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In recent years, the apology has become an important feature of politics. States are asking their own citizens or the citizens of other countries for forgiveness. “Oh, sorry that we rounded up people in West Africa, shipped them across the Atlantic and sold them as slaves”. “Oh, sorry that we convicted homosexuals as criminals.” “Oh, sorry that we burnt so many women as witches.” Sometimes the issue arises as a demand for an apology. Thus, López Obrador, the Mexican president, has asked the Spanish government to apologise for the conquista. The zapatistas, on the other hand, said of their recent trip to Spain that they were not going to ask for an apology. How do we understand the rise of the public apology and how do we relate to it politically?
In a moment of severe social crisis, the institutional acts of apology and forgiveness could be theorised as a specific type of ritual which aims to respond to public anger and to reestablish social cohesion. In doing so, the state legitimises itself as the guardian of society as a Whole, and capitalism as the only alternative.
We consider that in times of capitalist crisis, class struggle becomes a metonym of revenge. Thus, the act of forgiveness – as a secularised ritual, based on reason – allows the violence of social antagonism to be regulated and reconfigured in order to re-establish the Law and Order through the discourse of reconciliation, and renunciation of revenge as a condition for development. The rituals of forgiveness are being presented as crucial steps for pacifying social tensions and establishing a new social contract, leaving behind the bloody past and rewriting historical memory for the sake of the common future. Violence, anger, guilt, memory, the attempt to pacify discontent and secure the continuity of violence: all of these come into play in the rise of the “Oh, Sorry!”.
Our project is to understand these rituals of forgiveness in different sociocultural contexts around the world, and to discuss why at this historical moment the states are proceeding in this way, and what is the relationship with capitalist crisis and social struggle.
Rituals of Forgiveness: The Performance of State Violence in the Context of Crisis by Panagiotis Doulos & Edith González Cruz
From Forgiveness to Permission: The State and “the Indigenous” in the Face of Planetary Collapse by Ines Durán Matute.
End(s) of Forgiveness by Minas Vlachos
The Fierce Dispute for Memory, Truth and Justice in Guatemala by Carlos Figueroa Ibarra.
Never Again? A Critique of Narratives of Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Post-dictatorial Chile by Roberto Longoni Martínez.
Rituals of Forgiveness as a Political Strategy of the Capitalist State: The Brazilian Case of “O Amor Venceu” in Lula’s Victory in 2022 by Leonardo Carnut, Lúcia Dias da Silva Guerra & Áquilas Mendes.
The No-bodies: Between Forgiveness and Overflow. Notes Against Forgiveness as a Dispositive of Control in Times of Explicit Antagonism by Milena Rodríguez Aza.
The March of Return: Struggle for Palestinian Liberation in the Unfinished Nakba by Nithya Nagarajan.
The book explores the challenges Palestinian filmmakers confront to develop a cinema that gives expression to the national narrative. It is based on collaborative research involving Film Lab Palestine, Sheffield Palestine Cultural Exchange and Sheffield Hallam University. We explore the political, economic and cultural contexts that impact on Palestinian film production and some of the barriers encountered in profiling and screening Palestinian films, to shed light on the complex terrain that is traversed to sustain and develop a film industry and film culture in historic Palestine and beyond.
Table of contents
The struggle to develop a national cinema
The experience of Filmlab Palestine
Visualising the Palestinian past
Roadblocks, borders and hostile environments
The screening and reception of Palestinian films
The Palestinian short film
Appendix 1: Cinema of the Palestinian Revolution
Appendix 2: 70 Years of Nakba: Audience response
Appendix 3: Love and Desire in Palestine: Audience response
Appendix 4: Selection of leaflets from film screenings
About the authors
Praise for Struggling to be seen
To so nimbly and elegantly traverse Palestinian time and space is itself a defiance of the occupation’s brutally enforced barriers. The authors’ unstintingly political examination of Palestinian cinema has much to offer both those in the know and readers new to this extraordinary body of work. — Kay Dickinson, Professor, Film Studies, Concordia University
Working extensively through primary sources, conducting research and interviews across generations of Palestinian filmmakers, the authors offer the reader an ambitious and wide-ranging essay which charts the development of a national Palestinian cinema, from an historical and critical perspective. By exploring the constellation of political, social and aesthetic concerns that shape this cinema, this authors challenge us to rethink the stakes behind the contemporary development of a Palestinian cinema industry, its audience reception, in historic Palestine and beyond.— Samia Labidi, cultural programmer & artistic curator
Illuminating and compelling, Struggling to be Seen lays bare the historical, enduring but also emerging (colonial and neocolonial) obstacles to the development of a film industry and film culture within the West Bank and Gaza. Though familiarly sobering (in its re-confirmation of the scale of injustice facing Palestinians), the book provides up-to-the-moment and an interdisciplinary account that provides rich, fresh terrain that reveals new and exciting progressions within Palestinian film culture. —Michele Aaron, Reader in Film and Television, University of Warwick, author of Death and the Moving Image: Ideology, Iconography and I (Edinburgh Univer- sity Press, 2014) Director, Screening Rights Film Festival.
Struggling to be Seen is a must read for those who are interested in under- standing the multilayered challenges that face Palestinian cinematography from its production phase to its screening phase. The book is a short read which takes the readers through the different stages which shaped the Palestinian film making enterprise. Struggling to be Seen shows the restrictions that Palestinian filmmakers face from the initial stages to funding and screening. The authors tell a story of a people whose sense of self-reflection is suppressed by the Israeli oppressive machine which con- stantly works at erasing the Palestinian peoplehood, detaching it from its past.— Nahed Habiballah, Assistant Professor and member of the Board of Directors of Policy and Conflict Resolution Studies Center, Arab American University, Ramallah, Palestine