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Palestinians Berlin: History through Artistic Expression | Marney Sofia Poxon Kline | Freie Universität Berlin – JFK Institute for American Studies

Marney Sofia Poxon Kline. MA Module C – Making Global Neighborhoods: History Refugees and Ethnicity in U.S. &

European Urban History | Professor Sönke Kunkel

Freie Universität Berlin – JFK Institute for American Studies

Summer Term 2022 // Submitted November 2022

Palestinians in Berlin: History through Artistic Expression


Table of Contents

I. Introduction

IIa. Palestinians in Berlin, Germany as citizens, refugees & immigrants

IIb. German politics as they intersect with the Israel-Palestine Conflict

IIc. The dimensions of the “moral triangle”

IId. Palestinians in Berlin’s urban and cultural sphere

IIIa. Palestinian cultural expression in Berlin, Germany

IIIb. Steve Sabella’s work as a case-study for the power of art to tell subjective histories

IV. Conclusion

V. Appendix: Artwork by Steve Sabella (visuals)


"This paper explores the historical background of Berlin’s Palestinian community and its social and cultural context today. It examines how Palestinians shape their identities and historical narratives through art. It looks at how these acts of expression factor into public discourse about Palestinian identity and the Israel-Palestine conflict, especially given that asserting Palestinian ethnic identity is considered taboo by many given the highly politicized nature of the conflict and Germany’s historical relationship to Jewish people and Israel’s founding. This essay asks, “how is art used to express complex ethnic/national identities, and how do Palestinians use it to communicate their history and subjectivity?”

"In 2016, Sabella published a memoir titled The Parachute Paradox that inspired this research paper. Sabella works with the power of imagery to produce its own reality, a tool that can be used overcome what he terms the “colonization of the (Palestinian) imagination,” the phenomenon that he describes as the most psychologically debilitating aspect of Israeli Occupation"


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