The Great Book Robbery

February 7, 2016



The Great Book Robbery: Chronicles of a Cultural Destruction
Film Screening and Discussion
Wednesday, February 10 (6:00 pm)
Education Centre South Room 255
87 Avenue at 113 Street, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Please join PSN-UAlberta for the first of our winter semester series of documentary film screenings on Palestine. There is no charge for entry and everyone is welcome.

About the Film

Thirty thousand books were systematically “collected” during the 1948 war from Arab neighbourhoods in Western Jerusalem by the newly born State of Israel.

The drive to “collect” the books came from the management and librarians of Israel’s National Library – a leading cultural institution of the Zionist movement and the state of Israel – where all the valuable books ended up. Another 40,000 Palestinian books were “collected” in Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and other places.

Today, about six thousand of the these books can be found on the shelves of the National Library, organised like a fossilized army of a dead Chinese emperor, accessible but lifeless, indexed with the label AP – Abandoned Property.

This entirely unknown historical event came into light by chance; an Israeli PhD student – while researching in various state archives – stumbled upon documents from 1948-9 that mentioned “collecting books in Arabic from occupied territories.”

The plunder affair is a remarkable illustration of how one culture emerges from the dust of another after it has laid it to waste; the moment Palestinian culture is destroyed is also the moment a new Israeli consciousness is born, based not only on the erasure of the Arabs’ presence in Palestine but also on the destruction of their culture.

Dramatic new light illuminates the disaster inflicted upon the Palestinian people and their culture in 1948. A particularly chilling document from March 1949 lists tens of Jerusalemites whose libraries were “collected” – it reads like a Who’s Who of the Palestinian cultural elite of the time.

For decades Zionist and Israeli propaganda described the Palestinians as “people without culture.” Thus, the victorious Israeli state took upon itself to civilise the Palestinians who remained within its borders at the end of the 1948 war. They were forbidden to study their own culture or to remember their immediate past; their memory was seen as a dangerous weapon that had to be suppressed and controlled.”

‘Apartheid in Palestine’ Book Launch

January 13, 2016


Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences
Book Launch featuring Dr. Ghada Ageel
Thursday, January 28 (3:30 – 6:00 pm)
Room B-87, Henry Marshall Tory Building, University of Alberta
(click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

PSN is thrilled to be a co-sponsor of the book launch for long-time PSN supporter Ghada Ageel’s new book, Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences, published by the University of Alberta Press. PSN’s Reem Skeik is also one of the book’s contributors.

Everyone is welcome to this free event. Dr. Ageel’s talk will be followed by a Q&A and reception. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

About Apartheid in Palestine

There are more than two sides to the conflict between Palestine and Israel. There are millions. Millions of lives, voices, and stories behind the enduring struggle in Israel and Palestine. Yet, the easy binary of Palestine vs. Israel on which the media so often relies for context effectively silences the lived experiences of people affected by the strife. Ghada Ageel sought leading experts—Palestinian and Israeli, academic and activist—to gather stories that humanize the historic processes of occupation, displacement, colonization, and, most controversially, apartheid. Historians, scholars and students of colonialism and Israel-Palestine studies, and anyone interested in more nuanced debate, will want to read this book.

With contributions from: Ghada Ageel, Richard Falk, Samar El-Bekai, Reem Skeik, Tali Shapiro, Rela Mazali, Huwaida Arraf, James Cairns, Susan Ferguson, Abigail B. Bakan, Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Keith Hammond, Sherene Razack, Edward C. Corrigan, Ramzy Baroud, and Rafeef Ziadah

About Ghada Ageel

Ghada Ageel is Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta and a columnist for the Middle East Eye, an online news portal based in London, England. She holds a PhD and MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter and a BA in Education from the Islamic University of Gaza.

Praise for Apartheid In Palestine

“Of all the crimes to which Palestinians have been subjected through a century of bitter tragedy, perhaps none are more cruel than the silencing of their voices. The suffering has been most extreme, criminal, and grotesque in Gaza, where Ghada Ageel was one of the victims from childhood. This collection of essays is a poignant cry for justice, far too long delayed.”
—Noam Chomsky

“This book, edited by Ghada Ageel, is an intimate study of a people and place both central to, and isolated by, current international policy. The writing is personal and articulate, reflecting Ageel’s own history as a child of Gaza, a respected academic, and a gifted author. It should be read by all of us who love or want to better understand Gaza and the people who live there.”
—Craig and Cindy Corrie, Parents of Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza in 2003

“Ghada Ageel was for some time the Guardian’s ever-brilliant, brave and astute fixer in Gaza. On a visit there I found her local knowledge and sense of history to be invaluable in understanding the Palestinian side of the intractable and endless conflict which has been a tragedy for so many. She brings those qualities to her writing, which is often informed by her own personal experiences, and those of her family and friends.”
—Alan Rusbridger, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, a constituent college of Oxford University


This event is co-sponsored by University of Alberta Press, Palestine Solidarity Network, the University of Alberta Department of Political Science, Middle East and Islamic Studies Research Group, Faculty4Palestine-Alberta, Canada Palestine Cultural Association, and the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism (ECAWAR)

Forum on Syria: Reasons for the Refugee Crisis and Canada’s Role

January 4, 2016


Forum on Syria: The Refugee Crisis, the Peace Process and Canada’s Role
Thursday, January 7 (7:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 150
(Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus)
Click here for map

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

The Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism (ECAWAR) is organizing a forum on the refugee crisis in Syria.

The current refugee crisis is said to be the greatest in the history of the modern world, even greater than the exodus caused by the ravages of World War II. The United Nations reports that at the end of 2014 there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide. This included 14.4 million people under the mandate of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and 5.1 million Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). There are about 4 million externally displaced refugees from Syria alone.

