I Am Who I Am. Recognize It And Deal With It.

I AM PALESTINIAN. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PALESTINIAN. AND I WILL ALWAYS BE PALESTINIAN

After more than a year of unemployment, I received a rejection letter that broke this camel’s back. I have applied for every job under this sun. Or so it seems. My Linkedin total of jobs applied to has reached 6,000+ ages ago. That doesn’t take into consideration all the other jobs I’ve applied to using tens of other sites.

I’m drawn to humanitarian positions that deal with Palestinians, as I am Palestinian and feel very passionate about Palestine. Palestine is my mother, my sister, my child. Palestine is my everything and the reason I live and breathe. I’ve tried to put into words many times what it is Palestine means to me, but it never seems enough. As a writer it’s frustrating. As a Palestinian, I feel it in my bones, my veins, my lungs, my life, my every molecule. Palestine made me the woman I am. Again, Palestine is my everything.

And as my everything, you can imagine how upsetting it is when I get rejected time and time again from these organisations. I’m not bitter, I accept that I wasn’t right for the position and I move on. But every so often I get an email from an organisation saying that the reason I didn’t get the position was that I’m not Palestinian, and they gave the position to a Palestinian person. What’s infuriating is that these emails come from a white member of staff. You would think, someone who works with Palestinians and supposedly works for the cause of Palestine would recognise the struggle we face.

It’s been well documented that politicians such as Golda Meir and many Zionists alike ignore the existence of Palestinians. They ignore that we exist, they ignore our right to live, they ignore our right of return, our ownership of land, our human rights, our every movement and our every basic dignity in this life.

Being from Haifa, we get labelled many things: Arabs, Israeli-Arabs, Arab-Israelis, 1948 Arabs, Inside Arabs, and so on. “They,” the Zionists, the politicians, the Arab regimes, Europe, America, the media, the whoever you want to consider in this umbrella “they”— They’re the ones who label us. But only we can label ourselves and only I can label myself.

So why is it that I get these emails from these white humanitarian workers who feel it ever necessary to tell me I don’t meet their definition of Palestinian. No, I don’t want to work for an organisation that has such a narrow, colonised and Zionist definition of Palestinian.  I reject your rejection and assert my right to be addressed as a Palestinian. And more importantly, I reject your false participation in our movement.

Enough is enough. You either decolonize that self-righteous and false sense of so-called humanitarianism or you leave. This movement has enough struggle as is and we want participants who truly believe in the Palestinian right to exist, on our own terms, not by the ones you set up for us.

You cannot dictate who I am and who we are.

I am Palestinian and Palestinian I am.

It’s in my DNA

Hello Folks!

As a Palestinian, I always imagined that my ancestral history was coloured with the many territorial conquests of what is often defined as the Middle East. I’ve always wanted to do one of those DNA tests that tell you where you’re “really from.” But those things can be quite pricey and anyone who knows me knows that I’m living on a pinch these days. Now, somehow, don’t ask me how because I don’t remember, I found out about this free study called Genes for Good that is being done through the University of Michigan. I filled out a couple of surveys and questionnaires about myself and they sent me a spit kit. It was kind of icky, but I got through the spit kit experience and mailed my sample in. Being a free test and all, they did warn me that it would take months to get my results back. There are tons of participants, so it only makes sense. You can’t argue with free, am I right? This week, I finally got my results. The results are a tad general and I’d be interested to get some more specific results, but I’m satisfied and intrigued to learn more about my history.

Here I am. This is me:

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I did have the option to request the raw data, which I did. I received it, and while they did give me some instructions on how to read it, I can’t seem to make sense of it. Maybe I can learn more about myself through this raw data, but I could use some help trying to break it down. Any suggestion? Drop me a line at heba@dartmouth.edu if you have any grand ideas or some user-friendly data software suggestions.

Or just get in touch because now that you know a little about me, it’d be cool to learn a little about you too.

