Voices of a nation - occupied & stateless

Readers of the Dossier on Palestine may have wondered about the photo inset on the front cover displaying a Palestinian flag below the Town Clock on Citadel Hill. After several months' absence, in part to explore more deeply what that flag could mean, its photographer is back in Halifax.

Shunpiking's intrepid war correspondent, Jon Elmer, and his partner, Valerie Zink, will present residents' stories and share their experiences "from Occupied Palestine" at the Ondaatje Auditorum in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Building, within Dalhousie University's main campus on University Avenue, starting 7 pm on Tuesday, January 27th. The public is warmly invited to attend.

In the months before their trip, Jon and Val created, an online journal featuring frontline reportage and an extensive resource archive. Throughout the months spent living and reporting in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- from Jenin to Rafah -- Val and Jon conducted and recorded some 50 interviews and testimonies with a cross-section of Palestinian society ranging from school children to resistance fighters, from Israeli politicians to Palestinian paramedics, from fourth-grade math teachers to mothers who have lost children in the Intifada. Shunpiking Online posted four of these in our December, 2003 edition. (See archives)

This illustrated talk and discussion will kick off a cross-Canada fund-raising tour*, aimed at providing Canadians access to the reality of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is a living reality, one that is excluded and distorted by the monopoly media's preoccupation with military maneuvers and humiliations on the one hand and suicide bombings on the other.

Tuesday's event is the second in a series of films, presentations and forums being convened through the university winter term focusing on various aspects of Palestine related to solving the problem of nation-building. The Palestinians still reside on their original lands, they remain a people, they have a rich as well as tumultuous history , and -- as that flag reminds us -- they have a future.

February's events include two films -- the acclaimed Palestininian film Jenin!Jenin! (banned in Israel) and Breaking the Silence, a documentary by acclaimed Australian film-maker John Pilger -- and a forum on The Geneva Accords.

This thesis -- Palestine as a land, a people, a history and a future -- resonated in Halifax last March at the First Halifax Symposium on Palestine, and the current series will lay the groundwork for the second Symposium, slated March 13-14 at Dalhousie University, on the theme: "Nation-Building in the 21st Century: Focus on Palestine". For further information: or call shunpiking magazine at 902.444.4922

* Funds raised from the tour will go towards sustaining the website http://, where you can find more of the stories and pictures of Palestine as currently being lived by its people.

Canadian Speaking Tour 2004 Schedule

*a reasonably flexible outline, dates and locales -- we intend to defer to local organizers on the most appropriate date within this basic framework.

January: Maritimes

February: Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Vermont -- 3rd to 15th; Toronto, Waterloo, London, Windsor: 15th to 30th

March: Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Sask: 1-10th; Alberta, BC interior 10th to 25th; West Coast late-March to early-April

Possible Talk Titles

We can speak on our experiences in Israel and Palestine, and/or we are prepared to focus on any of the following topics.

100 days in Palestine -- a general discussion of daily life under occupation, including curfews, closure, tank and helicopter incursions, bombings, Palestinian resistance, health and education conditions, etc.

The Wall -- Physical presence and political significance

The lost generation? Palestinian children and the Intifada

Where is the Peace Camp? The politics of peace in Israel

Witnessing Occupation: The conditions and politics of reporting in the Palestinian territories

For further information, contact: