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Hatem Bazian on the Importance of Experience– Erasing the Human: Collapse of the Postcolonial World and Refugee Immigration Crisis

Dr. Hatem Bazian is a Palestinian-American academic and activist who was born in Jerusalem in 1964. He is the co-founder and professor of Islamic Law and Theology at Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States, and is also a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Throughout his career, Bazian has been known for his commitment to social justice and his activism on behalf of marginalized communities. He is the co-founder of the organization American Muslims for Palestine, which advocates for Palestinian rights and works to educate the public about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In addition to his work on behalf of Palestinian rights, Bazian has also written and spoken about a wide range of other topics related to Islam and the Muslim community. He is known for his eloquent and thought-provoking lectures and writing, and has become a respected voice in the Muslim community.

Dr. Hatem Bazian is a highly influential and respected figure within the Muslim community and beyond. His activism, scholarship, and leadership have made a significant impact on the issues he cares about, and his work will continue to shape the discourse on these important topics for years to come. To keep up to date with Dr. Hatem Bazian’s work and content, you can find him on Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook and gain a deeper understanding on Palestine’s history of resistance and its ongoing influence on movements for social justice around the world.

In his book Erasing the Human: Collapse of the Postcolonial World and Refugee Immigration Crisis, he discusses the impact the refugee-immigration crisis has on humanity throughout history. This book emphasizes the slow “erasure” of ethnic groups through systemic oppression.

Dr. Bazian quotes Professor Nur Masalha in his book (12): “the Nakba is the turning point in the modern history of Palestine—that year over 500 villages and towns and a whole country and its people disappeared from international maps and dictionaries.”

“Dr. Bazian’s personal story, shaped in large part by the Israeli occupation of his homeland, shows that even under conditions that erase one as human, we can still preserve our humanity and work tirelessly to assist others in doing the same.” Imam Zaid Shakir, Co-Founder of Zaytuna College.

The Nakba, or “catastrophe,” is the term used to describe the displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that occurred during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the subsequent establishment of the state of Israel. During this period, many Palestinians were forced to flee their homes or were expelled by Israeli forces, and their properties were seized. The Nakba is a deeply significant and emotionally charged event in Palestinian history.

Hatem Bazian continues to reiterate that the Nakba was not one singular occurrence in the past, but an ongoing event that Palestinians are still experiencing daily. Dr. Bazian states that the Nakba, in its core, is “a multi-layered and cross-generational traumatic experience that has not ended, and it continues to unfold daily in Palestine under occupation, as well as across the globe wherever Palestinians are living in the diaspora.”

The displacement of Palestinians is a tragic and ongoing issue that has had far-reaching consequences for the Palestinian people. The root of this problem can be traced back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the subsequent establishment of the state of Israel, which led to the forced displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

 Tubas, Palestine

For many Palestinians, the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” as this period is known, was a time of great loss and suffering. Many were forced to flee their homes or were expelled by Israeli forces, and their properties were seized. This mass displacement had a devastating impact on the Palestinian people, both emotionally and financially.

In the years since the Nakba, the displacement of Palestinians has continued in various forms. One of the main ways in which this has occurred is through the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, which have displaced Palestinian communities and taken over their land. The Israeli government has also imposed various measures, such as the separation wall, that have had the effect of separating Palestinian communities and restricting their movement.

The displacement of Palestinians is a complex and multifaceted issue that cannot be fully addressed in a short essay. However, it is clear that it has had a profound impact on the Palestinian people and has contributed to the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It is essential that a just and lasting solution is found to this problem in order to bring about a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Dr. Bazian poses the question: can we truly engage in any form of study or discussion about immigrants seeking asylum from Latin America, without considering or taking into account the years of United States’ intervention, economic exploitation, and “distortions of any normative pattern of development?”(22) He draws the comparison between Latin American refugees and Palestinians we have been similarly displaces. Hatem Bazian uses this example for his following argument:

“If any Western country sells weapons to the armies that are fighting whatever type of war or are engaged in, extending the US and European economic interests in the form of oil, natural resources, and market share, then their minimum responsibility is addressing the flood of human misery caused by it. Furthermore, if a country has been colonized in the past or bombed by European or American forces in the present, then the human flood fleeing from these conflicts belongs to the West, and the leaders who caused the flood or refugees in the first place must own the problem and its consequences. Human life and real people don’t look or feel the same in a white paper written to extend wrongly headed and exploitative policies that are situated against the well-being of millions of people. Selling weapons and having a military-industrial economy has its consequences, which goes beyond the rate of return on investment. We must consider the flood of refugees and immigrants fleeing the Global South into cities and towns in the Global North as the moral rate of return for merchants of death that have pillages cities and countries in pursuit of obscene profits!”(29)

This book, Erasing the Human: Collapse of the Postcolonial World and Refugee Immigration Crisis, takes into account the importance of the experiences and lives of actual Palestinians, which Dr. Bazian believes are often left unengaged. He believes most writings and studies on Palestine centered on the political dimension, which of course, is significant in studying. But often, the first-hand experiences of the dispossession are not focused on. This book aims to do just that.

In his first chapter, Hatem Bazian mentions his own experiences living in occupied Palestine:

“The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” accurately describes the daily struggles and innovation of Palestinians and refugees in general, who are to make do under the most challenging conditions. When I arrived in the US for higher education, many would talk about recycling and making sure to bottles and paper in the provided bins, but growing up, the idea of wasting anything, small or large, was unthinkable. Even when it comes to how Palestinian refugee camps and status are managed is subject to a distinct separate structure.”(33)

Dr. Hatem Bazian has been involved in numerous social justice and human rights organizations, and has been a vocal critic of Israeli policies towards Palestinians. He has also spoken out against Islamophobia and hate crimes targeting Muslims in the United States.

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is a national grassroots organization that seeks to educate the American public about Palestine and its people, and to advocate for justice and self-determination for the Palestinian people. AMP was founded in 2006 with the goal of supporting the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality, and of challenging what it considers to be the misinformation and biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the mainstream media.

AMP is headquartered in Chicago and has a network of chapters and supporters across the United States. It sponsors educational events, lectures, and conferences, and produces educational materials and resources about Palestine and its history. AMP also engages in political advocacy and lobbying efforts, and works with other organizations and coalitions to promote the rights of Palestinians and to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause.

It is important for Muslims to stay informed about current events and issues affecting the global Muslim community, including the ongoing struggle for Palestinian rights. Being aware of these issues allows us to understand the challenges facing the community and to take informed action to support causes they believe in. It also helps to foster a sense of solidarity among Muslims and to build a sense of shared purpose and identity. In addition, staying informed about current events and issues affecting the Muslim world can help us to better understand the complexities of these issues and to engage in informed discussions and debates about them. One way to accomplish this is by keeping up with the content and research produced by Hatem Bazian.

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