Many Canadians are taking part in acts of solidarity to welcome refugees. Actions have taken place across the country to say “refugees are welcome here,” and demand that Canada end its participation in military aggression in Syria and Iraq which is fomenting the crisis. During the federal election, the Liberals promised to bring 25,000 refugees by year-end. This was later scaled down to 10,000. As of December 28, only 2,961 refugees have arrived in Canada.

What is often missing from discussions about the Syrian refugee crisis is the broader context of the conflict that has created the terrible situation now facing millions of Syrians.

Donna Entz and Dr. Safana Makhdoom will discuss the refugee crisis and Canada’s role, as well as the initiatives being taken by Canadians in acts of solidarity.

US-NATO and their proxies in the Middle East claim that their intervention in Syria is necessary in order to degrade or defeat Da’esh (ISIS). Dr. Ghada Ageel will revisit the role of the US-NATO and their proxies in the Middle East from the invasion of Iraq to the rise of ISIS, the war in Syria and current intervention in the Middle East.

Canada justifies aggression and intervention using humanitarian as well as “security” pretexts. Peggy Morton will discuss the peace process, the stands of the US, Canada, and other NATO countries, including the “security agenda” and “responsibility to protect” which violate the UN Charter and international law and what is required for Canada to become a factor for peace.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Her most recent book (editor and contributor), Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences, will be released later this month.

Donna Entz is a support worker at the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers who is well know for her work with refugees and other recent immigrants.

Dr. Safana Makhdoom is a member of ECAWAR and a physician who recently spent two weeks providing medical aid in a refugee camp in Greece.

Peggy Morton is a spokesperson for the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism and life-long anti-war activist.

Organized by the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism, co-sponsored by Palestine Solidarity Network-Edmonton.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish in Edmonton

December 10, 2015


The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights is hosting Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish as part of its 9th Annual Human Rights Awards.

9th Annual Human Rights Awards
Featuring Keynote Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish
Sunday, December 13 (1:30 – 5:00 pm)
Transalta Arts Barns (10330 84 Avenue)
(see map)

They keynote speaker for the 9th Annual Human Rights Awards is Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, author of the award-winning I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish will draw on his experience of reconciliation and share his perspective on forgiveness and hope. He will challenge us to consider what it takes in a society to overcome feelings of guilt and anger about past injustices in order to move towards acceptance and collaboration.

Doors open at 1:30 pm. Formal program begins at 2 pm.

Tickets are free. Donations welcome. Please RSVP in advance online.

Jerusalem in Danger Seminar

October 29, 2015


Jerusalem in Danger
A seminar on the current situation in Jerusalem
Sunday, November 1 at 7:00 pm
Edmonton Islamic Academy
(14525 127 Street)

Palestine Solidarity Network and the Canada-Palestine Cultural Association are hosting a seminar which will discuss the current Palestinian uprising, especially its implications for occupied East Jerusalem and its citizens.


Dr. Ghada Ageel is a visiting professor at the University of Alberta Political Science Department, an independent scholar, member of PSN and Faculty4Palestine-Alberta, and author of the forthcoming book Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences.

Mr. Mahdi Qasqas is a Canadian Certified Counsellor, and Provisional Psychologist and President of 3OWN | Muslim Youth and Family Service.

Sheikh Basheer Hasan is a graduate from Boston University’s Faculty of Education, he holds a degree in Islamic Studies and currently works at the MAC Islamic School in Edmonton as a teacher and administrator. He has also worked as an imam at different mosques across Edmonton.

Eoin Murray is an Irish author who lived in Gaza during the Second Intifada.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.

Rally in Solidarity With Palestine

October 20, 2015


Rally in Solidarity With Palestine
Sunday, October 25 (1:00 pm)
Edmonton City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Help us spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

As Palestinians continue to rise up against the occupation, settlersIsraeli military, and mob violence against Palestinians continues across Gaza, the West Bank, and occupied East Jerusalem.

Join us in Edmonton to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people against the injustice of occupation, and to let our elected officials know that Canadians want peace and justice for the Palestinian people.

For background, you can read a BDS Movement Q&A on the uprisingread an IMEU Q&A on the current uprising in Palestine, Ramzy Baroud’s “Of Course, It is an Intifada: This is What You Must Know“or Ben White’s “Palestinian youth and the ‘force of disobedience’” and “A new intifada? You’re asking the wrong question.”

Conference: The Unfinished Project of the Arab Spring

September 7, 2015


The University of Alberta is hosting a free international conference:

The Unfinished Project of the Arab Spring: Why “Middle East Exceptionalism” is Still Wrong
September 25 – 27
University of Alberta

For full details, visit the conference website.

The conference features a keynote by Tariq Ali (RSVP online) on Friday, September 25 at 7:00 pm and a panel which includes Yasmeen Abu-Laban (Political Science, University of Alberta) and Abigail Bakan (Social Justice Education, University of Toronto) speaking on Israel, Palestine and the Politics of Race: From Exceptionalism to Global Context on Saturday, September 26 at 10:30 am. Check the full schedule for other sessions.

Conference description:

Four years after the recent revolutions/social movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the crisis in the region is evident with the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the return of a military regime in Egypt, the breakout of proxy/civil war in Syria and Yemen, and the chaos and collapse of the Libyan polity

Is the Middle East exceptionally immune to democratic movements, values and institutions?

This international conference suggests that contemporary social movements in the Middle East and North Africa are open-ended and unfinished (rather than failed) projects.

Presenters will consider these movements and their aftermath with an eye to the socio-political opportunities and potentials for progressive change they left behind.


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