THE ART OF THE GAZA WAR

Memories of VietNam

Horrors were turned into works of art during the war in Vietnam ….

Here is a postage stamp issued

US plane shot down over North VietNam

US plane shot down over North VietNam

*

Parts of those planes shot down were hand crafted into beautiful rings which had the number of the plane shot down on the inside. There were given out as gifts to anti war activists in the US and Canada …. truly a badge of courage for the recipients.

*

NOW IN GAZA ….

*

“I like the idea of making something beautiful from these devices which kill us: I will take the vase home and regularly put roses in it,” said Khder Abu Nada, a 32-year-old whose cleaning business was destroyed during the war.

*

PHOTOS: How To Turn a Gaza War Into Art

By Naomi Zeveloff FOR

Hossam al-Dabbus makes art out of remnants from the Gaza war / Getty Images

As donors pledge billions to rebuild Gaza in the wake of Hamas’s war with Israel, one Gazan is engaged in another type of construction: turning remnants of the war into works of art.

Hossam al-Dabbus, a 33-year-old who works in Gaza’s honey industry, has collected shells, rockets and missiles from the war that killed around 2,2000 Gazans and more than 70 Israelis — and turned these objects into flower vases.

Dabbus, who lives in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp, first found his materials by combing through the Gaza wreckage. As orders poured in for his art, he asked Hamas police for more defunct projectiles from the war.

“When my children grow up I’ll be able to show them these and tell them — here are remains of the 2014 war that left over 2,000 people dead, and this is how I transformed an instrument of death into a vessel of life, making these bombs into flower vases,” Dabbus told Agence France-Presse.

His customers say they appreciate the symbolism of the artwork.

“I like the idea of making something beautiful from these devices which kill us: I will take the vase home and regularly put roses in it,” said Khder Abu Nada, a 32-year-old whose cleaning business was destroyed during the war.

In the middle of the 50-day war, Gazans were also making art by drawing images of war over photographs of bombed buildings.

“Everybody in Gaza is resisting in his own language,” Gaza artist Manal Abu Safar, 31, told the New York Times. “The Palestinian artist has his private language, through his brushes, through his lines.”

Getty Images

IMAGING APARTHEID IN GAZA

*

*

Pat Perry is an artist from Michigan. He currently lives and works itinerantly in the US.

This image was created for Imaging Apartheid, a Montreal-based initiative aimed at bringing awareness and support to the Palestinian struggle for liberation through the production and dissemination of poster art.

THE OAKLAND PALESTINE SOLIDARITY MURAL

unnamed (2)

*

Presented by Art Forces, the Estria Foundation and NorCal Friends of Sabeel, the Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural is a monumental work of public art located in Uptown Oakland on 26th Street between Telegraph and Broadway. The mural pays homage to the history of Bay Area public art and expresses solidarity with Palestinians as bombs continue to fall on Gaza.

The Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural adopts the image of the tree as a central motif and global visual signifier to link seemingly disparate issues and distant locations. Spanning 157 feet and reaching 22 feet high, the mural is comprised of nine separate panels, where each artist or team of artists has painted his or her own interpretation of a tree to address social and political issues.

These issues include the shared histories of colonization, environmental exploitation, internal exile of indigenous peoples, resilience and resistance to these injustices. The mural dedication will be held on August 10, 2014 from 1-4 pm and is free and open to the public. The dedication will include poetry, music, traditional Palestinian dance, local stiltwalkers from LocoBloco and an art exhibit From Gaza to Oakland.

This exhibition includes artwork from Gaza artists and photo journalists responding to the recent assault; historical photos of the expulsion of Palestinians from what is now called Israel; print portfolios from Middle East Children’s Alliance and work by muralists and friends of Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural.

This exhibition will open in conjunction with the mural unveiling on August 10th and will run through September 30, 2014.

The twelve participating artists come from a wide array of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures. They include Dina Matar, who is participating virtually (Gaza); IROT (Native American); VYAL (Chicano-Native American); Deadeyes (African American); Erin Yoshi (Japanese American); Susan Greene (Jewish American); Emory Douglas (African American); Nidal El Khairy (Palestinian); Chris Gazaleh (Palestinian American); SPIE (Asian American); Fred Alvarado (Latino American); Miguel Bounce Perez (Chicano-Pacific Islander American).

*

unnamed (3)

ART AS A WEAPON AGAINST OPPRESSION

First, from Wikipedia ….. Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as “a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science”. Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.

*

Second, Kudos to the City of Ottawa for the following …

*

(Right under Stephen zio Harper’s big lying nose)

harper_nose

*

Ottawa Won’t Shut Down Palestinian Art Show in Canada Capital City Hall

‘Invisible’ Focuses on Occupation — Jews Blast Incitement

*

COURTESY OF REHAB NAZZAL

By JTA Via

*

The City of Ottawa will not close an art exhibit denounced as a glorification of terror by Israel’s embassy and the local Jewish community.

“Invisible,” the creation of Toronto-based Palestinian artist Rehab Nazzal, focuses on “Palestine … and its military occupation by Israel,” according to a gallery brochure. The exhibit, which is scheduled to end June 22, has been on display at a gallery inside Ottawa City Hall since May 9.

Israel’s embassy in the Canadian capital said the exhibit “reflects a culture of hate and incitement that contradicts the values of Canada as a guardian of peace and champion against terror.”

Rafael Barak, Israel’s ambassador to Canada, met last week with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to discuss “the problematic nature of the exhibit, especially because it does not portray ‘artists, activists, writers and leaders,’ as is presented in the pamphlet, but known terrorists,” said a statement from the embassy a day after the meeting.

The statement added that the artist is a relative of Khalil Nazzal, who masterminded the Maalot school massacre in Israel that took place 40 years ago this month that killed 22 children and three adults.

While Barak was “pleased” to learn through his meeting with the mayor that the exhibit “does not reflect his values or the City of Ottawa,” he said the artworks “provide Canadians with a window into what lies at the root of terrorism and the obstacles in Israel’s quest for peace: the Palestinian glorification of terror, the incitement of violence and the refusal to accept the State of Israel.”

The embassy provided background information on seven Palestinian suicide bombers, hijackers and terrorism operatives presented in the exhibit as artists, writers and “leaders.”

The Jewish Federation of Ottawa and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on the mayor to remove the “inappropriate” exhibit, which is “hurtful to the Jewish community and offensive to any peace-loving person, including non-Jewish Canadian victims of terror,” the federation said in a statement last week.

