Monday, September 27, 2010

The Arts as Activism in Sheikh Jarrah

One of the unique aspects of this movement—particularly in Sheikh Jarrah—is the crucial role that visual and literary culture play in it. There exists within the movement a live, engaged practice of bridging the arts and activism, culture and politics. On both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides there is a recognition of art as a powerful and nonviolent political tool that can be used to practice freedom of expression as well as to enhance socio-political consciousness among the people. The arts have come to provide a central role in digesting and exposing the fragmentation that marks the region, and act as a tool of resistance against the violence spurred by the Israeli occupation.
Read more:


The poetry event that Guerilla Culture staged in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood drew over two hundred people. A group of twenty Israeli and Palestinian poets from various religious and ethnic backgrounds traveled from all over the country to read at this event. They performed poems in Hebrew and Arabic that were simultaneously translated into both languages by on-site translators, and then the microphone was opened up to the general public and members of the neighborhood stood up to speak to the audience. Protestors are generally barred from congregating in the neighborhood, but because of the cultural nature of the event, the police allowed the readings to be staged in the heart of the neighborhood, right in front of the settlement and the houses of the evicted.

Read more:

1 comment:

Katherine M Metres said...

It's probably oversimplified to say "because of the cultural nature police allowed the event to be held." I believe there are some Palestinian poets who were assassinated for their cultural activities. Maybe there were some Israelis involved whom they didn't want to piss off.