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

 

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    The Key of Return

    Carl Knappett examines the way in which people think through material culture stating that the “meaning of an object arises in the articulation of the its pragmatic and significant dimensions.” He uses a methodology that utilizes physical affordance, cultural and conventional constraints, iconicity, as well as indexicality, to exemplify Bonnot’s case study that showed that significance and symbolism of material culture could shift through time and spatiality.

    This case study can be applied to that of Palestine, more specifically the right of return, Al ‘Awda, for Palestinian refugees. Within a Western context, old keys may be seen as just that, an old key. There are key museums that possibly seek to present older keys as art as opposed to anthropological artefact, as Gell would suggest. However, for Palestinian refugees, the symbolism of older keys not only represents, but also is synonymous with the right of return to their homeland, which they actively seek. Many Palestinians who fled Palestine during the Nakba held onto their house keys and land deeds, in hopes of a quick return. However, the current political situation has not lent itself to the repatriation of the Palestinian refugees, leading these keys to be passed down from generation to generation.

    This generational hand-down of keys is one of the reasons why the image of the key is referred to as mftaH al ‘Awda, or the ‘Key of Return.’ This tradition has brought together generations of Palestinians in the aspiration to return to a homeland some have never seen. The Key of Return acts as a uniting factor amongst Palestinians all over the world, unifying Palestinians under one goal. Palestinians have shifted their political representation, as well as shifted their political aspirations, however, the right of return has been one thing that most Palestinians can agree on, regardless of political affiliation or geographic location.

    While the Key of Return is largely a political statement, it can slink into the realm of the arts. Many Palestinian and Palestinian activists, who are artists, use this image in their work. The Key of Return has the ability to be both aesthetically appealing and meaningful, putting into issue Gell’s theory that people are “slaves” to art and aestheticism and that objects considered as “aesthetically superior” suggest symbolism beyond “mundane artefact.” The Key of Return’s beauty lay in the resistance movement, aspirations of return and Palestinian unity. It is only mundane when it is devoid of meaning and history, yet artists use the Key of Return as a socio-political statement in their art. Artists have the ability to evoke more emotion from an image of the key through various elements of their work; artwork of the key can therefore be considered meaningful and aesthetically appealing. However, had the Palestinian right of return not been associated with the image of the key, artists may fail to make the key aesthetically appealing, as it is a historical artefact, but it is the meaning behind the Key of Return that gives the key in artwork its aesthetic appeal.

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    40 Reasons You Should Hire Me

    Hello, I’m Heba. I have sent you this link because I REALLY want to work at your organization because I think your company is pretty awesome– I wouldn’t have sent this link to you otherwise. Below, you will find a list of the reasons I would make a great employee and creative partner. I hope by the end of this post you will learn more about me and give me a chance.

    Here it goes:

    1. I have a BA in Journalism from Penn State, an MA from Dartmouth College in Liberal Studies and an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter.

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    2. I’m a fast learner.

    635920369314243634-1808424565_harvard elleI’m very much a hands on learner and I hit the ground running. As well as learning quickly, I’m always looking and finding ways to make work tasks more time efficient.

    3. I’m dedicated and focused.

    1n6sc.gifOnce I set my mind on a goal, I put my all into achieving it. In 2006, after a mere month of fundraising, I was able to raise almost $1 million in medical supplies for war torn regions. How many other people can say that?

    4. I have strong writing and editing skills.

    Cp8gJw8I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. In addition to my BA in Journalism, in which I had a 3.67 GPA in my major, I had a focus in Creative Writing during my first MA at Dartmouth College.

    5. I’m willing to move.

    giphy (2)I have lived in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Switzerland, the U.K., Jordan, Palestine and Israel. I’m a professional at packing and moving. I’m more than willing to move for the right opportunity.

    6. I can roll with the punches.

    post-23206-be-water-my-friend-bruce-lee-g-nhkfI consider myself a perfectionist, but I understand that things can’t be perfect all the time. Sometimes, you have to do the best you can with what you have. I can handle all sorts of circumstances that come my way. Kind of like when I can’t find Collection or Gabrini eyeliner anywhere and I have to make due with Almay.