But the city advised the federation that it was unable to remove the exhibit, “citing deficiencies in its own selection process,” said Jewish Federation of Ottawa president and CEO Andrea Freedman.

In a statement to JTA, Steve Kanellakos, Ottawa’s deputy city manager, said, “To exhibit a work of art is not to endorse the work or the vision, ideas, and opinions of the artist. It is to uphold the right of all to experience diverse visions and views.”

Kanellakos added that “the artist’s works and the artist herself benefit from [Canada’s] protection of freedom of expression.”

 

 

 

POSTERS FOR PALESTINE

 Share these as widely as possible ….
*
JFPROR - Like and Share
*
980276_485226668218675_112223058_o
*
198278_10151699545574772_329595095_n
*
Show your support by signing HERE

SOME PALESTINIAN SNOWMEN // PHOTO ESSAY

Yesterday’s snowstorm resulted in the following artistic expressions in Palestine …. a fun day for all!
*
 Through the gates and behind the walls, the crown jewel of Jerusalem’s skyline, the Dome of the Rock, can be seen here amidst surrounding snow covered domes.
sptop
*
What’s this? A Palestinian snow man visits the Dome of the Rock.
sp1
*
While snow is certainly a welcome distraction for life under occupation, it is also a vehicle for political expression. This Palestinian snowman commemorates the Nakba, or the depopulation of Palestine in 1948.
sp2
*
Some took to creating snowmen to express loyalty to one Palestinian political faction or another. Here is a Hamas snowman.*

sp3

*

While some used the snow to show their party allegiance, others used it as a call for unity and reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.
sp5
*
Some snowmen wanted nothing to do with politics at all.
sp6
*
Borrowed FROM

POSTERS OF THE FIRST INTIFADA // ROOTS OF RESISTANCE

 

Roots of Resistance: Posters of the first intifada

Catherine Baker
*

The poster tradition is an exceptional element of Palestinian cultural heritage, and the posters themselves are important repositories of primary data. Palestine posters created by artists at the time of the first Intifada provide a unique lens through which today’s audiences can gain insight into the attitudes and aspirations of people directly involved in the resistance as it emerged. The Palestine Poster Project Archives contains 230 posters in its “Intifada” Special Collection (posters that contain the word “Intifada” or obvious visual references to the Intifada). Below is a selection of twelve posters from around the first year of the Intifada that provide a representative history of that watershed event.

01536 PPPA

Democratic Cultural Action Committees

Created by the Palestinian artist Sliman Mansour, this poster references one of the many grassroots organizations that helped coordinate Intifada activities. It combines iconographic elements common to earlier Palestine posters—the kaffiyeh, barbed wire, raised arm—with a new element, the stones. The most impressive feature here, however, is the expression of sumud (Arabic: steadfastness) in the human figure. He (or she) stands alone, but the barrage of stones signifies an entire population.  The fact that the text appears in both English and Arabic indicates that the poster was meant to be understood by both Palestinians and the international community.

RangeOfstone PPPA

Within a Stone’s Throw

Published by Fatah, this poster reveals how the mainline Palestinian resistance organizations were quick to honor their compatriots inside the Israeli occupied territories and in fact to lend full support to the Intifada, making it among the first pan-Palestinian actions. The caption underneath Yasser Arafat states, “Realization of statehood is within a stone’s throw.”

NoVoiceStronger MDZ PPPA

No Voice Stronger Than the Voice of the Intifada

The poster’s slogan, a quote from Khalil Al Wazir (Fatah’s founder, also known as Abu Jihad), provides an unequivocal endorsement of the resistance. The niqafa (Arabic: slingshot) emerges here as another iconographic symbol of the Intifada. After 1988 Palestinian poster art also increasingly incorporated the Palestinian nationalist colors and flag, which were banned by Israel inside the occupied territories until the Oslo Accords of 1993.

AllSUPPORT 01631

Support… All Support for the Intifada in the Occupied Homeland

Published by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), this poster provides further evidence that the Intifada quickly erased the distinctions separating diaspora Palestinians from those living under the occupation. The white horse, symbol of revolution in Palestinian iconography, is seen here in outline, having broken free and rearing its head in defiance. The horse straddles a destroyed Palestinian village, pushes past barbed wire, and tramples on the Star of David (a religious symbol self-selected by Israel as its political symbol).

tawfiq

An Unceasing Intifada Will Defeat the Occupation

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) is another major political faction that immediately and unconditionally embraced the Intifada. Words and phrases such as “unceasing”, “steadfastness”, and “revolution until victory” are hallmarks of the Palestine poster tradition before, during and after the Intifada. The Intifada expanded the modes of resistance and so continues to this day in many forms, including among others Palestinian civil society’s call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) of Israeli goods and institutions.

palchildrenstronger pppa

Children Are Stronger Than the Occupation

The emergence of nonviolent resistance tactics against the Occupation is captured in this image of a young boy holding up his hand against armed Israeli soldiers and a tank. The steady gaze is a visual reference to the core Palestinian concept of steadfastness. Created by Vladimar Tamari, a Palestinian artist living (then and now) in Japan, this poster reflects the solidarity between Palestinians in the diaspora with those living under the occupation. The use of Japanese as well as Arabic and English text signifies an awareness of and connection to international solidarity.

Proglistpeace1PPT

The Intifada is the Voice of Palestinian Independence and Peace

This poster was published by the Progressive List for Peace, a political party in Israel formed from an alliance of both Arab and Jewish left-wing activists (A Hebrew version of the same poster carries the caption, “Let’s Talk to the PLO”). The dove is a frequent icon in Palestine posters.

goraintifada pppa

Gora Intifada! (Up with the Intifada!)

Published by the Komite Internazionistak in Basque Country, this poster demonstrates the degree to which liberation movements around the world identified with and were inspired by the Intifada. The extreme youth of the child, whose fist barely encircles the rock, honors the role of young people as leaders of the resistance. The boy in this picture is Ramzi Aburedwan, now known as “Al Kamandjati” (the Violinist), who established The Kamandjati Association in 2002, which encourages young Palestinians to make music and so to transcend the hardships of the occupation.

