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Jerusalem

October 19, 2011

Please continue and/or initiate conversations pertaining to Jerusalem here. A prior discussion, which no doubt remains of interest to many of us, may be found in the comments appended to the ‘Welcome’ post above.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. -timo- permalink
    October 28, 2011 1:54 pm

    Just to get this one opened: what kind of a story could the name of the city tell us? Jerusalem, Yeru-shalayim, means literally “the city of peace/unity.” In terms of meeting with its (political) identity as it stands and its idea represented in its name, could the city represent a hope, or even better the true hope, to the human kind as being able to cope with differences and be peacefully united? Or is the story going to be Hobbesian “bellum omnium contra omnes” with a view to Nietzsche’s “will to power” and Sartre’s “néantisation”? Is “jerusalem” only cruel irony and an unachievable utopia? Or is there a possibility that through the political reality we come to realize that unification at a human level is not impossible but that the multifaceted master-slave -dialectics (i.e. struggle for recognition) does find its end in good will and in agape?

  2. Clay Venetis permalink
    October 30, 2011 10:53 pm

    Below is a great link to a series of graffiti art that Banksy created on the Israeli West Bank Barrier. Below it is a short dialogue that happened between him and a Palestinian man that went as follows:

    Palestinian man: You paint the wall, you make it look beautiful.

    Banksy: Thank you.

    Palestinian man: We don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall, go home.

    Banksy was the first to publish and admit this; he could have never shared such a powerfully reticent exchange. This is a perfect example of the effect of art and narrative, which can do just as much harm as good when figuring/forming our cultural divides.

    Perhaps it embodies Banksy’s artistic motive in general: creating beautiful pop images that draw people to look which are endowed with satiric and uncomfortable values that force people to see.

    http://intifadat.tumblr.com/post/9543730987/palestinian-man-you-paint-the-wall-you-make-it

    (This is copied on the art thread as well).

    • Sheila Gallagher permalink
      October 31, 2011 2:27 am

      Dear Clay,

      Thanks for the link to the Bansky images. I have long been a fan of his work and find many of his images on the West Bank wall to be powerful in their emancipatory content, but the series does leave me in an aesthetic moral bind. As you note, art can be very good and very harmful –one need only think of the talented Leni Riefenstahl– is that what is happening in Bansky’s work ? His project is clearly visually engaging, but can I consider it successful given that one old Palestinian man (who clearly speaks for many, otherwise it would not be such an oft quoted exchange), finds the work inappropriate, possibly damaging, and wants Bansky gone?

      Curious to know what the broader Palestinian response was to Bansky’s project, I went trolling on the internet and came across the following article that was originally published by electronic intifada. (EI)
      http://www.briansewell.com/artist/b-artist/banksy/banksy-palestinian-tag.html

      While EI has a lot of criticism to offer acts mindless beautification, my impression is that Bansky’s work is considered (at least by some Palestinians) to be valuable because it actually calls attention to the Wall’s ugliness and its cruel effects.

      “ Much of the art he produced on the Wall visually subverts and draws attention to its nature as a barrier by incorporating images of escape — a girl being carried away by a bunch of balloons, a little boy painting a rope ladder.
      Other pieces invoke a virtual reality that underlines the negation of humanity that the barrier represents — children in areas cut off from any access to the sea playing with sand buckets and spades on piles of rubble that look like sand, and corners of the wall peeled back to reveal imagined lush landscapes behind.”

      I would love to know if the teenagers in Sarit’s film have seen Bansky’s images and how they consider his work to function in the context of their relationship to the Wall.

      All best,

      SG

  3. -timo- permalink
    October 31, 2011 11:21 pm

    Just a quick one in relation to walls and braking them — this clearly is a big issue for many, and not all of them come from the same side of the wall:

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/31/world/meast/unesco-palestinian-membership/index.html

    A clarification / remark: initially this was about taking the vote but now it seems that the article is more about the US reaction to it.

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