Moritz Haegi, B8 of Hope
I am an outsider. I am Swiss. I am privileged. Am I neutral? I am a researcher. Am I also an activist? I am writing my PhD on mobility and resource segregation in the occupied West Bank. I often ask myself how I can use my privilege to amplify the voices of the oppressed in Israel/Palestine.
Two years ago, I visited a Palestinian school in the H2 area of Hebron. The students and teachers spoke about the regular harassment they experienced at the military checkpoints on their way to school. What struck me most was not the harassment itself, but the arbitrariness with which it occurred. There was no reason for the chicanery – and that was precisely the reason for it.
Narratives can be willed, and peacebuilding offers a narrative of hope, reconciliation and justice. Cooperation, not oppression, is the best recipe for lasting peace. The history of my own country and that of the European Union are proof of this. I am convinced that Israel/Palestine will not have to endure the lengthy conflict we had to before coming to that realization.
In Switzerland, most of what people know about Israel/Palestine revolves around missiles and wars. I want to show them that these escalations are not unpredictable, but the result of structural oppression.
Sitting in my serene garden in Tel Aviv that night, the discrepancy felt so surreal. In my entire life, I faced fewer obstacles than a Palestinian in H2 faces in a day. From that day on, I decided to commit my time and energy to peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine. I have since worked with several peacebuilding NGOs. I also make socio-political rap music, through which I motivate people to educate themselves.
Moritz Haegi is a young professional and researcher, currently conducting his PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Basel. His research pertains to the role of civil society peacebuilding amid the intensifying dynamics of mobility and resource segregation in the occupied West Bank. Moritz regularly works with several Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding NGOs, and previously worked at the Swiss Foreign Ministry and the United Nations. He frequently contributes to the discourse on Israel/Palestine in articles and on podcasts. Moritz – or MzumO – is also a Swiss-German rapper and musician, motivating people to educate themselves through his socio-political lyrics.