Frontlinefinal2 0

Palestinian Women on the Frontline of the Intifada

Prior to the Intifada, the heroic figures depicted in Palestine posters were the fedayeen (Arabic: militants) who engaged Israel in direct armed combat—usually men and, rarely, female militants such as Leila Khalid or Dalal Mughrabi. By contrast, the hero in this poster is a woman in traditional dress without a firearm.  The use of the term “frontline” acknowledges both the dangers faced by Palestinian women participating directly in the Intifada as well as the expansion of the modes of resistance. The tatreez (Arabic: embroidery) decorating the stone heroicizes the participation of Palestinian women in the Intifada.

PPPA01422

1948-1989

The bayonet piercing the orange and the bayonet broken by the rock highlight the contrast between the crushing violence and refugee flight of Al Nakba (Arabic: the Catastrophe) in 1948 and the mass resistance to the occupation via the Intifada in 1989. This poster serves as a commemoration both of the first anniversary of the Intifada as well as of May 15, the date in 1948 of Al Nakba, also known as “the Day of Palestinian Struggle” and, as referenced here, “the Usurpation of Palestine.”

00932 PPPA

Intifada 89

As with the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, a key strategy of the Intifada was to make the occupied territories ungovernable for Israel. The boy brandishing his slingshot and the burning tire indicate that a year into the Intifada, the Palestinian people were showing no signs of having been pacified.

1727 PPPA

New Day

The Intifada opened a new day for Palestine. A population that been forcefully violently repressed and censored burst free in a unified effort for self-determination. It was also a new day for American artists, who were inspired by Palestinian acts of courage to take creative action in solidarity. This poster was included in a 1989 exhibit in Berkeley, California, titled In Celebration of the State of Palestine. Although nominally the exhibit’s theme was a subsequent event—Yasser Arafat’s declaration of the State of Palestine on November 15, 1988—its true inspiration was the Intifada itself. This can be inferred from the visual elements in many of the exhibit’s posters such as those seen here: the defiantly unarmed figure, the flag, and the kaffiyeh.

The exhibit’s catalog text asserts the critical importance of poster art both to the Intifada and to the broader Palestinian struggle as it continues to this day:  “While politicians shuffle from one foot to another, we create on rectangles of paper, a place where the Palestinian flag flies freely. We prefigure in the realm of the imagination, the end of the bloody journey while we honor the suffering that will be necessary to bridge the distance between imagination and reality.”

 

Originally appeared AT

 

LATUFF TATTOOS

Via Twitter, Amad Nasrallah has sent me a pic of his arm tattooed with one of my Palestine cartoons.
*
The tattoo shown is taken from Carlo’s cartoons, truly an honour for the artist.
*
*

TAKING BACK PALESTINE’S STREETS WITH THE HELP OF GRAFFITI

“I am not under the illusion that our street art or the unarmed demonstrations are going to end the occupation tomorrow morning. None of these things isolated from the rest of it is going to end the occupation. But they build a system of resistance. They are all part of a larger web of popular  resistance.”
*

Taking back Palestine’s streets: exclusive interview with underground Jerusalem graffiti artist

Maath Musleh *

“There’s no voice greater than the voice of the intifada” (Image courtesy of the artist)

Graffiti has been a tool of the Palestinian liberation struggle for decades; during the first intifada in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Palestinians painted graffiti on all the walls as a means of protesting the occupation. Graffiti artists were met with brutal suppression if caught.

Young Palestinians are carrying on the legacy of art as a form of resistance today. On 12 January, an unknown group penetrated the heavily-fortified heart of West Jerusalem overnight and painted graffiti bearing political messages on walls, doors, construction sites and other surfaces. Most of the paintings pictured a woman’s face masked with a kuffiyeh, the traditional Palestinian checkered scarf. Below some of the images was the word “revolt” in Arabic.

The group hit the walls of Jerusalem again five days later, and issued an anonymous statement vowing to carry on their action to send messages to the Israeli and Palestinian communities.

In the following weeks, other groups took up the spray can torch in various cities including Haifa and Jaffa.

And in June, the Jerusalem activists took a daring step by painting graffiti on the doors and walls of governmental buildings as well as the doorways of Israeli houses in Jerusalem and Palestinian houses occupied since the ethnic cleansing of 1948. They sent the same messages calling upon Palestinians in general, and Palestinian women in particular, to revolt. They also painted “Remember Gaza” across the wall of one of the buildings in big letters.

Underground graffiti artist speaks out

A member of the group, a confident young Palestinian feminist activist who operates under the pseudonym “Laila,” spoke to The Electronic Intifada on condition of anonymity. Laila has been active in street art in Palestine before the creation of the anonymous Jerusalem group, focusing on painting both the walls of West and East Jerusalem.

“Some of the street art I have done was in what has now become West Jerusalem in Jewish-dominated areas,” said Laila. “Some other stuff I have done is in East Jerusalem where messages have been more about feminist messages to [Palestinian] women, mostly to wake up and not be drowned out by the patriarchal nature of our society.”

The Jerusalem graffiti group started operating since the beginning of this year.

“We are a group of Palestinian youth, both men and women, active on the ground in the popular resistance movement,” explained Laila, adding that there is a mix of backgrounds and perspectives within the group. “We cannot be categorized into one unique box; we are quite diverse,” she said. “What bring us together is our activism and our deep desire to continue the resistance movement and to be active as much as possible.”

The members of the group met during demonstrations taking place in Palestine. In the past year, they have been actively participating in the popular resistance in the West Bank and prisoners’ hunger strike solidarity actions. Although they have not known each other for very long, they managed to build a level of trust amongst each other. “I think each one of us realizes there is a lot of trust within the other person,” said Laila.

For the time being, the group has no plans to expand. “First we have to work small and focused until we are able to mobilize more people,” said Laila.

“This is Palestine and we’re still here”

According to Laila, the group’s street art activism in West Jerusalem aims to mark the streets with the existence of the Palestinian people and make Israelis feel uncomfortable.

“We want to remind them these were Palestinian neighborhoods, this is Palestine and we are still here,” said Laila. “It is kind of taking back our streets and not allowing the status quo to continue.

“I am not under the illusion that our street art or the unarmed demonstrations are going to end the occupation tomorrow morning. None of these things isolated from the rest of it is going to end the occupation. But they build a system of resistance. They are all part of a larger web of popular resistance.”

The Jerusalem group has so far undertaken three actions this year, all carrying similar messages. Laila said, “The three actions were in different parts of the city [Jerusalem]. We wanted to take the same message and spread it around the city. Some of the paintings were painted over within 48 hours. We wanted to make it a point: by repainting them … even if you do, the problem will not go away and we are still here.”

