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Listen: Bristol Unpacked with Salma Najjar on experiencing the Gaza war as a Palestinian in the UK

Salma, a lawyer who spent her childhood in Gaza, shares the ‘dystopian’ experience of life under occupation and knowing your family are in a war zone, as well as discussing happier memories and pro-Palestinian activism in the UK.

Listen: Bristol Unpacked with Neil Maggs

Content warning: contains graphic descriptions of war and violence

Salma Najjar is a young trainee solicitor who spent her childhood up to age eight in Gaza, where decades of oppression and violence have been succeeded by a return to the horrors of all-out war.

In the latest episode of Bristol Unpacked, the last of the current run, Salma offers a devastating personal perspective on the war – which has taken the lives of some of her loved ones – and on the “dystopian” experience of living under occupation. She reflects on happier memories of the beauty of Gaza – its beaches, its food and its community – and on the pain and loss of being separated from home, and the desire to return one day.

Salma, who has now lived in Bristol for five years, also discusses her love for the city, the solidarity she has found, including from Jewish friends, and the value of activism in changing public opinions – and holding politicians’ feet to the fire.

With the International Court of Justice recently demanding measures to reduce the suffering inflicted on Palestinian civilians – and continuing to weigh a genocide case brought against Israel by South Africa – pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza is continuing to mount.

But under what conditions can such a deal take place? Do the court’s actions go far enough? And are there any grounds for longer-term optimism around an end to Israeli-Palestinian conflict and progress towards a two-state solution?

Join Salma and Neil Maggs for a sometimes harrowing but always thought-provoking finale to the winter season of Bristol Unpacked – and with elections on the horizon, be sure to stay tuned for the team’s next moves during the spring.

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