New Orleans

Olmert visit sparks Palestine movement at US university

On 13 October, Tulane University, an elite university in the southern United States, hosted former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a featured speaker. In response to his visit, a coalition of students, teachers, activists and community members — Muslims, Jews, Christians, Palestinians and their allies — rallied in opposition and protest inside and outside the event. Emily Ratner writes from New Orleans. 

The geography of dissent: New Orleans and Palestine

“I’m still in New Orleans. It’s so much like Palestine it’s eerie. It’s a different kind of devastation than right after the storm. Some of the worst wreckage has been cleaned up — there are no longer throngs of people camping out on the I-10 Causeway or waterlogged bodies lining the streets. Now it’s the emptiness that is most striking. Some parts of the city are like a ghost town.” Writing from New Orleans, EI contributor Lora Gordan finds parallels between the struggle for justice in New Orleans and that in Palestine. 

Searching for the truth under the rubble

The first time I met someone who was not from New Orleans who understood why I wanted to return after the city was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina was when I met Rim from Beirut. I was at a writer’s residency, offered to me in the aftermath of last year’s disaster, when I was discussing with one of the people who ran it my difficulty, both logistically and psychologically, in getting to the place. The logistical part was clear, but I did not understand why it was that I had a very difficult time leaving the city to come to that clean, safe place. “It makes no sense,” I remember saying. A woman nearby overheard us and said “It does to me.”