It is still too early to know if the work of this group will expand into different areas or using different tools. “We are planning. There will be something new in the coming weeks, so stay tuned,” Laila said.

Laila does not think of her activism as just a means to end occupation; she hopes that her work could encourage change within Palestinian society.

“The end goal is also to create a different society and a different way in which we function in it,” said Laila. “For example, when I think about the role of women within the popular resistance movement, I think about the fact that it is important that women also have an equal role within creating a new Palestinian society. Will they be part of the leadership? Will they be part of the action? Will they be part of building the structures and institutions of the society?”

Support of unarmed resistance

The unarmed popular resistance that has mushroomed in recent years in opposition to Israel’s wall and settlement colonies in the occupied West Bank has been hit with the arrows of criticism, accused as inefficient and helping to sustain the status quo. The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee organizes weekly demonstrations against the occupation in several West Bank villages. These demonstrations have not yet produced tangible changes on ground, critics say.

“Since the 1930s, the Palestinians have used multiple strategies and tactics that are all categorized as nonviolent resistance such as strikes, hunger strikes and marches,” said Laila. “For instance, the nonviolent tactics of the first intifada succeeded in mobilizing thousands of people out in the streets.

“The [nonviolent] tactic itself can bring a lot more people together. It allows higher levels of participation in oppose to the armed resistance.”

Laila believes that the unarmed resistance is the way to end the occupation. “I do not want to speak for anybody else in the group because we might not agree on this point,” said Laila. “But I think that unarmed resistance is going to be a lot more strategic and influential.”

And yet even unarmed protest, during which youths sometimes throw rocks at the army, is construed in the international media as violent. Laila believes that this characterization is unfair because the young Palestinians throwing stones at the fourth strongest army in the world are met with live ammunition or rubber-coated steel bullets.

Laila finds a double standard in the Western media. “I think the Egyptian revolution is a great example,” she said. “We saw protesters throwing stones at the army and the police, and yet the media painted it as a nonviolent revolution.”

Some have also criticized the participation of Israeli activists in the Palestinian popular resistance.

“It is important that the strategies and tactics are directed by the Palestinians,” said Laila. “But we are also talking about many Israeli activists who are anti-government and who come in full solidarity. They support the full rights of the Palestinians and justice.”

Future of Palestine

As for the future of Palestine, Laila believes that a two-state solution is impossible. According to her, the idea of a Jewish state has damaged the morality of Jewish Israeli society.

“I want to destroy the current structure and oppression inflicted by the state, not the people,” said Laila.

“There are so many Jews who want to go back to Syria because that is their homeland,” she added. “They want to go back to Tunisia or Morocco because that is where they are originally from. I know Israeli Jews who cried when they saw the bombing of Baghdad in 2003 because that is their home city.”

The graffiti activist believes that all Palestinians in exile have the right to choose whether they want to return to their homeland or be compensated. She believes that the right of return might not be easy but it is not impractical as many Zionists claim. It is a right, she says.

“I do not think anyone will be left homeless; there are a lot of structures,” said Laila. “Instead of thinking about destroying the settlements the day the occupation ends, we should think about how we can use these structures. There are also Palestinian Nakba houses [property depopulated in the 1948 ethnic cleansing] that are standing completely empty and nobody uses them. Why should their owners not have the right to come back?”

Laila is not interested in sending messages of co-existence through her graffiti art. “This is the only place in the world that I know of where reconciliation and dialogue programs and messages of co-existence have existed before actual oppression has ended,” she said. “It is impossible to tell somebody [to] learn to co-exist before their sense of oppression has ended.”

It is Israeli society which needs to reconcile with history, according to Laila. “The Israeli society will suffer an identity crisis before they start realizing what the occupation meant here for all of those years,” she said.

“I do not talk just about the occupation in 1967,” she added. “My village was not impacted in 1967; it was impacted in 1948. My village was occupied in 1948.”

As for the Palestinians, following the so-called Arab Spring, many Palestinian youth groups emerged. Nonetheless, mobilization seems to be slow. Many analysts ask the same question: “When is the Palestinian spring?”

Laila believes that Palestinian society needs more time to prepare for the next phase of their liberation movement. “If it [the revolution] happened tomorrow morning, it would be a disaster,” Laila said. “What we are doing today is preparing. It is utterly important to be ready for the day when it comes.”

*Maath Musleh is a Palestinian journalist and blogger based in Jerusalem currently seeking a master’s degree in political journalism from City University in London.

Written FOR

REMEMBERING THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

Unlike some people that never stop crying, Palestinians have developed the following attitude instead of pulling out their ‘victim status card’ every chance they get;

*
We didn’t cry during farewell!
For we didn’t have time, nor tears, Nor was it farewell
We didn’t realize that the moment of farewell was farewell
So how could we cry?”
*

On Land Day, Palestinians Remember the Price of Freedom

Shahd Abusalama

*

My drawing of “the ruins of my homeland” (Shahd Abusalama)

 

We didn’t cry during farewell!
For we didn’t have time, nor tears, Nor was it farewell
We didn’t realize that the moment of farewell was farewell
So how could we cry?”

Said Taha Muhammad Ali, one of the leading poets on the contemporary Palestinian literary scene, describing his expulsion from his homeland. He was 17 years old, old enough to remember the gloomy day when he was ethnically cleansed from his original village, Saffuriya, together with most of its inhabitants and more than 600,000 Palestinian from 512 other village, during the 1948 Nakbha. But in 1949, Taha returned to Nazareth, making it his home.

However, my grandparents and hundreds of thousands couldn’t. They had fled to Gaza. They thought that it would be a matter of two weeks and then they would be back. But ever since then, they lived and died in Gaza’s refugee camps.

Ethnic cleansing has continued in many forms. On March 30, 1976, more Palestinian land in the north was confiscated so that Jewish settlements could be built on its ruins. But Palestinian people rebelled against the Israeli occupation and confronted its forces. A popular uprising took the form of peaceful marches and a unique general strike that provoked the Israeli occupation forces, causing their murders of six heroes, together with the wounding or detention of hundreds of other people. Their only crime was that they refused to give up their land and protested non-violently, but powerfully, against dispossession.