    7. I’m organized.

    Label Makers Can Definitely Help You Get Your Documents OrganizedReally, I am. I even won an MVP award from my time working at the GAP because I was the most organized employee.

    8. I can stay calm in a crisis.

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    Accidents happen and sometimes they’re unavoidable. Someone misses a deadline, a package wasn’t delivered on time, products break, people get hurt– Life happens. Working with kids between the ages of 5-17 has taught me to stay calm in all sorts of crazy scenarios. And if you’ve ever worked with kids, you know how crazy things can get.

    9. I love to laugh.

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    Laughing and making others laugh is a great talent of mine. I’m not signing up for any open mic nights or doing any stand-up comedy acts, but I can find the funny in the ordinary.

    10. I like to read.

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    In elementary school, I set the record for the most books read during National Reading Month. You can always find me with a book in hand or an article on screen.

    11. I live online and stay on top of all the new trends.

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    Most of my day is spent online digging through the mountains of information, videos, photos and such. I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing and am always the first one of my friends to identify viral material and trends.

    12. The world inspires me.

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    Everywhere I look, everyone I see, inspires me in some sort of way. Everyone I meet and encounter leaves a mark on me and inspires me to make the world a better place.

    13. I’m well-versed in social media.

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    Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram, Pinterest– I love it all.

    14. I’m a realistic optimist.

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    I try to see the best in everyone and in every situation, but my expectations are always realistic. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    15. I can work with a team, as well as on my own.

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    Being a journalist, I’ve learned to work as part of a team. Especially when working as an editor, much of the position is dependent on working with others. Working in groups is great because everyone brings a different perspective to the project at hand. But, I have also been a teacher and have had to take responsibility for creating curriculums all on my own. Working on my own is also great because I get to see how far I can push myself.

    16. I have experience managing volunteers.

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    Remember that huge fundraiser I talked about earlier? Well, I had recruited and managed the efforts of more than 50 volunteers in under a week’s time. I was responsible for training the volunteers, managing their schedules, communicating their needs and supervising their delegated responsibilities.

    17. I’m an email wizard.

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    Any of my former students can tell you that I respond to emails as soon as I possibly can, sometimes within minutes.

    18. I’m creative.

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    I dabble in the arts and always have new and innovative ideas running through my head.

    19. I have lots of interests.

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    I like fashion, desserts, poems, coffee, bright colors, food, photography, art, literature, movies, music, naps, decorating, calligraphy, libraries and spending time with my friends.

    20. I’m great at conflict resolution.

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    I’m an American-Palestinian-Arab-Muslim-woman with Israeli citizenship. If that doesn’t make me an expert problem solver, I don’t know what does.

    21. I’m good at stuff.

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    I’m a good listener and a good friend. Some other things I’m good at include, but are not limited to: eyeliner application, fashion styling, tea brewing and reality check administrating. I’m also a pretty great actress in life more so than in art.

    22. I have experience writing blogs, fiction, nonfiction, research papers, listicles, essays, executive reports, newsletters and more.

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    I can do it all because I have done it all. Writing, of all sorts, is what I do and it is what makes me happy.

    23. I’m confident in my abilities to speak and relate to different types of communicators.

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    Not everyone communicates in the same way. I have learned to adjust my tone, vocabulary and methods to fit the person I am speaking to.

    24. I’m proficient in Word and other software.

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    Word, Adobe, ProTools, PCs, Macs, FinalCut and so much more.

    25. I’m pretty good at evaluating situations.

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    I’ve always been good at reading a situation. I’m pretty observant and I can usually tell when someone is sad, happy, irritated, excited or any other range of emotion.

    26. My creative writing pieces have been published in several magazines.

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    You can check out my published writing by clicking on the Portfolio link at the top of the page.

    27. I’m always looking to improve.

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    Whether it’s getting a new haircut or trying to learn a new language, I’m always trying to improve myself, both inside and out.

