Amid the ongoing Israeli occupation’s illegal practices and aggressions in occupied East Jerusalem and Gaza, social media activists and users continue to show solidarity with Palestinian people online and raise awareness of social media users worldwide on the Palestinian cause.
“This week has been a pivotal point for the Palestinian cause and Palestinians all around the world — there has never been this much solidarity and attention given to Palestinians,” Jouman Barakat, a social media activist and a recent graduate in media and communications, told The Jordan Times.
Barakat, among others, is translating the documentation of events taking place in Gaza and Palestine as well as sharing “discussion-inducing” videos in Arabic and English to reach a wider audience in the MENA region and the West.
“Translating content to multiple languages is essential — it reaches a wider audience and tears down barriers of class and ability,” said Barakat on the importance of translating Palestinian-related content on social media platforms.
Barakat also keeps contact with people on the ground in Gaza and translates the updates to English as well. A lot of users reached out and interacted with the information Barakat was sharing.
“I had many people react and reach out. Some have expressed that I have helped shift their perspective to be more humanitarian and more pro-Palestine,” Barakat said.
Ghena, a Jordanian student majoring in English literature, is also translating content on the Palestinian cause to English on Twitter. “This was an opportunity for me to utilise my English skills to make a difference to the Palestinian struggle no matter how minor it is,” Ghena, who preferred to go by her first name, told The Jordan Times.
“The Arab world is intimately familiar with the Palestinian struggle, but the rest of the world might have a language barrier to access information,” answered Ghena when asked about the reason behind the importance of translating the latest news related to the current situation in Palestine.
Ghena received a lot of feedback from non-Arab Twitter users. “One particular example that left an impression on me was Mike, a Canadian man, who wrote saying that after reading my publications he was able to see the Palestinian perspective on the issue. He added that he talked to several family members and friends who are all now on the ‘Palestinian side’,” said Ghena.
English was not the only language to which Palestine content was translated. Maryam Abdelhadi, a video blogger on Facebook, used her Spanish language education to support the Palestinian cause.
“I felt I could tell the Spanish speaking world the real story in their mother tongue,” Abdelhadi told The Jordan Times.
Abdelhadi called on all foreign-language speakers and learners to use their language skills to support the cause.
“The more people we reach, the more awareness we raise. We must never underestimate the power of social media; in fact its effect is far superior to that of TV channels,” she added.
Mia Abaza, a social media activist, is translating both English and Arabic content on Palestine to Russian.
“I believe that it is important for the Russian people to learn the truth,” Abaza told The Jordan Times. Abaza noted that while many people welcome her content, some object it and in one instance she had to face an angry person who used aggressive language in response to her writing.
Other social media activists translated content to French.
“With 260+ million people French speaker around the world, it is important to reach out and share the Palestinian perspective,” said one activist who preferred to remain anonymous.
The translation work is not an individual effort. People are forming teams and collaborating for the cause. Bashar Chaheen, from The Translators Movement on Twitter, shared how he started a team of 207 members along with his partner, Tima, to translate Palestinian-related content to 14 languages.
“A lot of users who have access to online content can’t speak any language other than their own, so we ought to deliver the truth to them,” Chaheen told The Jordan Times.
“I’ve personally received a lot of great feedback and was reached and contacted by global media, influencers and activists,” added Chaheen.