It is significant as the first time since 1948 that Arabs in Israel organized a strong response to Israeli policies as a Palestinian national collective. That’s why this day was etched in the history of the Palestinian struggle and ever since, Palestinians have commemorated March 30 as “Land Day”, to emphasize our embrace of Palestinian land and our rejection of the criminal occupation and its illegal settlement. In Gaza, I joined several thousands of people to march toward Erez checkpoint calling for the end of occupation and for our legal rights of the land.

March 30, 2012 marks the 46th anniversary of Land Day. As I welcome this immortal day, a flood of memories flows through my mind. I can’t remember my grandfather well, as he died when I was very young. But I can very clearly recall my memories of my grandmother, who helped raise me.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky! “

Only when I got older did I learn that lullabies are songs sung to kids until they fall asleep. I never slept to a lullaby. Yet I can’t count the times I slept while listening to my grandmother telling her favorite, most touching story, the story of Nakba, the story of her stolen lands. Unlike other kids around the world, The Nakba was my lullaby.

“Behind every great man there is a woman.” This proverb could not find a better example than my father. He always said, “I have God in the sky and my mother on the ground.” She had been always his role model and the reason he embraced the resistance during his youth. Now his resistance is centered on planting his patriotic values and his love for the homeland in his children, in us, so we, the third generation, carry on demanding our people’s stolen rights.

I vividly recall how her steady, wide eyes struggled with tears every time she narrated that story. She must have repeated it thousands of times, and I am sure she would never have stopped if she were still alive. My siblings and I heard it many times. And, every time, her wrinkles evoked the same feeling, her voice shook the same way, calmly flowing with memories, then suddenly rising in anger as she said the same proverb: “The homeland is ours and the strangers fire us.”

“Your grandfather used to go every day to a high hill in north Gaza called Alkashef,” I remember her saying. “People used to see him sitting on the top, pondering his raped homeland, Beit Jerja, and crying.” Their wound was too deep to be healed or forgotten.

In Beit Gerga, my grandparents were farmers, living for the glories of the land as the majority of Palestinians did then. Every single day after their expulsion, they said, “Tomorrow we will return.” They were simple and uneducated people who didn’t understand the political games of Israel and its allies. They died before smelling their precious sand again.

The generation of the Nakba is dying. But another revolutionary generation was born, the generation of Intifadas, to which my parents belong. My father has always described his resistance, and his 15 years of youth inside Israeli prisons, as “the price of homeland and the cost of freedom and dignity.”

My father’s friend Jabber Wshah, who was released in the same 1985 swap deal, has another amazing Palestinian mother. Jabber is just as inspiring as my dad. He now heads the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and always prioritizes the political prisoners’ issue.

I love sitting with elderly people who witnessed the Nakba to listen to their stories, even if they are mostly alike. They remind me of my grandmother and my memories of her, which I cherish very much. Jabber is another example of a man born from a great woman’s womb. I met his mother once in a festival for the prisoners released in the Shalit exchange.

Her mother does not know her own date of birth, but assumes she is in her 80s. I heard her telling the story of when her son Jabber was sentenced to two lifetimes. She described how she stood, proudly and strongly, and confronted the Israeli court for being unfair to her son, then started singing for Palestine, for resistance. “I didn’t cry nor scream,” she said. “If Netanyahu is hardheaded, we are even more so. We’ll never stop resisting. Resistance will continue until we restore out rights. I had four sons in prison at that time, and I walked to prison every day for 15 years hoping to meet them.”

She made me proud to be the daughter of a Palestinian mother when she said, while pointing to her breast, “My milk was fed to my sons, the milk of our homelands.” She continued firmly, “As long as there are Palestinian women giving birth and bringing up new generations, we will breastfeed them the milk of our homeland, we will breastfeed them with toughness and resistance.” Then she smiled and said that she told a CIA officer the same thing while looking at him in the eye, adding, “The land of Palestine is for her people, not for you!”

Palestinians have spent more than six decades sacrificing, paying the price of freedom for themselves and their lands that were stolen by the Zionist entity. You can rarely find a Palestinian family from whom none were killed, or have experienced imprisonment or deportation, or have had their houses demolished or lands confiscated. Not only people have paid the price for the freedom of the lands, but even the trees, stones, and even sands.

Israel continues to build more and more illegal settlements on what is left of our lands, leaving less than 22% for Palestinians. They openly violate all international agreements, but no agreements, nor human rights organizations, can limit Israel’s daily violations and crimes against Palestinians and their lands. That’s why the Palestinian resistance will never die. Many more Land Days will happen, and they will be celebrated in one way or another, every day of every coming year, inside or outside the occupied lands, until we restore our stolen rights.

For this 46th anniversary of Land Day, I’d like to share a poem with you. I wrote it last May, speaking for every Palestinian refugee whose nostalgia grows with every passing day. This is to emphasize our spiritual attachment to our stolen lands, from which our grandparents were ethnically cleansed, and to stress our right to return.


*

My drawing of our embrace of the right to return to our stolen lands (Shahd Abusalama)

*

My village, in which I didn’t live a single day
Has been living inside me everyday
Since I was born, I grow and my nostalgia
Grows more and more till it tears me up
It wasn’t me who chose to live far away
And neither my grandparents did
They were beaten, cleansed and dispossessed
Into tents of exile their souls were left
Gone with their olive groves and citrus fields
Leaving a wound to never be healed
Since my grandparents fled away
They thought they would return the next day
They died, but no need to sigh
As, their heritage, their songs and memories persist
They say that elderly people die
And after that the young will forget
But no way
Until return, Palestinians will resist
Our tears of hope will never dry
And when we return to our homelands
From ashes, trees will rise high
And white doves will over fly
And we’ll caress with our bare hands
Every precious berry of sand
This dream might not happen soon
But it absolutely will one day

Source 

THE WAR AT HOME IN SONG … WHY WE OCCUPY

The legend of Woody Guthrie continues with the poetry and song of Joseph Bruchak. Joe is a poet and author by profession, specialising in Native American stories. He has written many children’s books dealing with Native American lore. 
*
Yesterday, the following was reported in the New York Times regarding long overdue honours rewarded to Woody; click HERE to read the article …Bound for Local Glory at Last
*
Woody Guthrie, Around 1943
*
Also yesterday, Joseph and Jesse Bruchak posted the following on YouTube… Enjoy!
December 28th, A special day for People’s Art!
*

PANIC OVER CHILDREN’S DRAWINGS

See the children’s drawings that terrified the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay

by Seham

gaza kids 6
 
gaza kids 5
 
gaza kids 4
 
gaza kids 3
 
gaza kids 2
 
gaza kids 1
 
gaza kids 0
 

To view the rest of the images, visit MECA’s Facebook page. Click here to let MOCHA know what you think about their censorship of Palestinian children’s voices by sending them a letter. Here’s the the Jewish Federation of the East Bay gloating over the cancelled exhibit on Twitter:

jfedtweet

(h/t Youth Against Normalization)

 

Posted AT

*

If you missed the following, it’s a must read …

*

*

The Children Lose, Again

by Abby Zimet

 

 

A California museum has cancelled an exhibit of art by Palestinian kids in Gaza, reportedly after pressure from pro-Israel groups in the Bay Area. The Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland had been working for months with the Middle East Children’s Alliance on the project, “A Child’s View of Gaza,” set to open in two weeks. Does it really need to be said: Kids shouldn’t have to pay for the appalling cruelty and stupidity of adults. Look at this art.