    28. I can dish it and I can take it… In a respectful manner, of course. Tumblr_lp0rbgfnEg1qfal67o1_r1_250.gif

    As a writer, criticism can be tough. I put my heart and soul into my work and I know how disheartening harsh criticism can be. I’ve grown a thick skin over the years and can take criticism pretty well. I believe that criticism should always be constructive and when I give constructive criticism to an employee, I am always respectful and appreciative for their hard work. Constructive criticism should always help the other person improve their work and boost their self-confidence.

    29. I take pride in my work.

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    But just the right amount of pride. I’m not cocky, I promise.

    30. I want to plant some roots.

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    I’ve moved around a lot and I’ve had a lot of different type of jobs. Now, I’m ready to settle down and really grow within a company.

    31. I’m a coordination queen.

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    That goes for both my outfits and my workload. I’m all about the time management skills.

    32. I’m passionate about human rights, education, social justice, prison reform, women’s health, politics and life.

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    33. I’m always prepared.

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    I watch a lot of scary movies. As a result, I’m now prepared for any and all scenarios, at all times. If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, come with me because I have a plan.

    34. I like to bake.

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    I love baking and all things sweet. I also believe that sharing is caring, so, if you hire me you will be sure to have a taste of the sweet life.

    35. I smell nice.

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    I wear perfume even when I don’t leave the house, because I deserve to smell nice. I’m also super hygienic and carry around hand-sanitizer that doubles as lotion. It’s kind of my thing.

    36. I love animals.

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    Well, most animals. I have a fear of geese and swans, but other than that, I love animals. One of my dreams is to open up an animal sanctuary so I can love and hang out with my animal friends all day.

    37. I’m a feminist.

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    I believe everyone should be a feminist and we should all be working towards equality and justice for women.

    38. I make 11:11 wishes for good measure.

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    It can’t hurt, right? I’ll make a wish for you too.

    39. My life is a meme.

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    Anyone who knows me, knows that if there is a one in a million chance of something strange happening to someone, it’s going to be me.  And most days people get a kick out of it. Me included.

    40. I want to work and have fun doing it.

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    I want my work to be meaningful and I want to enjoy doing it. I’m not looking to clock in and clock out. I want to make a difference and improve people’s lives. I may not be able to change the world, but I certainly can change a tiny corner of it– even if it is one person.

    It’s like they [Confucius] say: Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

    Symposium Report 2011- Immigration

    For the first time ever, more people live in cities than in rural areas and people are living a truly urban life. The European Union is the closest experiment to open borders and works because the levels of disparities amongst the EU nations are not as wide as the disparities between Europe and North Africa.

    Although exact figures are often thought to be unbelievable, it is estimated that there are approximately 214 million international migrants in the world today- this estimation does not include internal migrations. It should be noted that migrant numbers are not included in this statistic. Instead, migration scholars, such as Khalid Koser prefer to say that 3 percent of the total global population are international migrants, which is believed to be a more accurate statement. One in 35 people is an international migrant, constituting the population of the fourth biggest nation in the world, Indonesia. This may seem like an intimidating thought to think that an entire nation of migrants exists, but Koser asks the question, “Why is the forces of migration is so strong do the other 97 percent of the Earth’s population not migrant?”

    Statistics can often be misinterpreted due to the differing definitions of migration terminology. The above stated numbers do not take into consideration the estimated 740 million internal migrants, according to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre.

    Despite the current economic crisis, migration has not slowed down significantly. In fact, during the financial crisis unemployment amongst migrants was not as large as to be thought because average citizens were thought to rather accept welfare check than take jobs they thought were beneath them. However, the quality of the life of migrants decreased.  Also during the global financial crisis, flows of irregular migrations decreased, but stocks of migrants increased for fear that after unemployment if they left they would not be able to come back.

    Almost 50 percent of migrations now are woman migrants; this used to be due to reasons of marriage, whereas now women are seen as the breadwinners. The feminization of migration is due to many countries’ liberalization where women have a more important role in society, the need for services stereotypically taken on by women such as cooking and cleaning, as well as prostitution and human trafficking.

