‘Generation Oslo’ takes to the streets to chart a new path forward for Palestine

by Adam Horowitz at MondoWeiss on March 15, 2011

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A Palestinian protester addressing the crowd in Ramallah (Photo: Cal Perry via Twitter)

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have rallied across the occupied territories today calling for an end to the division between Fatah and Hamas and for a democratic, unified Palestinian leadership. As has been the case with the revolutions across the Arab world, today’s protests in Palestine are being lead by young people.

This leadership has been seen in every facet of the protest, including a hunger strike in Ramallah’s Manara Square that began with 10 young Palestinians. Ma’an reports “they said the movement has no leaders, but is led by the people. ‘We are tired of leaders deciding for us.'” The angry young men and women of Palestine are demanding to set a new Palestinian agenda and the leadership can’t help but take notice.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) has an interesting series up on their website highlighting some of the leaders and perspectives of this generation, who they dub “Generation Oslo,” as they came of age during the failed Oslo accords.

In one profile, March 15 protest organizer Fadi Quran explains where his activism comes from and what he wants to accomplish through today’s protests:

“I was in the seventh grade when it [the second intifada] began. Prior to that I was very interested in science and in physics, in doing physics research,” he said. But when the uprising came, childhood friends were wounded by Israeli gunfire; others were forced to emigrate to the US.

Quran followed his passion for science to Stanford, where last spring he completed a BS in Physics and a BA in International Relations. He then returned to Ramallah to pursue a master’s degree in Palestinian law at Birzeit University and work on an initiative to bring renewable energy to Palestine.

Back in Palestine, he also became active in encouraging urban Palestinians to support the “popular resistance” movements in outlying West Bank villages. With the momentum of the Egyptian uprising, his activism has consumed him.

He is inspired by the spirit of revolutions past: “We want democratic representation first and foremost and then move to nonviolently challenging the occupation in the same sense that Martin Luther King Challenged segregation in the south, and in the same sense that Gandhi challenged British colonialism in India.”

“We’re trying to move toward that goal. March 15th is seen not as an end in itself but the beginning of a new generation of struggle.”

Read all the “Generation Oslo” profiles here.

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