*
“The only winners here are those who spend millions of dollars censoring any criticism of Israel and silencing the voices of children who live every day under military siege and occupation.” – Barbara Lubin of MECA.

*

*

Also see THIS report

CARLOS LATUFF; THE INSPIRATION FROM AFAR

Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff finalizes a cartoon after an interview with
Reuters in Rio de Janeiro August 26, 2011. [REUTERS/Sergio Moraes]
*
*

Rio cartoonist Carlos Latuff inspires Arab rebellions from afar

By Stuart Grudgings
 *
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – His cartoons are edgy, bold, and a thorn in the side of the Arab world’s tottering authoritarians — a gift to protesters from the unlikely setting of an apartment in beach-side Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Latuff, a 42-year-old leftist whose only family link to the Middle East is a Lebanese grandfather he never knew, has become a hero of the tumultuous Arab Spring with rapid-fire satirical sketches that have helped inspire the uprisings.

All he has needed is his pen, a passion for the region’s struggles and a Twitter account that he uses to send out his cartoons.

Starting with the Tunisia uprisings last December, Latuff’s work has been downloaded by protest leaders and splashed on T-shirts and banners at protests from Egypt to Libya and Bahrain, becoming a satirical emblem of outrage.

In one, a jackboot representing Syria’s government stamps on a hand writing the word “freedom.” In another, a man representing justice under Egypt’s military rulers holds a scale full of imprisoned protesters.

Latuff said he first knew his cartoons were having an impact when, watching TV, he saw them printed on banners as protests swept Egypt on Jan. 25, only two days after he had made them available.

“That gave me certainty that my job was useful,” Latuff told Reuters. “It’s not the social platforms that make revolutions, it’s the people. Twitter, Facebook, just like a camera or Molotov cocktails, are just instruments, equipment.”

A cartoon by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting Muammar Gaddafi (L), a
Libyan rebel and U.S. President Barack Obama (R), is released August 22, 2011.
[REUTERS/Carlos Latuff/Handout] and other new images
A cartoon by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting Muammar Gaddafi (L), a Libyan rebel and U.S. President Barack Obama (R), is released August 22, 2011. Latuff, a 42-year-old leftist whose only family link to the Middle East is a Lebanese grandfather he never knew, has become a hero of the tumultuous Arab Spring with rapid-fire satirical sketches that have helped inspire the uprisings. All he has needed is his pen, a passion for the region's struggles and a Twitter account. Starting with the Tunisia uprisings last December, Latuff's work has been downloaded by protest leaders and splashed on tee-shirts and banners at protests from Egypt to Libya and Bahrain, becoming a satirical emblem of outrage. REUTERS-Carlos Latuff-Handout
*
*
Official Twitpic account page of Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff displays his new cartoon in Rio de Janeiro August 29, 2011. REUTERS-Sergio Moraes
*
A cartoon by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting military trials of civilians in Egypt, is released August 26, 2011. REUTERS-Handout

Latuff, who does work for Brazilian newspapers and other outlets, doesn’t charge protest leaders for his work, saying he donates the cartoons to highlight injustices and to show his solidarity against authoritarianism globally.

At home, he has been in trouble with authorities several times for hard-hitting images depicting police brutality in Rio’s slums.

His only visits to the Middle East came in 1999 and 2009, when he went to the occupied Palestinian territories and later Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

Making friends, and enemies

It was enough, he says, to give him an understanding that the dynamics of oppression in the region were similar to those in Rio’s violence-plagued slums, or “favelas.”

“Misery is the same in any country,” he said. “The only difference was that women covered their heads, the writing was in Arabic, and the men with guns were militants, not drug traffickers.”

Latuff’s foray into the divisive world of Middle Eastern politics has made him plenty of enemies as well as friends. His uncompromising work depicting Israeli army brutality toward Palestinians — one cartoon compares soldiers with Nazi Germans — has drawn allegations that he is anti-Semitic, a charge he strongly denies.

The cartoonist, wearing a “Free Palestine” badge and “War is Business” T-shirt, attributed the strong demand for his cartoons among protesters to the continuing lack of freedom for journalists in the region.

Many of his cartoons still focus on Egypt, where emergency powers for the security forces remain in place six months after Hosni Mubarak was toppled. One recent piece shows a snake looming behind a woman sitting at a computer — a reference to the recent arrest of activist Asmaa Mahfouz for “insulting” the military in a Twitter comment. The army later acquitted her.

“Most people don’t know what is happening now in Egypt — because Mubarak left the government they think they have democracy, but this is not true,” Latuff said.

Source (via Reuters)

US ACCEPTS ~~ ZIONISM REJECTS

I was nominated to participate in the (International Visitor Leadership Program) “Political Cartoonist Program” on June 20, 2011 to July 9, 2011. After I got the VISA, and have the tickets for flying, I took a holiday from my work, and I canceled all my obligations,even I leave more than 2 works chances and I prepared myself for traveling in few days.

I received a call from the General Consulate in Jerusalem and they told me that they refused my participation due to the anti-Semitic nature of some of my cartoons.

Just who ‘runs the show’?

US Zionist Hypocricy And The Punishment Of A Young Palestinian Cartoonist

Submitted by David Baldinger

 

Majed Badra Today, I received a letter containing bad news from Majed Badra, a young Palestinian cartoonist. He was very excited to be coming to the USA to learn about political cartooning and the culture of the USA. This program includes stops in New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland,  Portland, Oregon and finally St. Petersburg, Florida. Many events are planned that include meeting with professional US political cartoonists and seminars about press freedom, journalism, Human rights and ethics.