    Migrants are often placed into the categories of legal or illegal, by those who use migration as a political tool, especially for re-election, whereas humanitarian organizations refer to migrants as documented and undocumented or irregular migrants. The term irregular migrants can be used in circumstances where irregular circumstances occur that cause the migrants to leave their documentation behind. Refugees are not included in the estimation of migrants. Contrary to popular thought most migrants come in legally and then become considered ‘illegal’ because they have overstayed their visas.

    The term ‘voluntary migration’ has been highly contested. If a family’s home has been destroyed by a natural disaster, they are considered a forced migrant, but if a member of a family leaves the country to find work in another country because their country of origin is lacking openings, are they then considered to be ‘voluntary migrants.’ There is no simple solution to this question, typically governments see these individuals are voluntary migrants, whereas humanitarian organizations are more liberal in interpreting the events that led to migration.

    Remittances are the money made by the international migrants that is sent back to the migrants’ families. The top three nations to receive remittances are India, China and Mexico and 50 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP is dependent on remittances. The 2010 flow of remittances is estimated to be about $316 billion. Although some governments may state that the amount of remittances leaving the country in which the money was made, hinders the economy, only 10 percent of remittances are sent back to the migrants’ country of origin and the other 90 percent is sent in the country the migrants are living in to pay for food, rent and other immediate expenses. The danger of remittances stands in that a cultural dependence of this flow of money is established and migration looks more appealing.

    International migration law is not recognized as a sect of international law, although it is an emerging field. The UN convention of 1990 does not refer to admission of migrants, but only the legal status of migrants. One of the principles governing migration is that migration and expulsion of ‘aliens’ is a part of the sovereignty of a country. Domestic jurisdiction is an evolving concept and is thought to be better to use than sovereignty in legal terms. States no longer enjoy absolute discretion and must adhere to certain grounds of rejection of aliens, being: a threat to security, not meeting financial requirements, having a contagious disease, a lack of documentation, a prior violation of immigration laws, war criminal status or having a criminal record.

    Many fallacies exist about the state of migrants, such as they are unhealthy and bring disease into the country. According to the IOM, this is false, as the strongest and healthiest individuals are those that migrate for work purposes. In fact not only are most migrants healthy, but migrants often underutilize health services and do not take away from public health services, as thought by some. The World Health Organization has reported that Australia has the most access to health care for migrants, whereas Qatar has the least access to health care. Unfortunately the most cited reason for migrants being rejected from the health care system is the government thinks it is too costly.  Switzerland claims that migrants receive full health equality services in hospitals, but migrants are forced to use a different entrance to the hospital, as it is inappropriate for them to enter through the same entrance as a ‘regular’ citizen of the country. The IOM has launched a campaign to educate both migrants and doctors as to what their rights are, as both parties have been fed different stories by governments and are unaware of what their rights and obligations are.

    Governments spend billions of dollars a year on making policies concerning migration laws and then approximately three years  later these laws are scrapped and replaced with new ones. Koser believes these funds would be better spent on policy evaluation. When discussing migration, civil society is excluded from official migration dialogues and the legitimacy of representation when one representative represents a thousand organization flounders as a list of three of four concise priorities are difficult to comprise. Private sector is also not involved in migration dialogue, even though they are often a driving force of migration.

    Solutions for the models for global governance of migration should exhibit more formal cooperation between states, engage in more robust and regional global dialogues, consider cooperation between regional consultative processes, as well as institutional reform, which would include the creation of a new agency, designating a lead agency from the existing agencies bringing the IOM into the UN system, considering a leadership or WO model. The obstacles that lie within the global governance of migration is that this may impede on a nation’s sovereignty, cause institutional inertia, increase North vs South relations and exhibit a lack of consensus amongst advocates.

    The statistic of refugees does not include asylum seekers, internally displaced peoples or stateless persons. In order to be a refugee, the ‘refugee’ must be recognized by the host nation. There are two different ways to determine refugee status. There is the individual procedure and examination and the collective determination of a population. Legally speaking, ‘asylum seeker’ refers to a person who has not been officially recognized as a refugee and the definition of a refugee is based on the well-founded fear of persecution.

