The 2006 Edward Said Memorial lecture of Adelaide University,Australia, delivered by Tanya Reinhart on 7 October 2006. Tanya Reinhart covers important issues in this lecture: the Nakba in the history of the occupied and the occupier, the choice of armed- vs. unarmed struggle, Israel and South-Africa, the role of international activism, and what can be learned from both Edward Said and Nelson Mandela.
I just wanted to look at Tanya —
how she stood tall in her coat
at the end of the hall
on her department’s floor
as I came out of the elevator;
how she lit her cigarette
at the entrance archway
as we walked out to Broadway…
IOA Editor: We remember Tanya Reinhart, a courageous anti-Occupation activist, great moral thinker, world renowned linguist, a comrade and a friend. (Born 23 July 1943, Palestine; died 17 March 2007, New York.)
Tanya Reinhart, linguist, writer and political activist: born Kyriat Haim, Palestine 23 July 1943; married 1997 Aharon Shabtai; died New York 17 March 2007.
Tanya Reinhart was a distinguished academic linguist and a political commentator and activist. She was known internationally as an ardent critic of Israel’s policies and of the Zionist ideology. Reinhart was married to the Israeli poet and translator Aharon Shabtai.
In the Israeli discourse, Israel has always been the innocent victim of vicious aggression from its neighbors. This perception of reality has only intensified with its two recent wars – against the Palestinians in Gaza and against Lebanon. On this view, in both cases Israel has manifested its good will – it ended the occupation of the Gaza strip in 2005, just as it ended the occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000. But, on this perception, the other side reciprocated with unprovoked rockets attacks on Israel.
Beirut is burning, hundreds of Lebanese die, hundreds of thousands lose all they ever owned and become refugees, and all the world is doing is rescuing the “foreign passport” residents of what was just two weeks ago “the Paris of the Middle East”. Lebanon must die now, because “Israel has the right to defend itself”, so goes the U.S. mantra, used to block any international attempt to impose a cease fire.
Whatever may be the fate of the captive soldier Gilad Shalit, the Israeli army’s war in Gaza is not about him. As senior security analyst Alex Fishman widely reported, the army was preparing for an attack months earlier and was constantly pushing for it, with the goal of destroying the Hamas infrastructure and its government. The army initiated an escalation on 8 June when it assassinated Abu Samhadana, a senior appointee of the Hamas government, and intensified its shelling of civilians in the Gaza Strip.