Opinion: Listen to Palestinians’ stories, not just the tales that make us villains

Author and publishing professional, Hannah Moushabeck, shares her perspective on the power of storytelling and the impact it has on cultural representation, specifically in relation to Palestinians and their struggle for authentic portrayal in media.

Moushabeck recounts her parents’ experiences of moving to the United States in the 1970s and their disillusionment with the misrepresentation and stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in American culture. Determined to provide authentic representation, they established an independent publishing house in Brooklyn to share Palestinian perspectives with American readers.

Highlighting the significance of storytelling in Palestinian culture, Moushabeck emphasizes the importance of educating others about the history, art, and literature of her heritage as a form of resistance against the occupation of Palestinian land. She laments the impact of distorted narratives perpetuated by the media, which have contributed to the dehumanization of Palestinians and the justification of violence against them.

Drawing parallels with historical instances of false narratives being used to justify oppression, Moushabeck underscores the harm caused by misinformation about Palestinians, leading to discrimination and violence against Arab and Muslim Americans. She calls for a reconsideration of these narratives and an acknowledgment of the humanity and stories of Palestinians.

Moushabeck, author of “Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine” and co-owner of Interlink Publishing, urges readers to listen to the voices of Palestinians and recognize the impact of storytelling in shaping perceptions of oppressed communities.

The historic background of the Palestinian struggle dates back to the 20th century, with the displacement of Palestinians from their homeland during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, or “catastrophe.” The ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has resulted in violence and displacement, with the issue of Palestinian statehood remaining a contentious topic in international relations.

Moushabeck’s testimony sheds light on the power of storytelling in shaping perceptions of marginalized communities and urges readers to seek out authentic narratives in order to promote empathy and understanding. It serves as a call to action in recognizing the impact of media representation on global conflicts and the importance of diverse voices in shaping the narrative.

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