    The refugee problem was first addressed in May of 1945 in response to the Holocaust and World War II. Within this timeframe there were 40 million refugees and internally displaced people, 13 million expelled Jews, 11.3 million forced labourers and 100 million refugees beyond the parameters of Europe. UNHCR was created during 1949-1950, to replace the IRO that was founded in 1947, as of January 1951. UNHCR’s effectiveness is punted against its non-political mission, as helping those in need is seen by opposing sides as a political act. However, the UNHCR’s objective is not to ask how or why the refugee situation is caused, but rather how to provide basic services for refugees, such as food and shelter.

    After the WWII refugees, the next group of refugees came from Hungary in 1956, where the UNHCR helped resettled 200,000 refugees in thirty countries and repatriated 10 percent of the refugees. The next largest UNHCR operations to date occurred in Bangladesh (1970-1971) and then followed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Afghanistan is the single biggest refugee population in the world, being affected by the invasion of the Soviets, the Taliban rule, the “War on Terror,” as well as other internal conflicts. Interestingly enough, the United States of America is the single biggest donor to the UNHCR. Afghan refugees account for 40 percent of all the refugees in the world, not including Palestinian refugees. Proportionally Somalia has the biggest percentage of refugees and Colombia has the most IDPs, approximately three million. These IDPs receive aid from UNHCR although their legal status is less clear than that of refugees. Another group of people of concern to the UNHCR are settled refugees, who still have access to assistance programs.

    The principle of non-refoulement is guaranteed by Article 33 of the Geneva Convention which states that a country cannot force people to go back to nation of persecution if they still feel a sense of persecution.

    The right of asylum is not acknowledged as an individual right and falls under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 40: the right to seek and enjoy asylum. This however is not an obligation for a state to provide asylum.

    In 1951 the UN convention relating to the status of refugees has contributed to providing durable solutions by the UNHCR to refugee situation including voluntary repatriation to the country of origin, local integration into the country of asylum and resettlement to a third country. However, the UNHCR has been shy about repatriation in the past and usually leaves it up to the IOM to handle repatriation as they are not a U.N. entity.

    UNRWA- The United Nations Relief and Work Agency is short for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Special attention should be given to the word ‘Palestine,’ as there were refugees who lived in Palestine but were not of Palestinian descent, including Turks, Armenians and other minority groups. UNRWA is the only U.N. organization set up to face a specific refugee problem for a specific group of people, with more than 30,000 employees. UNRWA has a budget of $700 million, as well as a $250 million emergency fund. The United Nations brought in Gordon Clapp,  the former Director of the Tennessee Valley Authority in the USA to help shape UNRWA. UNRWA is not responsible for finding a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, but rather they are to provide schooling and humanitarian aid to Palestine refugees, the longest standing refugee issue in modern history.

    In concern with human security in world politics, the concept of a ‘traditional’ security of ‘national’ security erodes from the traditional concept of safeguarding the population and core values of a nation. The three main reasons why this concept erodes with time is due to a shift from interstate to intrastate wars, a fragmentation of global or common threats and fragile or failed states’ security threats that appear above and below the state level. 

    In a survey in South Sudan, citizens were asked if they felt a sense of human security for the months to come. A majority of the surveyed said yes, but their definition of human security was equated with food security. This in mind, an interdisciplinary method is needed for human security. Human security catalysts are often economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political security factors. Environmental security is needed in cases where the well-being or survival of the community is being threated due to human activity that threatens the environment or in cases of environmental change or degradation caused by conflict.

    Constructivism in a method for studying social phenomena that focuses on the role of ideas in shaping our identities and gives meaning to the world around us. Constructing security interests involves identifying the threats that weapons pose, the enemy and humanitarian intervention, keeping in mind that threats are a part of an ideological issue. Securitization on the other hand is when threats are socially constructed by powerful actors and accepted by a relevant audience and identification of an existential threat that takes an issue beyond the usual rules of policies and calls for urgent extreme or extra-legal measures to respond, for example: The war on terror or the war on drugs.

