This article investigates Palestinian-Zionist colonial relations from the perspective of the interrogation encounter between Palestinian munadilin (strugglers) in prison and their interrogators from the Israeli security agency during the past forty years of Zionist settler colonization in Palestine. The interrogation site constitutes a condensation point for reading the colonial relations. Each interrogation encounter reflects a singular relation and simultaneously encodes the collective history of past, present, and future colonial relations. The interrogation encounter is a revealing ethnographic site for analyzing the dialectic of the colonial relations and how Palestinians have simultaneously carved out a space for a form of subjectivity and politics that breaks with the predicament of the colonial dialectic through the cultivation of sumud, or “steadfastness.” In the context of colonized Palestine, sumud has come to embody a whole range of significations, sensibilities, affections, attachments, aspirations, and practices. It is a form of subjectivity and politics that embodies the possibility of escaping hegemonic configurations of colonial liberal politics. To practice sumud in the interrogation means to refuse to confess in order to protect one’s comrades, political organization, and community, as well as the Palestinian revolution more broadly. However, sumud is not a definable practice. For there are as many ways to practice sumud as there are Palestinians-in-sumud; the significance of sumud lies in its nonconceptualized features. Sumud is a form of what Gilles Deleuze might term “singular revolutionary becoming,” a creative way of restructuring the self that assumes an absolute difference as immanent to the self, a “difference-in-itself,” and not merely in relation to an outside other, as presupposed by the Hegelian dialectic. The article explicates the complex web of relations that sumud incarnates. Through ethnographic cases, it discusses the form of nonrecognitive politics made possible through sumud.
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Lena Meari; Sumud: A Palestinian Philosophy of Confrontation in Colonial Prisons. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2014; 113 (3): 547–578. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2692182
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