Thursday, April 19, 2012

BE HEARD – Aswatna Youth Event

By: Dayana

Location: New York University
Date: April 9, 2012

Aswatna’s first event marked the kick off of the Civic Drive for Voter
Registration Campaign ( in the New York tri state area.
This discussion-based event was held in New York University to further foster
and encourage the involvement of the youth segment of the Palestinian
diaspora. Professor Bashir Abu Manneh lead the discussion with an
introduction to the limits of the PNC structure as it exists today, the need
for reform and the vital role to be played by an informed and educated
Palestinian diaspora. He stated at the campaign was, “a symptom of the
rejection of the monopoly of Palestinian politics by the Palestinian

Professor Abu Manneh highlighted the importance of dialogue and
discussion within the Palestinian diaspora community. These discussions
would indeed form a basis for consensus not from the “representative”
Palestinian Authority but rather from the international community of
Palestinians interested and willing to challenge the opinions and political
gestures of the Palestinian Authority. This challenge would be borne out of
the informed discussions of Palestinians, for the Palestinian collective

Attendees expressed interest in what was deemed an “important effort”,
with one attendee stating that the campaign “would not face resistance in
the New York community.” Many expressed the necessity for a structured
goal and promise for diaspora voter inclusion in the coming elections.
There was also a heightened desire for networking within the Palestinian
community and the need to raise awareness through multiple networks.
Questions of how many Palestinians arose, highlighting the lack of a clear
awareness of our numbers and indeed untapped political potential and
collective voice.

The vacuum observed exists in the lack of representative elections and
underscores the importance of this civic drive for voter registration.
Aswatna aims to educate and mobilize Palestinians in the New York area.
The divide between the shatat and the domestic citizens of Palestine must
be bridged. As highlighted by Professor Abu Manneh, the cause for human
rights and indeed justice is one that many American liberals will support.
Thus going forward, efforts to more effectively portray this struggle for self-
determination for what it truly is: a struggle for individual and collective
rights of an effectively silenced global community.

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