    While new forms of multilateralism to address human security have been established, such as the Human Security Network, regional responses to human security and the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development have strengths such as their crossregional representation abilities, ministerial level initiatives and the taking on of cutting edge issues such as landmines and child soldiers, there are also weaknesses- they are too dependent on individual leadership, lack a consensus on issues of hierarchy and have bad timing and  weak follow through.

    The objective of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development is to raise global awareness of the negative impact of armed violence and support the reduction of armed violence. There are about 700,000 deaths annually due to armed violence with 40-50,000 as a result of direct conflict, homicides at 490,000 and 200,000 as a result of indirect conflict deaths. Excess mortality rates are used in these armed violence statistics. There are at least 875 billion weapons held worldwide with more than 2/3 in civilian hands, ¼ with armed forces, few with police and less than 1% with armed groups. New issues on the human security agenda tackle issues such as landmines, cluster munitions, small arms and light weapons, child soldiers, civilian protection and conflict goods.

    What is humanitarian action? According to the OECD/DAC in 2007 is to save lives, alleviate suffering, maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies and should be consistent with principles of human dignity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Humanitarian action is so relevant because it is easier to send money in contemporary times, it is foreign policy by default, media attention and it is a way to contain refugee issues.

    To be a humanitarian is to have a transnational concern to help persons in exceptional distress while humanitarianisms propound loft goals and hide deep contradictions. Intervention on the other hand is the interference, forcible or supported by force, of one independent state in the internal affairs of the other.

    There are for categories in categorizing humanitarianism. The first being the Dunantsists, who are strictly impartial, neutral and independent. Then there are the Wilsonians who are broadly tuned with foreign policy of their home country and have a liberal democratic peace agenda. Thirdly there are Faith Based, such as Islamic relief and fourthly there are the Solidarists who seek justice, human rights or development in addition to the objective of humanitarian assistance. There  is also a difference between development aid and humanitarian aid, as development aid is transformative, long term and utilizes local leadership and humanitarian aid has a conservative agenda, is short term and requires external intervention. There are five different action modes, three of which fall under the guise of protection: denunciation, mobilization and persuasion and the other two being support and substitution.

    Actors of humanitarian intervention are those who have political interest and won’t refer to situations, such as Libya, as civil war. If it were to be referred to as a civil wall, humanitarian intervention crisis argument then collapses.

    What is terrorism? Terrorism are a universal problem, social phenomenon, a strategy, a tactic, technique, crime, resorted to by the weak against the strong, psychological and physical weapons and are elusive in their goals. Terrorism has a long history starting with the Zealots in the year 60 AD with the Jews in Palestine against the Romans, then the Assassins in 1090-1270 in Persia and then the French Revolution in 1792-1794. However, modern terrorism is born in the 1860s by means of  an organic relationship between terrorism and technology, being triggered especially by World War I. And religious terrorism does not start until the1980s.

    The initial terrorist mode is the destruction of the most harmful persons in government and the punishment of official lawlessness., but there are difficulties in defining terrorism because it is a disputed and nebulous concept, the definition must stay away from the avowed reasons of the terrorist, yet take them into account, the direct targets of violence aren’t necessarily the main targets and the problem at the crossroads of ideology. Hence, the US Army, FBI and Department of State do not have a standard, agreed upon definition of terrorism, in fact the United Nations have been meeting for 20-30 years concerning devising a standard definition. Despite the inability to define terrorism there are main agreed upon features of terrorist attacks: they are organized, deliberate and systematic, politically motivated, the usage of force, indiscriminately targeting of civilians, meant to communicate a problem, aimed at a symbol, conducted by state or non-state actors, part of a campaign and to achieve strategic direct or indirect results. 

    The Key of Return

    Carl Knappett examines the way in which people think through material culture stating that the “meaning of an object arises in the articulation of the its pragmatic and significant dimensions.” He uses a methodology that utilizes physical affordance, cultural and conventional constraints, iconicity, as well as indexicality, to exemplify Bonnot’s case study that showed that significance and symbolism of material culture could shift through time and spatiality.

