Among the many political discussions on campus was the USC Students for the Justice of Palestine’s event “Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine” Wednesday evening. The event featured Remi Kanazi, a Palestinian-American activist and author who speaks and writes about Israeli-Palestinian relations and some of the issues taking place in the region.
The event began with an introduction from Yuonf Irshaad and Aliza Khan, co-presidents of the Students for the Justice of Palestine.
The first part of the event was a brief discussion on American politics and the current state of affairs, given the election victory from President-elect Donald Trump. When asked about how not to feel discouraged and how to continue to make positive social change despite the political outcomes that may take place in the future, Kanazi emphasized the importance of the various social justice groups coming together and working toward a common goal.
“Things are more intersectional than ever before. We must double our efforts and come together as a community,” he said.
Kanazi discussed the importance of making change on a grassroots level.
“Local politics matter, local fights matter,” Kanazi said. “There is power in local fronts.”
Despite what happens, Kanazi said he has hope for this generation and what can be achieved in the next couple of years.
“As bad as things are, I’m looking forward to the future,” Kanazi said. “I’m excited to see what the younger folk will do for the future.”
Following the discussion, he recited some of his poetry from his book Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine. The poems covered a variety of topics, ranging from the Israeli-American relations and how that affects Palestine, to other major social issues taking place around the world.
The first poem was called “Nothing to Worry About” and discussed his views on how many people turn a blind eye on major racial and social justice issues in the United States and across the world, such as racist drug laws and unfair prison systems.
“You put on your noise-canceling headphones to block out the sounds of the ambulances,” he said, a line from the poem.
The poems that followed discussed U.S.-Israeli relations, his beliefs on the power of divestment, and Palestinian-Israel Normalization programs that took place in the ’90s. He closed with a collection of poems that focused on the the use of social media and activism. Kanazi said that though using social media to make progress is important, it is just the beginning and actual work should be put in to make progress.
“Twitter never has been and never will be the start of a revolution. Activism has to extend beyond 140 characters,” he said, reciting from his poem, “Dear Twitter Revolutionary: You Are Not That Badass.”
One of the ways he urged students to make this change is by joining on-campus social justice groups and movements.
“You don’t want to write a status to get likes; you need to make actual change. Whatever issue drives you really does matter,” Kanazi said. “We will never get to a perfect world, but we can at least get to a better place.”