Together for Change holds its first activity in Acre, Nablus, and Gaza

The youth group Together for Change, which operates across all of Palestine, has launched its first activity, “Your Coffee, Our Treat,” concurrently in Acre, Nablus, and Gaza, on  February 4, 2018.

Together for Change, which was spun off from the “Palestinian Youth: Together for Change” project – implemented by the Center for Development Studies at Birzeit University and the American Friends Service Committee - Quakers – is an independent Palestinian youth group which aims to bolster the national Palestinian identity among Palestinian youth.

The group, by strengthening the national identity, aspires to create a national consciousness that can face the fragmentation and division created by the occupation and combat its various social, political, and cultural effects. 

The first activity by the group was a coffee stand which served college students, introduced them to the group, and brought up issues related to the collective Palestinian memory.The group also handed out posters and brochures that introduced the group and highlighted some Palestinian villages which were destroyed, and their people driven out, in the cataclysm of 1948.

The 40-strong group, whose members come from all over Palestine, chose to start its first activity concurrently in the three cities as a further confirmation of the unity of Palestinian land, and the unity of history and geography despite the divided reality enforced by the occupation.

The group approaches collective Palestinian memory by evoking the memory and sentiment of the Palestinian refugee camp, which is a manifestation of the Zionist colonial state.

By addressing collective Palestinian memory, the group aims to establish a collective consciousness among youth wherever they are (in Gaza, the West Bank, or 1948-occupied Palestine) on the Palestinian memory and the encompassing national identity, to redefine the relationship between the occupier and the occupied, and to describe the colonial situation in Palestine. 

Focusing on collective memory also serves to evoke Palestinian memory and resist attempts to disrupt it; to build an understanding of Palestinian memory among high school and college youth; to increase their knowledge of issues related to the collective national Palestinian identity and memory in all of its facets; to reestablish the connection between the present and the past while bearing in mind that the 1948 Nakba is still ongoing, and bringing attention to the experiences of Palestinians wherever they are.

The group chose the name and the brand “We did not forget,” which includes activities such as the aforementioned Palestinian coffee stand; seminars, discussions, and conversations on the Palestinian identity; drawings on the walls of Palestine; and youth gatherings.

“Palestinian Youth: Together for Change,” which encompasses all of these activities, brings together a group of youth from different parts of Palestine to discuss ideas related to the collective national identity. It aims to challenge and overcome the fragmentation and division caused by the occupation by integrating participants in in-depth discussions on causes pertinent to the collective national identity on the cultural, political, and social levels. The project strives to provide new spaces for youth to develop common attitudes and visions and transform them into reality.