Embodying Homeland: Palestinian Grief and the Perseverance of Beauty in a Time of Genocide
Palestinian liberation
settler colonialism
decolonial love

In this essay, the authors theorize that Israel’s genocide of Palestinians teaches us that a central focus of colonialism is not simply to annex Native land and accumulate resources, but to also transmit anguish and grief into the bodies of the colonized and onto the landscape. Through an ongoing dialogue interwoven throughout the essay, the authors share their reflections on grief as holding liberatory potential in the face of the colonial weaponization of loss, conveying how they have come to understand Palestinian grief as a critical enactment of decolonial love in what they call the “perseverance of beauty.” Awartani, a survivor of a near-fatal attack against his body and life, speaks with coauthor Atallah about these layers of loss, rage, and anguish built into the settler-colonial project and the power of revolutionary grief as liberatory praxis.

Author biography: 

Devin G. Atallah is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A diaspora Palestinian from the US 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 in the face of settler-colonial violence.

Hisham Awartani is an undergraduate student at Brown University. He studies archaeology and mathematics, with a focus on the Near East in the former and algebraic topology in the latter.