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      Naji Al-Ali, Edward Said and Civil Liberation Theology in Palestine: Contextual, Indigenous and Decolonising Methodologies

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      Holy Land Studies
      Edinburgh University Press

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          Abstract

          This article coins a new expression: ‘civil liberation theology’ in Palestine. Astonishingly while feminist, black and post-colonial theologies of liberation have flourished in the West, there is little discussion of indigenous and decolonising perspectives or civil and secular-humanist reflections on liberation theology. Inspired by the works of Palestinian visual artist Naji Al-Ali and public intellectual Edward Said, the article brings into the debate on theologies of liberation in Palestine-Israel a neglected subject: an egalitarian, none-denominational theology rooted in decolonising methodologies. This civil liberation theology attempts to address the questions: how can exile be overcome? How can history be transcended and decolonised? And how can indigenous memory be reclaimed? The article brings into focus indigenous, humanist and non-religious ways of thinking on which Edward Said and Naji Al-Ali (in his famous figurative character Handhala) insisted. This civil liberation theology also draws on contrapuntal methodologies and critical indigenous and non-denominational theologies in ‘historic Palestine’ – progressive, creative and liberative theologies which occupy multiple sites of liberation and can be made relevant not only to people of faith (Muslims, Jews, Christians) but also to secular-humanists.

          Most cited references74

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          Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness

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            Orientalism

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              Remembering the Palestinian Nakba: Commemoration, Oral History and Narratives of Memory

              This year Palestinians commemorate the 60 th anniversary of the Nakba – the most traumatic catastrophe that ever befell them. The rupture of 1948 and the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Nakba are central to both the Palestinian society of today and Palestinian social history and collective identity. This article explores ways of remembering and commemorating the Nakba. It deals with the issue within the context of Palestinian oral history, ‘social history from below’, narratives of memory and the formation of collective identity. With the history, rights and needs of the Palestinian refugees being excluded from recent Middle East peacemaking efforts and with the failure of both the Israeli state and the international community to acknowledge the Nakba, ‘1948’ as an ‘ethnic cleansing’ continues to underpin the Palestine-Israel conflict. This article argues that to write more truthfully about the Nakba is not just to practice a professional historiography; it is also a moral imperative of acknowledgement and redemption. The struggles of the refugees to publicise the truth about the Nakba is a vital way of protecting the refugees’ rights and keeping the hope for peace with justice alive.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Holy Land Studies
                Holy Land Studies
                Edinburgh University Press
                1474-9475
                1750-0125
                November 2012
                November 2012
                : 11
                : 2
                : 109-134
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Professor of Religion and Politics and Director of the Centre for Religion and History and Holy Land Research Project School of Theology, Philosophy and History St. Mary's University College Waldegrave Road Strawberry Hill Twickenham TW1 4SX, UK Tel.: 0208 240 4193
                Article
                10.3366/hls.2012.0041
                9268aa95-477c-4294-bda2-55e70625b7f3
                © 2012

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