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China Miéville: It’s become a cliche to talk about Palestine as a dystopia, but when you see Hebron you know where the cliche is coming from

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This film by Murat Gökmen was made for the Palestine Festival of Literature. From the film’s YouTube page:

The 2013 Palestine Festival of Literature took place across historical Palestine, with events in Jerusalem, Gaza, Nablus, Ramallah and Haifa. In this video, one group of the festival’s international participants are shown around al Khalil / Hebron, where Israel’s apartheid system is at its most explicit.

Because of the siege of Gaza two festivals were essentially run simultaneously.

The international participants spent their days taking political and historical tours, meeting artists and activists, and working with students.

Thank you to Issa Amro from Youth Against Settlements and Walid Abu Alhalaweh from the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee for spending the day with us.

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of

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10 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka on April 14, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Powerful stuff. It is just awful what the Zionists have done to those people.

  2. justicewillprevail on April 14, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Just chilling. This is Israeli fascism at its most naked and undisguised. A whole city in lockdown to protect a ragtag rabble of the most obnoxiously cruel, despicable people who use the IDF to enforce their merciless inhumane arrogance. Interesting that China Mieville makes these comments as anyone who has read The City and The City will immediately recognise where he could have been easily writing about – a city where an entire culture has been built around refusing to even see the other, deny their existence and blind themselves to reality. Hebron encapsulates everything utterly corrupt and spectacularly cruel about the Kafkaesque nightmare that Israel knowingly and calculatedly inflicts on Palestine.

  3. just on April 14, 2014, 8:54 pm

    Horrible, horrible, horrible.

    There will be comeuppance for Israel and the IOF………hopefully soon, in full view of the entire world, most especially– the US of A.

    Many thanks for this very important clip. The Palestinian people are so very resilient and steadfast– remarkable in every way.

  4. Walid on April 14, 2014, 10:51 pm

    The absurdity of a city of over 200,000 Palestinians dominated by squatter settlement of about 700 Jews guarded by 4000 IDF soldiers.

    From al-Akhbar last October:

    “Israeli minister calls for doubling number of settler homes in Hebron

    Published Thursday, October 24, 2013
    Israel’s housing minister on Thursday called for doubling the number of illegal Jewish settler homes in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, even as peace talks continue with the Palestinians.

    Uri Ariel, who leads the far-right Jewish Home party and lives in a West Bank settlement himself, told army radio he supported “concrete plans for the construction of 100 (new) homes in Hebron.”

    “The land for this exists, and we’re preparing the (building) project. We hope that during the coming year we can begin to build,” Ariel said.

    The city of Hebron, home to nearly 200,000 Palestinians, also comprises some 80 settler homes in the center of town housing about 700 Jews who live under Israeli army protection….”

  5. Kay24 on April 15, 2014, 12:11 am

    These poor Palestinian people have been brutally treated, dehumanized, and have suffered too much. I fear for the next generation, the little kids, who have never known to live in freedom, have rights, and without guns being pointed at them.
    How would we, as Americans, have reacted, if we were living this life of squalor, fear, and under occupation? The brutality of these terrorists called settlers, and the pure evil that they show towards those who are in a very vulnerable position, is deplorable, and unacceptable. The IDF who have been equally violent, and selective in their protection of civilians, are no better than these front line terrorists from eastern Europe. If only I could confront my senators and representatives with these films and videos, and ask them how they sleep at night, and why they continue to arm the violent occupation. Israel is a disgusting rogue nation.

  6. Blownaway on April 15, 2014, 12:11 am

    I was served Sabra humus today and politely refused and then i had this video to show why perfect timing. Maybe more people should see this

    • ritzl on April 15, 2014, 12:38 am

      How did you do that, Blownaway? Quick-draw smartphone in real-time?

      What was the effect? Did you hold the moment long enough to make the point?

      It’s so hard to do that, so great stuff! Kudos.

      • Blownaway on April 15, 2014, 9:18 am

        An I pad in the kitchen and faithful reading of mondoweiss. The ironic part was that there were two college age girls in the room who were all over the boycott of Sabra. They knew as much as anyone about the BDS movement.

      • ritzl on April 15, 2014, 2:19 pm

        Very cool. Were those “girls” activists, peripherally aware, or something in between?

        I’m just asking because I think it’s important to get/have a sense of how deeply and to whom justice in/for Palestine resonates.

        My main interaction with “kids” that age is with my family. They are aware, in the “something in between” category. But they are all followers of my Twitter feed which I use almost exclusively for this issue.

        Don’t mean to pry too much. Just curious. My sense from my own family is that awareness is building, but not at a tipping point just yet.

        As an aside, one of my nieces is a writer and has a monthly column in the local paper. I suggested, a while back, that she include Smedly Butler as an “American Hero” in one of her writings, and she did so. She wasn’t taught that in school, yet she took the opportunity to look into it and agreed, and expressed. If she hadn’t looked into it, she wouldn’t have agreed on my say so. I guess my limited inference from that is that there is an openness to justice out there, and maybe particularly in that age group.

  7. ritzl on April 15, 2014, 4:07 am

    It seems somehow odd to hear someone refer to what’s happening in Palestine as a “cliché.” I understand why he said that. This has been going on so long and so blatantly. It’s kinda like living in Alaska for 20 years and losing the urge to wave your hands to describe the auroras.

    Yet it’s really hard, if not outright striking, to hear what continues to be an engineered, meticulously maintained/advanced, and [yet?; as in how can humans do this to other humans so vigorously and for so long right under everyone’s noses…] heartbreaking travesty described as a “cliché.” It is just gut wrenching.

    When I first read the title, I thought it was yet another misdirecting yawn of an observation burbling up from the depths of the organized US Jewish community. Glad I watched the video. Hopefully it will reach new eyes.

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