Majed encountered a slight problem, however. He had the audacity to criticize the state of Israel for its occupation of the Palestinian territories and the inhuman treatment of the Palestinian people in his cartoons. Contrary to popular western media propaganda, every Palestinian is not a maniacal, rocket launching, terrorist hell bent on the destruction of Israel. Unfortunately for Majed, that reality is not an accepted part of the narrative for the supposedly picked on Israel. He must be punished for wanting a Palestinian state to call home.  Instead of bringing Majed to the US to show him, supposedly, how freedom and democracy works, he has been unfairly grounded and barred from travel. So much for freedom, I guess. Of course, no one wants to hinder Israel’s freedom to bulldoze Palestinian homes and farms that have the misfortune of sitting atop the aquifers or putting a stop to nation building by way of squatting. That freedom must not be impinged.

So the authorities tell Majed that he has no right to be angry or depict that anger in a relevant way. The hypocrisy can’t be more blatant.

The letter I received from Majed:

 

 Dear David

I was nominated to participate in the (International Visitor Leadership Program) “Political Cartoonist Program” on June 20, 2011 to July 9, 2011. After I got the VISA, and have the tickets for flying, I took a holiday from my work, and I canceled all my obligations,even I leave more than 2 works chances and I prepared myself for traveling in few days.

I received a call from the General Consulate in Jerusalem and they told me that they refused my participation due to the anti-Semitic nature of some of my cartoons.

I was extremely disappointed to hear the bad news about reconsider the decision of granting my visa to the United States.

I talked to the General Consul in the American Consulate in Jerusalem and I told him that there are misconception in explanation and understanding these cartoons. In the fact, I’m not (anti Semitic and anti Jewish), I respect all religions, I just wanted express that I’m against the Israeli occupation, settlements, killing, siege and injustice, and how much we want democracy, human rights, freedom and two states solution.

I’m open minded and I carry all the respect to all people in the world regardless of their gender, religion, race or color, The human beings have some differences which I believe was made to help the creation of a human who is able to accept, understand and appreciate others.

I appreciated very much the nomination to travel to USA to meet and learn from people from a different culture especially that I spent all my life in Gaza.

Only as I have gotten older and have studied the issue have I learned to distinguish between Israel and the Jewish people and, of course, having the opportunity to visit the US would give me another way to further learn about and get more perspective about the world, to further improve my ability to express myself and my views through my cartoons.

For information that the Program will discuss the freedom of speech and press in the United States,

WHERE IS THE FREEDOM?

How can we solve this problem?

Kind Regards and respects

Cartoonist Majed Badra

Palestine

 

 

Majed Badra

This is the summary of the program submitted by the Institute Of International Education to the US State Department that Majed would have participated in:

Freedom of expression in the media is critical to supporting stability and democratic institutions in the Near East and North Africa. This program will examine the role of a free, independent media in a democracy vis-à-vis political cartooning. Participants will examine the practices, techniques and ethical responsibilities of political cartoonists, the philosophical beliefs underlying their work, and the impact that their cartoons have on history, political debate, public opinion and free speech.

And these are the project’s goals:

Examine the role played by political cartoonists in the United States and their influence on public opinion and government policy; Explore constitutionally guaranteed press freedoms in the United States, and the accompanying principles of editorial expression; Review and become familiar with cartoonist training in the United States; Examine the effective use of humor and art in activism; and Illustrate the diversity of viewpoints held by Americans and how this diversity–reflected in political cartoons–contributes to a dynamic and pluralistic political system.

Typical US government hypocrisy, right? Say one thing, deliver the opposite. Since, these goals do not apply to a young Palestinian man who doesn’t appreciate Israel’s pseudo-apartheid system and the misery placed on the backs of his family, friends and people, he should be denied an opportunity for some advancement. You’re a bad man, Majed! You made pictures that told a story western audiences don’t want to hear.

majed-art

 

What can we do to help Majed? I don’t know. Complain to the US State Department? I doubt any sound would penetrate the cement that fills the heads in Washington D.C.

Majed in Al Jazeera article, Voices From Gaza

Majed on  Twitter

Majed on Facebook

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ FOR VITTORIO ARRIGONI

For Vittorio….. who worked to change this face
Image By Skulz Fontaine

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ NEW YEAR’S CARD FOR GAZA

This beautiful card was designed by one of New York’s talented activists ‘Ann’. It is in honour of the American Boat that will be in the spring flotilla to Gaza.

GAZA THROUGH THE EYES OF ITS CHILDREN

 

Gaza: A Child’s Point of View

 

Video features Palestinian children’s drawings depicting their fears of the Palestinian Israeli conflicts. 

The total collection of artwork by the Palestinian children is available for a gallery or museum show. We would be delighted to discuss the possibilities for a venue to exhibit these incredible artworks.

 



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE-GwpgJTKs

To arrange an exhibit of the works shown, Contact: achildsview1@gmail.com

WE ALL KNOW HER FACE ….. BUT WHO WAS SHE?

Visitors to the Blogesphere have seen this poster umpteen times…. but does anyone know who the woman shown in it was? Sad that we had to wait for her obituary to appear in today’s New York Times to find out…. but here it is;

Geraldine Doyle, Iconic Face of World War II, Dies at 86

Geraldine Hoff Doyle, who was believed to be the unwitting model for the “We Can Do It!” poster of a woman flexing her biceps in a factory during World War II — an image that later became a symbol for the American feminist movement — died on Sunday in Lansing, Mich. She was 86.

The cause was complications of arthritis, said her daughter Stephanie Gregg.

Mrs. Doyle was unaware of the poster’s existence until 1982, when, while thumbing through a magazine, she saw a photograph of it and recognized herself. Her daughter said that the face on the poster was her mother’s, but that the muscles were not.

“She didn’t have big, muscular arms,” Mrs. Gregg said. “She was 5-foot-10 and very slender. She was a glamour girl. The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face — that’s her.”

In 1942, when she was 17, Geraldine Hoff took a job as a metal presser at a factory near her home in Inkster, Mich., near Detroit, to aid the war effort, Mrs. Gregg said. One day, a United Press photographer came in to shoot images of working women.

The resulting poster, designed by the graphic artist J.Howard Miller, was used in a Westinghouse Company campaign to deter strikes and absenteeism. It was not widely seen until the early 1980s, when it was embraced by feminists.

