - and as of today - 9 October - still isn't possible as there always seem to be police around it!).  Meanwhile, the university president sent a circular to all staff this afternoon announcing that anyone who wants to can go attend the demonstration and speeches between 11am and 2pm.

Not that I’ll be there; I expect to be too busy trying to make sense of the application guidelines for the proposal we’re trying to get done for next week.  However, I’m sure to be there in spirit, even if I feel some degree of scepticism.  Can it really be only six months ago that in place of the giant UN chair we had a bunch of idealistic young people on hunger strike against the failure of their elders to come to some accommodation?

Although the March 13 movement never achieved the same level of influence or impact in the Palestinian territory as the others did in Egypt and Tunisia, it was a real grassroots social movement that was critical towards the Palestinian leaderships (Fatah and Hamas).  In the West Bank there was concern by Fatah that it was losing the public, which meant that the March 13 demonstrators were under constant scrutiny from the security forces.  I don’t expect the same to happen tomorrow, if only because the Palestinian Authority leadership is using the statehood bid in part to regain legitimacy.

Finally, to end of all things Palestinian state-related, here’s a link to a piece I put together yesterday and today for the LSE’s British politics blog on Britain’s current indecision regarding how it will vote on the Palestinian proposal and its wider implications.  Nice of them to have asked me to contribute!


The Invaders said...
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The Invaders said...

Either one of them is bad depending on the side your on.