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Event explores Palestinian power dynamics

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The Intersectionality House brought their event “Resisting Creatively: A Gathering of Palestinian Poetry and Voice” to the St. Olaf community on Monday, Oct. 29. Located in the Crossroads of Buntrock Commons, the event featured a collection of artistic pieces including literature, poetry and music discussing power in Palestine.

Or Pansky ’20, who organized the event with Karim Khalid ’20, said that the purpose of “Resisting Creatively” was to “have a safe space that centers Palestine as one point in a shared struggle.”

“Having that focus and using forms – creative forms, such as literature, poetry, music – to criticize power as we see it around the world and also as we see it shaping our life and way of thought,” Pansky said.

Eleven students presented their creative pieces in the form of prayers, poems, spoken word and song. The lineup was a mixture of student and professionally created work, each focusing on the power dynamics found in Palestine and around the world.

“Our vision is to create spaces for students in order to create knowledge and express themselves and share ideas in a welcoming and safe space,” Khalid said. “What we saw that day in Buntrock, at least how we saw it and many other people saw it, it was a space for higher impact learning that was created by students for students and for the general St. Olaf community. We are very proud of that.”

“Resisting Creatively” is part of a series of events discussing power within different structures. This power affects everyone but is seldom discussed. Khalid and Pansky hope to bring that discussion to St. Olaf. Future events have not yet been planned but will potentially include more open discussions and a book club. The goal is to start conversation.

“We wanted to just open up a space that would enable people to speak their minds on something that is really not spoken about here,” Pansky said. “Palestine, as we know it, is not really being taught on this campus and not really being spoken of in everyday discourse surrounding the average Ole here. There are people that are affected by what is happening there and people that have things to say about that and we just hope to open that space. I think both of us are really, really happy with the amount of people that decided to come and the amount of people that stopped by to listen.”

Students gathered to hear the event’s message in the Crossroads, but they also watched from the stairs, in the Cage seating and while waiting to get a meal in the Stav Hall. Khalid estimates around 160 people heard at least part of the discussion.