Friday, September 19, 2008

Wall Graffiti in Bethlehem

Fred Schlomka
One of the most interesting aspects of any Bethlehem tour is seeing the grafitti on the Israeli West Bank Barrier which almost completely surrounds the city. Whether you take a guided tour or a public bus, wandering around the neighborhoods where the wall is ever present is truly a profound experience. The grafitti generally falls into three categories.
  • Grafitti by the local population
  • Grafitti by visiting internationals
  • Grafitti by artists

The Wall has become a narrative of peoples' feelings about the occupation and the Barrier in particular, and has given rise to an vernacular art, some of which is pure venting, while others demonstrate the power of a people to continually challenge their overlords.

 Sometimes the power of the gun can be subordinated to the power of art, of creative expression that transcends the any attempt to repress the spirit of the people of Palestine. Good examples of this are Project Hope in Nablus and the Freedom Theater in Jenin.

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