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Enemy of “Sun’s Enemy” George Jackson Comes to Birzeit University

November 5, 2015
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Public Relations Office - Birzeit University

The Department of Social and Behavioral Science launched on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 the “George Jackson in Palestine’s Sun" exhibition, by Professor of Literature Craig Thomas from Tufts University in the U.S., who also delivered a presentation on the idea behind the exhibition and the story of Jackson and his relationship with Palestine.

The exhibition included a collection of paintings, drawings, handwritten letters, covers of the Black Panther Party’s newspapers, and morals, which embody the life and political activities of the African-American left-wing activist Jackson from inside prison.

Thomas gave an overview of the life of Jackson, who was born in the city of Chicago in 1941 and received a life sentence for stealing a small amount of money. During his time in prison, he led an intellectual struggle demanding Black peoples’ rights in the U.S. Ultimately, Jackson became the Black Panther field officer in prison.

The Black Panthers were a revolutionary Black nationalist organization established following the assassination of Malcolm X and the resulting tensions, which resulted in more than 300 deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police.

“After Jackson became a martyr, which is a term adopted by the Black Panthers in honor of Palestinian martyrs, poetry on the Palestinian resistance was found in his cell,” Thomas explained. One of the collections found from “Enemy of the Sun,” written by Samih al-Qasim; Jackson had copied the poem on a white piece of paper to share with his friends.

The Black Panther Party shared the classical Palestinian poem in the party’s newspaper, under the assumption it was written by Jackson himself.

“That was a magical mistake that expressed the depth of solidarity and closeness, because the similarity in voice and situation is unimaginable,” said Thomas.

“Palestinian resistance poetry occupied a large space in the lives of black people across the ocean and it is all because of George Jackson, the eternal enemy of the sun’s enemy,” he noted.

The prison authorities confiscated the poetry of Palestinian resistance found in his cell along with more than 99 books that belonged to him and his friends.

Anthropologist Alaa al-Azzeh also spoke, saying that the significance of the exhibition is manifested in the need to introduce Palestinian students to other peoples’ experiences in resisting colonialism, oppression, and injustice.

It is also important to expand students' knowledge of the national and international dimensions of resistance in the world, introduce them to international experiences and tie these experiences with the Palestinian experience, he explained. 

George Jackson was a revolutionary Black prisoner and member of the Blank Panther Party. He was shot dead by prison guards in the San Quentin State Prison in the state of California on August 21, 1971.

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