On 22nd May 2018 Wellington Palestine, in partnership with the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network and VicBooks, hosted the visit to Wellington of Dr. Ramzy Baroud: Palestinian journalist, media consultant, author and editor of the Palestine Chronicle. Ramzy’s visit was part of a world tour to promote the publication of his new book, The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story, and to discuss contemporary issues for the Palestine solidarity movement.
Morning meeting with the Green Party
In the morning of the visit Ramzy and a delegation from Wellington Palestine had a meeting with Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and longstanding Green MP Gareth Hughes. Ramzy discussed the key idea behind his tour, telling the human stories of Palestinians which are too often not heard. In turn, Marama Davidson shared the enduring impact her participation in the Women’s Boat to Gaza had upon her. Lastly, the group discussed what the Green Party, and the New Zealand government, can best do to support human rights, peace and justice for all in Palestine and Israel. Ramzy said he had met many politicians who told him they are quietly sympathetic with the Palestinian struggle for peace and justice, but very few with the courage to take a moral position. It was great to meet with MPs who have the conviction and principle to affirm the right of Palestinians, like all peoples, to live in dignity.
Lunch time talk and book signing in VicBooks, Kelburn campus
At lunch-time Ramzy gave a short talk about the book to around thirty students in VicBooks on Kelburn Campus. Asked a question about the role of students in the Palestine solidarity movement Ramzy warmly welcomed student support and encouraged Vic students to get involved and to campaign for the rights of Palestinian people.
The evening event at St. Andrews on the Terrace
In the evening, at St Andrews on the Terrace, Ramzy gave a longer talk to a rapt audience of over 150 Wellingtonians who braved a thunderstorm to hear him. Ramzy touched on the history of Al Nakba (the catastrophic expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians by Zionist forces in 1948) and its continuation today in occupied Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. He discussed the relationship between occupation and colonisation and the role of the US government in using its power of veto to prevent the United Nations from holding Israel to account. Ramzy also articulated his vision of a single, secular democratic state where Jewish and Palestinian people could peacefully coexist, a vision that he compared with post-apartheid South Africa. This was an inspiring tour-de-force of the Palestinian struggle full of penetrating analyses and peppered with compelling human stories illustrating the resilience of ordinary Palestinian people. We wish Ramzy well for the remainder of his tour. His presence and his talks serve as a powerful call to action for those of us committed to the struggle for justice, peace and freedom in Palestine.
Wellington Palestine wish to thank VicBooks, Peace Action Wellington, St Andrews on the Terrace, Robert Reid (President of First Union and chair of the evening event) and Roger Fowler of the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network: all of whom helped to make Ramzy’s day in Wellington a stunning success.
About the book
Spanning decades and encompassing war, mass exodus, epic migrations and the search for individual and collective identity, The Last Earth tells the story of modern Palestine through the memories of those who have lived it. Ramzy said that he wrote The Last Earth “to relocate the centrality of the Palestinian narrative from an Israeli perspective to a Palestinian one, especially one that overlooks the typical elitist narrative and focuses instead on retelling the story from the viewpoint of ordinary, poor, underclass and working-class Palestinians.”
‘A masterpiece of history and a masterful feat of writing’ – Counterpunch
‘In the finest tradition of people’s history, these sensitive, painful and evocative pieces provide a human face to the painful saga of Palestinian torment and the remarkable courage and resilience of the victims’ – Noam Chomsky
‘Gives us the privilege of listening to, savouring and indeed cherishing the rarely heard Palestinian stories saturated with the fears, joys, suffering, and triumphs of the human spirit … must be read and shared’ – Mondoweiss
‘A Palestinian triumph of the pen over the sword’ – Truthout
About the author
Born in Gaza and raised in Al Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a US-Arab journalist, media consultant, author and editor of the Palestine Chronicle. He is a non-resident scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto, 2009), and The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto, 2018), among others books. He has a PhD in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter.