Gaza and the Price of Speaking the Truth: A Conversation with Shahd Abusalama

Mustapha MuhammedPalestine, U.K. policy

In the latest episode of PalCast, ‘Gaza and the Price of Speaking the Truth’, available on Apple & Spotify, hosts Yousef Aljamal and Tony Groves engaged in a poignant dialogue with Palestinian academic Shahd Abusalama. As a third-generation Palestinian refugee activist, artist and writer, Shahd brought a unique perspective to the conversation shaped by her personal experience and unwavering commitment to justice for Palestine.

Born in the Jabalia refugee camp in occupied Gaza, Shahd’s family history is one of displacement and loss.

She has tragically lost 40 family members during the ongoing genocide in Gaza, leaving her family scattered and displaced. Despite the profound pain and trauma she has endured, Shahd remains unwavering in her determination to rebuild and to fight against defamation, including in academic spaces.

During the episode, Shahd recounted her journey from Gaza to the UK, where she pursued higher education in media studies. Despite several Israeli military attacks on Gaza, she persevered and completed her MA at SOAS (London) before embarking on a PhD scholarship at SHU. Her academic pursuits were not without challenges, however, as she struggled with research under the controversial IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

The IHRA definition, which conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, led to Shahd’s repeated investigations at SHU. Although exonerated, she faced vilification and censorship, particularly after her appointment as a lecturer. The Jewish Chronicle’s derogatory claims about her exacerbated the situation, highlighting the ongoing efforts to silence Palestinian voices and suppress opposition to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

Shahd’s resilience and determination in the face of adversity is a powerful reminder of the price Palestinians pay for speaking the truth. Despite facing vilification and censorship, she continues to amplify Palestinian aspirations for freedom, justice, equality and return. Through her activism, art and writing, Shahd challenges misconceptions, celebrates Palestinian existence and advocates for the recognition of Palestinian rights.

As listeners tune in to this episode of PalCast, they are invited to reflect on the plight of Gaza and the resilience of its people. Shahd’s story is a poignant reminder of the importance of standing in solidarity with the Palestinians and calling for an immediate ceasefire. Let us keep Gaza in our thoughts and continue to speak out against injustice, amplifying the voices of those like Shahd who refuse to be silenced.