Mada al-Carmel is constantly looking to expand the scope of its work, and to incorporate new critical and disciplinary perspectives into its practices. Its newly launched project, which will focus on orally narrated personal autobiographies of Palestinians in Israel, is the latest demonstration of this ethic. This project will seek to assess Palestinian politics and history in Israel through the testimonies of those who have managed to remain in their historic homeland, through the long years since the Nakba of 1948. Mada will publish papers, articles and analyses as part of this project, all of which will methodologically prioritise the personal observations and experiences of interviewees and contributors. A self-reflexive mode is key to this work, and a process of digging down into the memories of those involved can bring us new understandings of the events and circumstances through which the contributors lived.
As part of this new project, Mada recently published a paper entitled “The Arab Student Movement in Israeli Universities: A Personal Narrative” authored by the Palestinian writer and prominent figure Amir Makhoul, former head of the In-Country Union for Arab University Students, and former head of the Arab Students Committee at the University of Haifa. In his paper, Makhoul goes over history of Arab student movement up to the present day through narrating his own personal experiences and discussing his involvement in the movement. Makhoul discusses how the student movement emerged, its external influences, the environment in which it was initially operating, and how it was viewed by the Israeli establishment. He also reflects on what it was like to be in a position of leadership offers his own thoughts on the current state of the movement today, and the challenges that it is currently facing.
Mada also recently published an article by former general secretary of Balad, Aoud Abd-al-Fatah, in which he compares the Palestinian situation to the historic struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Over the coming weeks Mada will publish a variety of articles from prominent members of the Palestinian community in Israel. Dr Mohanad Mustafa, director of Mada al Carmel, commented on the importance of the project: “This new project aims to evaluate the political experiences of the Palestinians in Israel through the stories of those who have lived them first-hand. It fits into the wider framework of Mada’s mission to contribute to debate on the politics and history of the Palestinian community in Israel. We are not writing about these people, rather they are writing about their experiences in a way which provides new perspectives on the Palestinian experience as a whole. The papers released in this series are not mere propaganda. We are seeking to integrate these personal autobiographies into our academic research.”
This new approach of integrating theoretical and analytical approaches with personal reflections is a constituent part of Mada’s ongoing development as a research institute. The center is interested in providing diverse content to its readers and followers, which encourages the generation of new critical discourses on Israeli-Palestinian relations. Mada’s other recent activities include two online lecture series, “Politics in the Time of Coronavirus” and “Israeli Neoliberalism”; the latter of which will be the subject of an upcoming special issue of Jadal journal. The center also recently made its online back catalogue of e-books available for free download, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the founding of Mada al-Carmel.