The Rhetorical Failure of Visualizing Palestine’s “Uprooted: Olive Harvest” Online Infographic and The Seventieth Anniversary of the Nakba as a Site of Resistance and Remembrance
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This two-part thesis explores Palestinians and public memory through two unique types of rhetorical texts: discrete and diffuse. The first section of this thesis undertakes an analysis of the one-page infographic titled, “Uprooted: Olive Harvest,” that appears on the website Visualizing Palestine. Drawing on the literature of public memory and visual rhetoric, the essay argues that “Uprooted: Olive Harvest” functions rhetorically to decontextualize the realities of Palestinian genocide, thereby, undermining Palestinian efforts at preserving their self-determination. The failure of the infographic “Uprooted” to promote an effective pro-Palestinian message is a consequence of its interlocking deployment of visual objectivity, spatial neutrality, and dissonance with the larger Palestinian narrative. A concluding section of the essay reflects on the implications of this rhetorical failure and its political shortcomings. In the second part of this thesis, I explore the 2018 day of the Nakba. In examining the 2018 protest, I contend that the seventieth anniversary of the day of the Nakba reimagines the future of the fight for Palestinian freedom. This rhetorically powerful moment exemplifies itself through three interlocking mechanisms: remembering the shared trauma that Palestinians have been experiencing since 1948, creating a collective identity to resist oppression, and accepting the responsibility to continue commemorating the day of the Nakba until Palestinians can return back home. Through these three modes of embodied resistance, the Palestinian struggle both revised the public memory of the Nakba to showcase how Palestinians are now the only arbiters of their lives and how they commemorate and memorialize a historical moment through their embodied activism to create new futures.