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Members of Aswat - the fledgling organization of Palestinian lesbians - will be traveling throughout the US and Canada to speak to audiences about their experiences as Palestinians and as gay women living in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel. Aswat is the first organization of its kind, bringing voice to a population that is all but invisible in Palestine. Aswat is available for speaking engagements in the United States during the month of October!

Aswat describes itself: We are women, we are Palestinian and we are Gay. Aswat (voices) is a courageous and dynamic group of women who have decided to organize to challenge the status quo and to improve our own lives, and to hopefully secure equal rights for ourselves and for those who come after us.

To bring these voices to your community, please call Emmaia at (917) 517-3627. Aswat is asking only that their plane fare be covered, and would welcome any fundraising that communities can pull together.

Rauda Morcos, Aswat's founder and an accomplished writer of fiction and poetry, is available to lecture, speak on panels, do readings of her work, or present in other capacities. Aswat's tour so far has been hosted in feminist, LGBT, Palestinian/anti-occupation and people-of-color venues, as well as universities and literary spaces. Aswat members are also available for media interviews etc.


Aside from being incredibly fierce queers, the Aswat women are also critical to resisting the Occupation. Their very existence debunks some of the spin that paints Palestinian society as backward, monolithic and under religious lock-down. It fights back against the attempt to shut down civil society and movements inside Palestine. And it declaws the wrong-but-often-repeated trope that "benevolent, democratic Israel is the only place where Palestinian queers and women can 'live freely.'" Especially in our efforts to break through the U.S. left's blind spot on Israel/Palestine issues, Aswat's visit here is really important.

Aswat is also critical for the Palestinian future. Like the recent local, grassroots non-violent organizing efforts against the Wall, Aswat is part of the progressive force within Palestinian society that needs support NOW, not later "when the occupation ends." In the anti-Occupation movement, lots of us struggle with the elements of Palestinian society that are repressive or politically corrupt; we seek out ways to support Palestinian resistance that uses progressive, egalitarian means. Aswat is just such a group -- a ground-level, Palestinian-led, women-led force for justice on all fronts.