Tareq Baconi

Tareq Baconi lives in London. He is writing a book about queer love in Amman.

Cambridge Did This: Queer Borders

Tareq Baconi, 4 November 2021

Joseph Massad’s scholarship has been used selectively to empower both anti-imperialists and conservatives in their shared conviction that homosexuality, as framed in the universalising language of LGBTQ+ rights, has no place in the Arab world. Gay people have often felt caught between these two camps, between competing forms of identity. Each time I return to Amman I am struck by the confidence with which younger members of Jordan’s queer community assert themselves, and the fearlessness – or innocence? – of their drive for visibility. Many have developed a sophisticated understanding of their place in the world and of the alleged Western-Arab divide, openly espousing LGBTQ+ discourse without abandoning their commitment to the region. Others reject gay codes and lifestyles even as they pursue same-sex relations, defining themselves, for instance, as mithli (‘same’), to describe their gayness without falling prey to universalising language. The purity Massad evokes, if it ever existed, is long since lost.

From The Blog
14 May 2021

However the current situation ends, two lessons have emerged. First, the quiescence of the Palestinian people – accused, often most forcefully from within their own communities, of apathy and indifference – never amounted to acceptance of defeat. They have shown that Israel cannot persist in its policies without paying a price. Second, regardless of whether a broader movement emerges out of the current moment, the collective eruption across historical Palestine shows that the Palestinians remain a people, despite the false hope of partition, the all-too-real separation of their territories, and the deep fragmentation of their political and social life. They may argue about Hamas’s armed resistance or peaceful protest in Sheikh Jarrah. But tactical disagreements ought not to obscure their clear understanding that they are fighting for their freedom against a single regime of domination.

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