Mourning in the Concrete Tent
Hosted by: DAAR – Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti –
Sharjah Architecture Triennial
Originally built in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem Palestine in 2015, the Concrete Tent in Al Madam Ghost Town is a space for collective mourning and solidarity with Palestine. While the tent is the basic element for the construction of refugee camps, it is also used for gatherings during funerals and protests. It is the material manifestation of the temporary status of refugees in the camps yet also symbolizes their right to return to their homes.
DAAR will welcome people at the concrete tent for three days. Participants are invited to share their experiences, emotions, and stories if they wish or remain silent.
Venue: Al Madam, Sharjah, UAE
Time: 11 and 12 November, 16:00 – 19:00
13 November, 17:30 – 19:30
T:+ 971 6 5262201
For the past five weeks, Israeli airstrikes have murdered over 11,000 Palestinians, nearly half of them children, by targeting homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, universities, and other critical infrastructure. Many more are gravely injured or buried under the rubble. In addition, Israel’s siege has cut off supplies of fuel, food, water, and electricity, leading to death and illness from starvation and dehydration, and heavily impeding the ability to provide urgent medical care to infants, the sick, and the wounded. More than half of Gaza City’s housing units are destroyed, and over 1.5 million people are displaced. Such deliberate acts are considered both genocide–deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the destruction of a group in whole or in part, and urbicide–deliberate destruction of built environments. The United Nations (UN) Secretary General has joined millions of protesters around the world in repeatedly calling for a ceasefire. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza has condemned ethnic cleansing and called for immediate ceasefire to prevent genocide in Gaza. In this intensification of the continued Israeli settler colonial campaign against Palestinians, in Jerusalem and the West Bank armed settlers and the Israeli army have accelerated all forms of colonial violence.
The disciplines of architecture, planning, and historic preservation have been historically complicit in regimes of violence and oppression. It’s vital to take a clear ethical stance against the destruction of lives and built environments. We stand in opposition to colonialism, militarism, apartheid, racism, white supremacy, and genocide in Palestine and around the world. We recall the historical role of educational and cultural institutions in anti-war, anti-apartheid, anti-imperial, and anti-genocide movements, and refuse the current institutional silence as Israel continues to commit crimes against humanity. We refuse the false conflation of criticism of Israel’s crimes with anti-Semitism. We continue to stand in solidarity with Palestinians, as expressed in this commitment from 2021. We are aware that Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza implicates other states and organizations. Israel is not acting alone, and those remaining silent are complicit in the violence. We stand firmly in opposition to the silencing, bullying, and punishing of those speaking up for justice in Palestine and against Israel’s crimes, as well as the attacks against academic freedom on university campuses and in cultural institutions. Therefore, we:
1. Call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, ending the siege and allowing all humanitarian aid and press crews to enter Gaza, as well as for the return of Gazans to their homes and the prevention of an Israeli land grab;
2. Publicly condemn violations of academic freedom and freedom of speech within institutions, and commit to holding accountable those silencing and threatening students, staff, or faculty who speak up against Israeli state violence and the ongoing genocide and urbicide in Gaza;
3. Support student, faculty, and staff calls, letters, and educational programs for justice in Palestine and oppose retaliation, doxing, bullying, surveillance, misinformation, and the false conflation of criticism of Israel’s state violence with anti-Semitism. This includes safeguarding international students and workers from having their visas revoked, and protecting workers who speak out for justice in Palestine from any form of discrimination and harassment in the workplace; implementing procedures for addressing Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian racism and attacks on anti-war and anti-imperial faculty, students, staff, and publics including historically targeted Asian, Black, Indigenous, Jewish, Muslim, and LGBTQ communities.
Authored by Architects and Planners Against Apartheid on November 14, 2023.
This call is open for endorsements until November 20, 2023.