Black Panthers and Diaspora Palestinians illuminate shared struggle on Nakba day

PNN/ Oakland/

Arab Resources Organizing Coalition (AROC) and Art Forces on the 68th Nakba day presented George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine; a multimedia cultural event that expresses the interconnections between current and historic struggles against colonization from Palestine to the streets of Oakland.

The event displayed posters that came from the original exhibition that was held in the Abu Jihad Museum for Prisoner Movement Affairs of theAl-Quds university in East Jerusalem from October 2015 to April 2016.

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Beginning with the story of the uncanny link between Black Panther George Jackson and the Palestinian poem “Enemy of the Sun” by Samih al-Qasim, George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine unites local Oakland histories of the formation of the Black Panther Party and the resilience and resistance of First Nations/Ohlone people to the resilience of the Palestinian people.

GeorgeJacksonInTheSun half

The event took place on May 15th from 4-7pm as part of the “Off the Wall” series from the Oakland Palestinian Mural Project.

George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine uses visual art, symposium and performance–to tell the story of Black Panther and writer George Jackson’s link to the Palestinian struggle through the inspiration he found in a classic Palestinian poem, “Enemy of the Sun”. After Jackson was assassinated in 1971 a handwritten copy of the poem was found in his prison cell. The Black Panther Party shared the classical Palestinian poem in the party’s newspaper, under the assumption it was written by Jackson himself.

Curator Greg Thomas, associate professor who teaches Black Studies and literature in English at Tufts University, states:

“That was a magical mistake that expressed the depth of solidarity and closeness, because the similarity in voice and situation is unimaginable. Palestinian resistance poetry occupied a large space in the lives of black people across the ocean and it is all because of George Jackson, the eternal enemy of the sun’s enemy.

In the same way that George Jackson was drawn to and educated about the Palestinian struggle through the universal language of art (in the form of poetry), this unique multidisciplinary event uses art to unite around the undying and vital themes of shared struggle and joint solidarity in order to create connections and continuity in revolutionary purpose.”

May and Greg after the panel
May and Greg after the panel

The event included several gifted performers including Young, Gifted and Black, Traditional Te’o Kalli Mejica Dancers, Silk Road Debke bands, and panelists Maytha Alhassen, Rabab Abdelhadi- AMED, Van Dell, Greg Thomas,Tony Gonzales.

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Exhibition also displayed work from international artists including Pedro Alcantara-Herran (Colombia), Jonelle Davies (Miami, Florida), Emory Douglas (African-America & the Black Panthers), Antonio Frasconi (Uruguay), the Inkworks Cooperative (Berkeley, California), Ivan Lopez (San Francisco & Colombia), Malaquias Montoya (Mexico & Mexican-America), Rafael Morante (Cuba & OSPAAAL) and Hunger Strikers of the California Prison Movement; RIGO 23; Priya Handa, Sharif Zarkout; Nidal El-Khairy.

Van Dell speaks
Van Dell speaks
Rabat Abdelhadi speaks
Rabat Abdelhadi speaks

 

 

 

 

 

About the curators: 

GREG THOMAS is The founding editor of e-journal PROUD FLESH. He is the author of The Sexual Demon of Colonial Power: Pan-African Embodiment and Erotic Schemes of Empire (Indiana UP, 2007) as well as Hip-Hop Revolution in the Flesh (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). He is also the co-editor with L.H. Stallings of Word Hustle: Critical Essays and Reflections on the Works of Donald Goines (Black Classic Press, 2011). He has published essays in periodicals such as Présence Africaine, Human Architecture, Journal of West Indian Literature, Jenda Journal, CR: The New Centennial Review, The C.L.R. James Journal, Journal of Pan-African Studies, African Literature Today, Words.Beats.Life, Small Axe, and Black Camera. He would guest-edit a special issue of CR: The New Centennial Review entitled “Coloniality’s Persistence” in 2003 and a special issue of Black Camera: An International Film Journal on Haile Gerima which is forthcoming in Spring 2013. Currently, he is at work on a critical study of the revolutionary writings of George L. Jackson, “The Dragon.”

About Susan Greene
Art Forces creates community based murals and media that make visible the connections between local and global struggles for social justice. The project aims to engage the public on multiple levels to create potential spaces for critical thinking and action that advances progressive social change.Susan Greene founded and directs Art Forces and is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and clinical psychologist. Her practice focuses on borders, decolonization, resilience and memory. Greene is particularly interested in the ways in which site specific 2 dimensional public art can be augmented with current technologies to facilitate and deepen audience engagement and participation.