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Solidarity is a verb: the promise of Ilhan Omar

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Sophia Azeb: To bear witness, as June Jordan insists on doing, is no small task when the world-making and destroying machinations of such formidable global power plays are simultaneously obscured by the shadows such catastrophes cast over their victims. Bearing witness with the intention to forge the language through which catastrophe is made seeable and knowable is particularly and forcefully discouraged. June Jordan’s determination to bear witness is a testament to her commitment to an elective affinity emergent of “inveterate statelessness,” to borrow liberally from Fred Moten. Who June Jordan is as a witness – a Black woman, queer, feminist, Caribbean, American, essayist, journalist, poet, tirelessly courageous – is thus an essential aspect of her being and practice to recognize and hold aloft.

That I begin with a reflection on June Jordan, a Black woman, is not incidental. That I am a Palestinian, no poet but a theorist informed by the intellectual orientation and promise of the field of Black studies and the study of Black literature, is also not incidental. I am a student of Black liberation, I must foreground and cite the Black women who guide us in the commitment to action that the work of solidarity entails. The deliberate targeting of Ilhan Omar – and the curious silences that suffuse the discourses circling this event – demands that I too bear witness. More here.

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