The Clock on the Wall

My city collapsed
The clock was still on the wall
Our neighborhood collapsed
The clock was still on the wall
The street collapsed
The clock was still on the wall
The square collapsed
The clock was still on the wall
The house collapsed
The clock was still on the wall
The wall collapsed
The clock
Ticked on

Samih Al-Qasim (Al Kassem)

The Nakba

Over 67 years ago, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine began. It is known today as the Nakba, or the Catastrophe. For Palestinians, the Nakba is more than an event in history–something that can be spoken about in the past tense. For us, the Nakba is part of who we are as a people. The Nakba explains why we are where we are. The Nakba explains why more Palestinians are in diaspora than in the lands of their parents and grandparents. The Nakba explains why there is a UN agency dedicated solely to the Palestinian refugee problem. The Nakba explains how the many aspects of Palestinian culture including poetry, painting, dramas, food, film, festivals, music and more became vital to preserving our identities.

The Nakba continues today as Israeli forces shoot live rounds at protesters, as bombs are dropped on essential infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, as more land is confiscated and homes are demolished, as Palestinians in refugee camps are attacked, as more laws are enacted that discriminate against those who are not Jewish, as a system of rule deemed worse than Apartheid is the reality of for many of our brothers and sisters.

What the Nakba cannot explain though is how a people who have been dispossessed, marginalized, oppressed, murdered, brutalized, imprisoned, and terrorized can to this day keep fighting for justice. Despite hundreds of villages being destroyed, the hope and optimism of the Palestinians was not. SIXTY-SEVEN YEARS OF RESISTANCE! This is not a fight for space nor a war over religion. The Nakba is a struggle for over 12 million people around the world to be seen as human.

Today we do not remember the Nakba. Rather, we remember the beginnings of the Nakba and we continue to commit ourselves to bringing upon its end.


The beginnings…

Welcome! Thanks for visiting my blog. To be frank, I’m not entirely sure what I plan on doing with this blog, but I have some ideas.

I’ve been advised by several people that blogging during a PhD program can be incredibly rewarding and useful. However, I don’t think I want this blog just to be a hodgepodge of the math that I come across. So although many of my posts will be based on stuff I found interesting in my classes and research, I definitely will write about more than that.

Recently I decided that I am going to learn more about programming (and computer science in general) as my interests seem to lean toward scientific computing, I think this will be a productive way for me to record what I’ve done. I am currently dabbling in C++ and R, but I also work with Matlab and Mathematica. I am interested in getting some stuff online, but I’m not there yet.

I may also share my readings and thoughts about news and current affairs. As a Palestinian, I am very interested in learning more about the history and having a better understanding of how I can make a difference. As an undergraduate at Harvard, I was involved with the Palestine Solidarity Committee during my senior year and during my time at Cambridge, I worked with the Palestine Society. At UCLA, I am involved with the Students for Justice in Palestine.

Since I am almost 24, I have decided that I need to step up my reading-for-pleasure game. When I started college, I was either going to concentrate in Philosophy or Mathematics which meant I had the chance to do a lot of non-math reading. I am pretty choosy though about what I read. I can be captured by fantasy/scifi, biographies, poems, and short stories but I also enjoy reading technical textbooks, research papers from any field, and blogs. Right now, I’m reading Man Made Language by Dale Spender and next on my list is Women, Race, & Class by Angela Davis.

I guess ultimately I hope for this blog to be a public journal where I can just…write.