Rela Mazali

Rela Mazali

Rela Mazali, writer, independent scholar and feminist anti-militarist from Israel, writes hybrid-genre literary research, in both her m/other tongues, Hebrew and English. Active since 1980 in opposing Israel’s militarization and military occupation, she co-founded the New Profile movement to demilitarize society and state (in 1998) and later (2010) the small arms disarmament and gun control project, Gun Free Kitchen Tables (GFKT), which she coordinates. Mother of three, grandmother of five, she lives just north of Tel Aviv with her partner. Some recent publications include: An essay tale: “Hospital Archive,” in: Bad Mothers: Regulations, Representations and Resistance; Reflections on a story: “Complicit Dissent, Dissenting Complicity: A Story and its Context,” in: Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences; An article: “Speaking of Guns: Launching gun control discourse and disarming security guards in a militarized society,” in International Feminist Journal of Politics; GFKT's report, Loose guns: Israeli controlled small arms in the civil sphere, of which she was lead author; A multi-media essay: “Mother Lands,” hosted by M/Other Voices. Rela was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for her extensive efforts to bring peace in the Middle East as an activist, researcher and writer.
Home Archaeology — by Rela Mazali

Home Archaeology — by Rela Mazali

A Jewish activist woman from Israel conducts an “archaeological dig” into her immediate physical surroundings and the sites of her successive homes. It recounts her slow unlearning of Zionist erasures both of the dispossession of Palestinians previously living at these sites and of the discrimination against and relegation into poverty of Mizrachi Jews (Jews of color) sent to live at them.

A gradual awakening to an unblinkered understanding of the context – historical, social, economic of where she lives, this fragment opens a window onto the reality that is (again) erupting in horrific violence in Palestine Israel today, in the spring of 2021.

The text is the 5th section of the novella-length essaytale, “Home Archaeology”, originally published in full in Hebrew in the collection “Home Archaeology: Essay Tales” and re-rendered into English by the author. This piece will appear in print at a later time in a three-part series to be published by the author.

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Income Tax, Ramallah — An Essay Tale by Rela Mazali

Income Tax, Ramallah — An Essay Tale by Rela Mazali

A feminist activist from Israel revisits her partner’s all but eye-witness account of a young Palestinian woman in occupied Ramallah who was forced to provide sexual services to Israeli tax officials. Years after the facts, she turns the rigor of her critical gaze at her failure of vision and potential action. Privileged Jewish, Ashkenazi, educated, middle class, she is also placed beyond the pale by her dissent and her lesser gender. But, she says, “This telling is not a ritual of absolution. It is not a confession. I am trying to understand, to locate where and how it works – the trap. The paralysis. The silencing. … The record I’m keeping admits to the guilt, takes responsibility for it. Squirms with it. Dwells with it, squirming. It also recognizes the wisdom; of managing within constraints, of identifying the possibilities, of slow, persistent negotiating, of painstaking work against the grain of, but still within, femininity.” Originally published in Hebrew in the collection “Home Archaeology: Essay Tales” and re-rendered into English by the author, this piece unearths some of the most unspoken, deeply buried and horrific layers of occupation, subjection and collusion.

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“Remember, remember
13th of July,
Martyrs of Kashmir
and their sacrifice
who bore witness
with the crimson skies
Heroes of Kashmir
who paid the price.
Remember, remember
13th of July
Remember, remember
13th of July.”

—from: 13th of July, MC Kash

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