Christopher Brown

When is it the Palestinians' turn?

The four of us sat in the tight confines of a shop nestled in the curving alleyways of Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp established to house those whose families fled historical Palestine in 1948. Twenty-five years ago this then little-known camp — along with a nearby area called Sabra — was also the site of a bloody massacre that left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead at the hands of Phalangist militias backed by the Israeli army. EI contributor Christopher Brown writes from the Shatila refugee camp. 

A rare voice: An interview with author Ilan Pappe

“The ideology that Avigdor Lieberman subscribes to that is an ethnic cleansing ideology. Someone who believes that the only way to solving the problems in Israel/Palestine is by expelling the Palestinians from Israel and any territory Israel covets. I think the problem with Avigdor Lieberman is not his own views but the fact that he reflects what most Israeli Jews think, and definitely what most of his colleagues in the Olmert government think but don’t dare to say, or don’t think is desirable to say for tactical reasons. But I do think that we should be worried about Lieberman, not as an extreme fascist but rather as a person who represents the mood of Israel in 2006.” 

"One Country": An Interview with Ali Abunimah

“Let’s assume that what the Israelis are saying is true and that they are imposing this siege because of the capture of the Israeli soldier. If that is true then they are admitting to the most serious war crimes that can be committed under international law because the Geneva Convention makes it very clear that it is a serious crime to punish a civilian population for political reasons. Here Israel says they are punishing the civilian population in order to secure the release of a prisoner of war. I think that, if nothing else should alert people to the true nature of this regime.” 

Interview: Yehuda Shaul of Breaking the Silence

Standing at 6’1, with strong build, a full beard, and long dark hair, Yehuda Shaul seems like an unassuming young man. Wearing dark cargo pants, and a long-sleeved blue shirt, he paces back and forth taking in the whole room. It’s hard to notice at first but his blue velvet kippa (skull cap) rests easily on his head. His voice is mellow and calm. He has a disarming smile that lights up his entire face when he’s happy and talking about the things he loves (one of which is football). But behind the smiles and the passion for the world’s most popular sport is a young man who has seen and done things no young person should ever have to endure. 

"The world just sat by": Interview with Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail is an award-winning, independent journalist who reported live from Baghdad for eight months in 2003. He is considered one of the best sources on the war in Iraq. Recently, he returned to to the Middle East, traveling to Syria. While in Damascus, the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah began. Jamail left immediately for Beirut and sent daily dispatches from his Iraq-dispatches website. Christopher Brown received the chance to speak to Jamail about what he saw during this 34-day conflict in the Middle East. 

A Race Against Time: An interview with Sam Bahour

“During the last six months specifically, the Israelis basically in my opinion have been spinning out of control. They have unleashed, literally daily attacks on Palestinians. Unfortunately, the world only sees every once in a while what’s happening there, when there is a camera taking a picture such as the incident when the whole family of civilians was killed on the beach. For the last six years, there’s been a non-stop onslaught in terms of not only killing Palestinians, but also raids into Palestinian cities where they’re actually arresting people on a nightly basis.” Christopher Brown talks to Sam Bahour in Palestine. 

30 years and the denials keep going

“My goodness, Israel - you certainly have learned your lesson well from the old apartheid South African government. Today marks 30 years since that infamous day in the township of Soweto when hundreds of thousands of students protested Bantu Education. The police waited for the marchers near a dusty intersection and unleashed hell on innocent children. Official reports claimed that 700 children died over the course of the year that the student uprisings occurred; more than likely, these were conservative estimates. Regardless of the numbers, a massacre occurred and the world barely took notice.” Christopher Brown draws some disturbing parallels. 

The case against torture: A personal account

“While I lived in Palestine for three years, I had many conversations with both Israelis and Palestinians about the issue of torture. The conversations always varied and they never became dull. I heard from many Palestinians who had been tortured. I also heard from some Israelis and Palestinians who felt that certain forms of torture are useful. But every time I got into one of these conversations, I would think back to a certain time in my life that deeply affected my view on the subject.” Christopher Brown ponders Israel’s torture of Palestinians out of his own torture experiences at the hands of the apartheid government of South Africa. 

Interview with Suheir Hammad

I think that poetry tries to make a connection between the absences and the losses that I feel in my person, and make the connection to the body feeling detached or feeling displaced, and the reality of land and shelter and the idea of the continuity of citizenship and the idea of ancestry. I think reclaiming is an ambitious agenda - if you’re beginning to write a poem, will you actually be reclaiming the rights to a land or a nation and other rights to citizenship? So I think the work succeeds more when it’s about illuminating this detachment. 

Interview with Prof. Norman Finkelstein

Well, I think, to begin with, I don’t think that anyone believes that American coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict is evenhanded. I don’t even think that journalists and editors who are responsible for that coverage believe it. The coverage in the American media of the Israel/Palestine conflict is, frankly, useless. I don’t read it at all, I’ll be perfectly honest, I stopped reading it. I don’t read the editorials, I don’t read the op-eds, and I don’t read the news columns. You learn absolutely nothing from it.