Beyond Grief: Decolonial Love for Palestinian Life
Palestinian love
decolonial love
settler colonialism

This essay is a Palestinian response to Judith Butler’s query about whether “we can mourn, without qualification, for the lives lost in Israel as well as those lost in Gaza,” published in the London Review of Books on October 13, 2023, in the midst of Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. “We cannot mourn our dead,” the author writes in this essay, “because we cannot reach our flesh.” A diaspora Palestinian witnessing the genocide from afar, the author questions colonial conceptualizations of grief, arguing that Palestinians do not have access to grieve the Palestinian lives killed by Israeli genocidal aggression. Instead, he asks: “What kind of love does it take to be present for so many of our loved ones who are being massacred?” In the apocalyptic hellscape of settler-colonial violence, the author concludes Palestinians journey beyond grief, choosing decolonial love for Palestinian life as resistance.

Author biography: 

Devin G. Atallah is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A diaspora Palestinian from the United States and Chile, Atallah is an activist, researcher, scholar, practitioner, and healer dedicated to decolonial movements and Palestinian liberation. Atallah’s ongoing work focuses on understanding and directly contributing to intergenerational resistance and healing justice praxis.