She quit the factory job after about two weeks because she learned that another woman had damaged her hands while using the metal presser, and she feared that such an injury would prevent her from playing the cello, her daughter said.

At one of her next jobs, at a soda fountain, she met her husband, Leo H. Doyle, a dental student. They had been married for 66 years when he died this year.

In addition to Mrs. Gregg, she is survived by four other children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ THE POLITICS OF THE WALL

The following photos were taken yesterday on the drive to Jerusalem from Ramalla.The scene is close to the Qalqilya Checkpoint….

ONLY FREE MEN CAN NEGOTIATE


~~~
~~~

THE ART OF RESISTANCE

(Michael Rivero on the wall)
Israel’s wall in the occupied West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in July 2004. Although it is often compared to the Berlin Wall, it differs in several essential aspects. The Israeli side — located within the so-called “free world” — is often decorated by officialdom with idyllic landscapes designed to conceal its “concrete” reality. On the Palestinian side, the interior walls of the prison that is the occupied West Bank, resistance art is now flourishing.


Art as resistance: “Against the Wall” reviewed
Raymond Deane

The relationship between art and politics has always been ambiguous and contested. For many people, “art is above politics,” overlooking that art is embedded in the social world and at the mercy of those (publishers, promoters, galleries, etc.) whose mediation between artist and public is in the fullest sense political.

Artists may trust to the innate power of their work to transcend its exploitation as propaganda. Or they may offer it precisely for such purposes (agit-prop). Or they may seek to withhold it by participation in a campaign of cultural boycott, a tactic being increasingly deployed against the Israeli state.

A seemingly exceptional situation arises when the political context from which art emerges is simultaneously the surface on which it is inscribed. The Berlin Wall has been described as “the world’s longest canvas” and was used as such by artists like Thierry Noir, Keith Haring and a host of unknowns.

However, this art appeared mostly on the Western side of the wall, and hence supposedly symbolized, in the words of a dedicated website, “the free expression of the open society of West Berlin” as opposed to “the blank walls of the repressed society that was East Berlin” (Berlin Wall Art).

Although the wall surrounded West Berlin, the citizens of that city were free to travel at will, unlike their East-Berlin counterparts. Hence, West Berlin wall art was viewed approvingly by the capitalist regime that would engulf the former German Democratic Republic once Germany was reunited, while those who sought to resist Stalinism from within were denied any such outlet.

Israel’s wall in the occupied West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in July 2004. Although it is often compared to the Berlin Wall, it differs in several essential aspects. The Israeli side — located within the so-called “free world” — is often decorated by officialdom with idyllic landscapes designed to conceal its “concrete” reality. On the Palestinian side, the interior walls of the prison that is the occupied West Bank, resistance art is now flourishing.

Unlike the East German authorities, the Israelis seem content to leave this art in place. This may be linked to the celebrity of some of the participating artists, in particular the Englishman Banksy whose “Girl with balloons” features on the cover of William Parry’s Against the Wall. Parry, a London-based journalist and photographer, documents “the art of resistance in Palestine.”

This beautifully produced book falls into a number of the traps concealed within the ambiguous art/politics relationship evoked above. However, it ultimately retains its value and impact as both a political and aesthetic document, perhaps exemplifying the German philosopher Walter Benjamin’s famous thesis that “[t]here is no document of culture that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.”

One risk inherent in “political art” is that it may be seen to exploit oppression in the interests of an artist’s reputation and bank balance. Banksy’s 2007 “Santa’s Ghetto” project in Bethlehem, central to Against the Wall, sought to subvert these risks by forcing those wishing to view works by their favorite artists to travel to the occupied Palestinian territories and see for themselves the conditions under which Palestinians live.

However, if “the art of resistance” is thus equated with that of non-Palestinian celebrities, there is a risk that the agency of the Palestinians themselves is again being denied. Does such a project not itself symbolically enact the disempowerment it is supposedly opposing? The only Palestinian artist mentioned by name in this book is Suleiman Mansour (110) who apparently “participated in this project” (i.e., “Santa’s Ghetto”), but none of whose work is reproduced. The Palestinian artwork reproduced is invariably anonymous (147, 158-9).

Given the unsanctioned origins of street art and the guerilla-like tactics its creation often entails, it seems peculiarly adapted to a campaign for the destruction of the very surface on which it is created, in this case the apartheid wall. Further, such art invites and must tolerate the kind of defacement that is prohibited in the art gallery environment. Banksy’s “living room” scene has been “debeautified” with Arabic graffiti reading: “Park your car here for 3 NIS [New Israeli Shekels]” (29). His catapult-wielding rat was destroyed by locals who took offense at being compared (as they saw it) to a rodent (51), while his donkey undergoing a security check (110-111) was saved from a similar fate by the canny Palestinian owners of the building where it was painted, who removed the relevant section of wall and sold it to a Westerner.

Such cultural misunderstandings aside, the Palestinian response to this “outsider art” has been far from uncritical. The New York artist Swoon was “told by one of the elders from the refugee camp that they don’t necessarily want the kids to start viewing that area positively, and so they see the work as a thing of beauty, but in a place where beauty shouldn’t be.” Nonetheless, writes Parry, the people of Bethlehem “were effusive, ready to adopt Banksy as a son of the struggling city, given the number of tourists the project’s work has attracted” (10).

Parry’s text is impressively wide-ranging. His exposition of the historical and political realities of Palestinian life, particularly as it is bounded by the wall, is detailed, lucid and accurate. His photographs are themselves works of art, many of them focusing on Palestinian people and places rather than just on the artworks.

Yet the most striking photographs are those of artworks within their environment, such as the young Italian street artist Blu’s “giant baby, blowing soldiers made of money” on the wall near Aida refugee camp (64-65, and again, at dusk, 70-71). Indeed for me Blu, his compatriot Erica il Cane (“How the oppressed become the oppressor,” 68-9) and the Spaniard Sam3 (66-67, 68) stand out from the other named artists; their images seem to have more intrinsic subversive power than those of the more celebrated Banksy.

“Pardon our Oppression” is the title of a mural by the veteran Ron English (58-59), designed “to link American” — and European, he might have added — “support to the oppression of the Palestinian people.” Such a quasi-penitential acceptance of responsibility, common to much of the art reproduced here, extends the scope of “the art of resistance” to our Western societies and adds further depth to this tremendous and essential book.

Raymond Deane is a composer and Cultural Boycott Officer of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (www.ipsc.ie).


Source

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,168 other followers