What is “Sumoud”

The Arabic word “Sumoud” (الصمود) is rich with meaning. In technical contexts, it is used to describe a sort of material resilience—an ability to withstand abuse and harsh conditions. You could translate it as “proof-ness”, as in “water-proof” or “bomb-proof”. The word is used much more often, however, in political contexts, particularly in reference to the plight and the struggle of Palestinians, and it describes a sort of collective cultural resilience and an ability—indeed, a strategy—to withstand and resist the abuses and horrific conditions that have been visited upon the Palestinians by Israeli aggression since 1948. It is not a war, holy or otherwise. It is not a campaign, be it military or political. It is a constellation of daily acts of civil resistance, most of them focused simply on remaining on the land, refusing to be ethnically cleansed from homes, farms and lands that Palestinians and their families have lived in for millennia.

Last modified on April 9, 2010

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