Caption: Poster for Reading for Palestine with Sawsan Faqqua (Iris haynei) – an endemic species to Palestine. Poster design by Roï Saade.
Image description: A greyed-out iris flower covering the entire page, against a dark green background. With its letters in green, except the parts where they touch the flower, and turn pink, the words “Reading”, “for,” “Palestine” vertically divide the poster in three.
Reading for Palestine is a collaborative, long-term initiative where readers from AIM, their kin and invitees volunteer their time and voice to read for Palestine from a collection of texts and media for as short or as long as they are able. These recordings, their transcripts, and a collectively curated reading list will be available on the AIM website.
Project start date, October 2023.
We are deeply concerned with the rampant spread of misinformation, and the failure of mainstream media in doing fair, critical, and accountable journalism on Gaza and occupied Palestine territories. The scarcity of spaces given to Palestinian perspectives is disturbing and contributes to the slow and fast violence of the current Palestinian genocide. Taking our cue from bell hooks, we think of the classroom as a “radical space of possibility” (1994, 3), and in line with our anti-ableist commitments, we want to liberate the classroom beyond the ivory tower of the academe and make knowledge accessible to a broader public, while simultaneously making the format of that knowledge accessible to broader audiences with a variety of disabilities.
This initiative builds on AIM’s multidimensional understanding of access. In practice, this means enabling access in diverse formats and media to accommodate a variety of disabilities and access needs. In line with our commitment to accessibilizing knowledge in all its forms, and building on the tradition of audio books, we are Reading for Palestine, and sharing our readings both as audio files, and transcribed texts. Because AIM is always working from anti-oppressive positions, this initiative also frames access through questions of literal access to Land and the many ways that colonized Lands have historically been rendered increasingly inaccessible, or entirely uninhabitable, as is the case now in Gaza. Across scale and context, our understanding of, and commitment to more liveable worlds both in theory and practice remains the same.
Why Reading for Palestine?
Rooted in our values of humility, accountability, and relationality, the AIM Lab strives to ground its activities and research in an ethics of anti-colonialism and anti-ableism. Our work is a commitment to process, taking time, valuing reciprocity, and building meaningful relations. It is both careful and care-full in nature. As a collective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous, academic and non-academic researchers, artists and practitioners from Turtle Island and across the globe, our calls for Land Back, decolonization, and reconciliation cannot and must not end at the borders of so-called “Canada”. Following the sentiments of Fannie Lou Hamer’s 1971 speech “Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free,” we deem it non-negotiable that as a lab dedicated to doing anti-colonial work, that the work extends to and responds to the colonial occupation and ongoing genocide in Palestine. We stand in solidarity with all colonized nations and peoples of the world. As a lab focusing on issues of access, disability, environment, and care on a global scale, we cannot work on these issues without addressing the extreme colonial violence in occupied Palestine.
Hence our action-based, process-oriented, and accessibility-centered initiative: Reading for Palestine.
Reading for Palestine comes from…
With the inception of AIM Lab in 2021, we sought to better understand the histories of colonization on the Lands wherein our lab is physically located. To do so, we decided to collectively read Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) author Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf’s book, Entering the Warzone: A Mohawk Perspective on Resisting Invasions (1995). Our collective reading of Goodleaf’s book over the course of three months gave rise to a critical and active understanding of the colonization and settlement process of the Land on which AIM is based. It gave us the tools to keep recognizing our accountabilities to the dignitaries of the Land that still is under occupation, or as others describe it, “unceded”. In 2022, we organized a panel where Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf and Palestinian filmmaker Razan AlSalah discussed issues of survival, resistance, and liveable futures in colonized Lands. We are continuing this line of work and our anti-colonial commitments with Reading for Palestine.
– Access in the Making (AIM) Lab
Note: We are not trained professionals in reading for audiobooks. Nor do we all have the ideal technical set-up. By Reading for Palestine, we wish to take a pause, give our time, and lend our voices to texts on Palestine.
Kahérakwas Goodleaf, Donna. 1995. Entering the Warzone: A Mohawk Perspective on Resisting Invasions. Penticton: Theytus Books.
hooks, bell. 1994. Teaching to transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York, London: Routledge.
Brooks, Maegan Parker, Davis W. Houck, Maegan Parker Brooks, and Davis W. Houck, eds. 2010. “134‘Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free,’: Speech Delivered at the Founding of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1971.” In The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is, 0. University Press of Mississippi. https://doi.org/10.14325/mississippi/9781604738223.003.0017.
Available Reading Recordings
Selected Poems from Entering the Warzone: A Mohawk Perspective on Resisting Invasions – written and read by Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf (November 3, 2023)
“On Palestine, G4S, and the Prison-Industrial Complex” from Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (2016) – Angela Y. Davis, read by Prakash Krishnan (October 26, 2023)
“Introduction” from The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World (2023) – Antony Loewenstein, read by Sabrina Ward-Kimola and Alaina Perez (October 27, 2023)
AIM would like to thanks MAKTABA bookstore for their carefully curated reading lists. The proceeds from their book sales during the month of October 2023 were donated toward providing direct aid to Gaza.