    This case study can be applied to that of Palestine, more specifically the right of return, Al ‘Awda, for Palestinian refugees. Within a Western context, old keys may be seen as just that, an old key. There are key museums that possibly seek to present older keys as art as opposed to anthropological artefact, as Gell would suggest. However, for Palestinian refugees, the symbolism of older keys not only represents, but also is synonymous with the right of return to their homeland, which they actively seek. Many Palestinians who fled Palestine during the Nakba held onto their house keys and land deeds, in hopes of a quick return. However, the current political situation has not lent itself to the repatriation of the Palestinian refugees, leading these keys to be passed down from generation to generation.

    This generational hand-down of keys is one of the reasons why the image of the key is referred to as mftaH al ‘Awda, or the ‘Key of Return.’ This tradition has brought together generations of Palestinians in the aspiration to return to a homeland some have never seen. The Key of Return acts as a uniting factor amongst Palestinians all over the world, unifying Palestinians under one goal. Palestinians have shifted their political representation, as well as shifted their political aspirations, however, the right of return has been one thing that most Palestinians can agree on, regardless of political affiliation or geographic location.

    While the Key of Return is largely a political statement, it can slink into the realm of the arts. Many Palestinian and Palestinian activists, who are artists, use this image in their work. The Key of Return has the ability to be both aesthetically appealing and meaningful, putting into issue Gell’s theory that people are “slaves” to art and aestheticism and that objects considered as “aesthetically superior” suggest symbolism beyond “mundane artefact.” The Key of Return’s beauty lay in the resistance movement, aspirations of return and Palestinian unity. It is only mundane when it is devoid of meaning and history, yet artists use the Key of Return as a socio-political statement in their art. Artists have the ability to evoke more emotion from an image of the key through various elements of their work; artwork of the key can therefore be considered meaningful and aesthetically appealing. However, had the Palestinian right of return not been associated with the image of the key, artists may fail to make the key aesthetically appealing, as it is a historical artefact, but it is the meaning behind the Key of Return that gives the key in artwork its aesthetic appeal.

    Middle East Defined

    As noted by Rashid Khalidi, the term “Middle East” has become a source of contention and is seen as an unsatisfactory term to describe the region we now know as the Middle East and North Africa. Khalidi is correct in being sceptical of the term “Middle East,” as its definition is unclear. The World Bank uses the term “Middle East and North Africa” which encompasses the nations of Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza, as well as Yemen. The United Nations Statistics Division, however, refers to the countries of North Africa separately from the countries of “West Asia,” which includes the Gulf countries, the Levant, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. While the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Central Intelligence Agency, the UN Refugee Agency, as well as Human Rights Watch all have slightly different definitions of what countries encompass the Middle East or the Middle East and North Africa, the larger questions are: Why do these organizations feel the need to define this region and what is the need to define this region?   

    Hasan Salaam, an Egyptian-American lyricist made a simple and important observation in some of his lyrics stating, “No such thing as the Middle East… No matter where you stand there’s always something to the east of you.” The definition of the “Middle East” and the terms that are used to describe North Africa, the Gulf, and West Asia have changed throughout history depending on which nations are the current superpowers. It seems that the European and American bodies that set th term “Middle East” into place, wanted to create Europe and North America as the centre of the world, in which everything must be in relation to these regions, and that the terms “Middle East” and “the West” are all relative.

    The “West” has consistently defined the “East” in their own terms, in order to better define themselves and in order to mark “their” territory. When the “West” occupied the “Middle East,” it occupied the languages and the minds of the people in that region because, now, in Arabic the region is referred to as al-Sharq al-Awsat, or the Middle East. The “West” defined the borders of the “Middle East,” the same borders that the “Middle Eastern” countries fight to defend despite the end of colonialism. They have let the “West” define who is seen as friend and who is seen as foe. By doing this, the “Middle East” continues to be the pawns of the “West” and still unknowingly caters to the “West’s” notions of how the “Middle East” should be defined.