A campaign was launched earlier this year, at the time of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, to promote the concept of taking pride in Palestinian resistance, and to focus on Palestinian rights not victimhood. Called the Never Before Campaign, it is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has produced a series of videos to convey its message. Global Voices Online has interviewed the Never Before Campaign to find out more.
How did the Never Before Campaign start? Who is involved?
The Never Before Campaign is really a group of individuals from various backgrounds (media, business, sociology experts, civil society activists) in Lebanon who came together for a number of causes, locally in Lebanon and the Arab world in general. We haven’t disclosed our names because we prefer that focus remains on the campaign itself as well as on the causes we support. We have seen so many good movements turning bad after becoming personified…
The idea for the Never Before Campaign had been brewing for some time when the war on Gaza started last December. It was then we realized that we should launch the campaign. The term Never Before came about after lengthy discussions (prior to the Gaza war) over whether it would be better to draw parallelism between the Palestinian cause and the South Africa struggle, or with other past causes around the world. The conclusion was: It is true that severe injustice has befallen peoples around the world throughout history, but never before was it over such a long period of time, and so blatant and so cruel and met with such indifference. At the same time, never before has a people resisted and struggled for so long, with the odds being against them and faced so many betrayals. Finally, support for the Palestinian people against the injustice they face, is becoming stronger as never before.
What makes the campaign different to other campaigns in support of Palestinian rights?
We do not claim that our campaign is drastically different. Advocating the Palestinian cause has been going on since the 1948 if not even before that. We are part of this movement. What we noticed is that campaigning for Palestine in the more than a decade or so, particularly in the West, has been confined to garnering sympathy on a humanitarian basis. We believe that what is needed is respect for the Palestinian people rather than empathy or a guilt driven sentiment. Our view is that justice shall prevail in Palestine, our duty is to make this come sooner, and that we are inviting every decent human being to be part of this day when it comes.
Does the campaign focus on producing videos, or are there other ways in which you aim to get your message across?
We are all working people, with no resources allocated for the campaign. So, we are sticking with the videos for now. Many people have already joined us physically and virtually, so we hope to start expanding our activities as soon as it is feasible.