Qi2018 Theme


The notion of ‘solidarity’ has been synchronic with the history of the Palestinian

struggle against successive colonial structures and regimes, although not always in

perfect tandem with it. The ethos and practices of ‘solidarity’ have been through a

plethora of delineations, spanning local particularities and/or global networks and



The spectrum of the contradictory practices of ‘solidarity’ has ranged

from being closely affiliated at certain times to extreme religious ideals and

idioms, towards more global socialist manifestoes during specific epochs, while

also being unremittingly hinged upon Pan-Arab idealism. These were not,

however, the only practices of ‘solidarity’ in Palestine. Historically, other forms

have fluctuated and come and gone, based on either ideologies, cultural and

humanitarian idioms, or social and tribal rapports, etc.

In Palestine, the term ‘solidarity’ has been, and still is, a buzzword in the struggle

for liberation from consecutive colonial administrations. Its forms and ideological

stances have morphed over time and geography, rising and sinking with the tides

of change in the form of the struggle for freedom. Now, it is social issues that are

coming to the fore in a moment of external and internal political and societal

struggles. Forced deterioration has led us to a moment of ambiguity, where

uncertainty becomes the standard, and where managing, and mismanaging, the

decline of the State is a recognised lifestyle. Overlapping hegemonies of religion

and neoliberal culture are redefining the collective social and political stance, and

the transmutation of individual and societal ethics, whereby acceptance becomes

one of the most dismaying political consequences of capitalism. ‘The Social

Question’ becomes a disputation of the term ‘solidarity’, in order to contemplate

possibilities of departure out of this stagnant state.

The notion of the shared thoughts, values and objectives that bind us is stirred to

re-energise and re-investigate meanings of solidarity and collectivism – values that

have allowed Palestinian society to resist and stay alive for decades. While keeping

the ‘Social Question’ as a beacon, solidarity can be considered and looked at

through different lenses.

Qalandiya International invited partners and collaborators to probe ‘The Social

Question’ by means of discursive engagement with the term ‘Solidarity’ –

pertaining to opening up for global experiences, yet forging local experimentations

and contemporary definitions. Ideas of mutuality, the conventional things that

connect us all, are questioned in order to reactivate this space of solidarity and the

collective spirit that has, for decades, allowed the Palestinian community to resist

and survive. Solidarity can be seen through a series of lenses that are all

constructed initially with a common ground, The Social Question, which may help

with some answers to the question: who do we want to be as a society?