The potential of going beyond the compromise

Less than two weeks ago, a team of Palestinian youth from around the world made a dent in the blogosphere with their latest contribution: an all-inclusive forum for the ever-expanding Palestinian narrative. It’s a promising endeavor that, frankly, blew me away by its sheer simplicity and its very tangible connection to the cause. The more time I spend on the site, the more I recognize its potential to rewrite history from the ground up.

Titled Beyond Compromise, the site pays homage to the root of the struggle. In the eyes of the site’s administrators, there is no room for compromise, collaboration, or the complicity that lies in between. Its mission is rigid—a consequence of being bold, straightforward, and fed up with the current state of affairs. But the rigidity is not suffocating or limiting. Rather, it’s a sign of the very principled devotion to the cause that many of today’s leaders lack.

And ultimately, I think that’s what draws me in. The site deals with politics but it is not a platform for politicking. It’s an outlet for news but only as it relates to the collective Palestinian narrative. It is sincere, honest, and to the point and it is much less theory than it is reality. Beyond Compromise has found its niche and that’s a blessing, you see, because it’s about time the Palestinian public had access to an organized collection of its documented past and present.

This isn’t intended to be a review of the site. Instead, I hope to point your attention to a few things that really stand out to me, things that I hope its readers will come to appreciate. First, its team. I’ve had the pleasure of working in some capacity with most of the blog’s volunteer staff of editors, producers, and columnists. Yes, they all carry professional titles but they aren’t undeserved. Adam Akkad, one of the blog’s co-founders, told me that each team member offers a unique set of skills. I can attest to that, having sought assistance from almost every one of them countless times over the year. Some are social media experts (yes, experts), others can spot a spelling error from a mile away, and one particular person is obsessed with format consistency. More importantly, every single one of them is a talented writer with a story to tell. Combine them together and you’ve got, in Adam’s words, “a well-oiled machine”.

Another point worth mentioning is that the blog is literally a global enterprise. Its founders are currently stationed in cities in Palestine, Kuwait, and the United States. Its contributors, which I’ll elaborate more on in a bit, literally come from everywhere else. In a way, Beyond Compromise covers the globe.

The blog’s contributors—permanent, short-term, or occasional—are also important because without them, the site could hardly be as self-sustaining as it hopes to be. There are so many stories left untold and one would be foolish to think he or she is capable of telling them all. This is what makes the contributors so crucial, and this is why Beyond Compromise’s smartest decision was to make the blog an open forum, a place to document our experiences going through Israeli jails, a platform to tell stories about our exiled parents. I’m sure the blog’s staff will agree with the assertion that without contributors, Beyond Compromise will be hard-pressed to identify and share the breadth of Palestine’s rich culture and history.

The other day, I was asked if Beyond Compromise’s success took a toll on my own blog. It was a foolish and dangerous question to ask. What should’ve been asked is: “How will Beyond Compromise enhance the work of bloggers worldwide, including your own work?” And when the next innovative blog goes live, the same general question should be asked. “How will these talented bloggers enhance our work and our effectiveness?”

The blogosphere is not a battleground. We already face the biggest obstacle yet: mainstream media. Jumana Al-Qawasmi recently wrote about the importance of empowering ourselves, owning our stories, and being vocal about them. She’s right. We need writers and the more the merrier. We need to saturate every reservoir of information with the history that textbook editors choose to modify or ignore entirely. That, in and of itself, is resistance that goes well beyond the idea of compromise.

I’m excited for this new site and I look forward to adding my own stories to its collection. I also look forward to seeing the fruits of our future collaborations.

The excitement of having so many dedicated bloggers working towards one common goal and doing what they love to do is so infectious that I hope we all catch the bug and emulate the innovation and dedication that Beyond Compromise’s founding members and contributors show. If you haven’t already done so, give their site a look. You’ll be glad you did.

Sami Kishawi

Follow Beyond Compromise on Twitter here and on Facebook here. Follow Sixteen Minutes to Palestine on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

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