Sunday, March 11, 2007

Common Humanity

An artist makes an attempt to get people in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict see the good in each other.
Reaching for peace, a French artist this week hung the same huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians making silly faces across the cities of the two warring peoples.

The artist, known simply as JR, hoped his oversized portraits - hung in public squares and on both sides of Israel's controversial West Bank separation barrier - would send a message of coexistence, understanding and humanity.

He shot the photographs over 15 days in December after deciding that ordinary Israelis and Palestinians were being lost in the media's blinkered coverage of militants and soldiers.


"We realized these two peoples look the same, they eat the same, they drive crazy the same, but both sides think something about the other that is basically wrong," he told journalists. "So we decided to put them face to face."
The reactions to the same pictures are very different. First the Israelis:
"When you have Israeli and Palestinian faces like that the spirit is about peace, not war."

"[T]hey're funny to look at."

"The photos are very beautiful,"

"They let people see that all of these kinds of people can live together."
Now the Palestinians:
"We don't want to see Israelis' faces."

"We don't want to remember them."

"I feel like the Jews are laughing at us. The Jews are always laughing at us."

"With these pictures the wall has gone from ugly to uglier."

"Why didn't they put pictures of Haifa Wehbi," ...referring to the pretty Lebanese pop-music starlet, "instead of Israelis with crooked teeth."
The Palestinian goodwill just warms the heart, doesn't it?


Michael said...

Abu Yussif, have you seen the difference between palestinian and Israeli childrens' television?

Abu Yussif said...

i used to have a fascination with palestinian children's shows. now i can't stand to even know what they are about.

last week i was watching an egyptian movie with my wife. when i started to get the feeling that they were beginning to go in the direction of the subject of suicide terror against israel, well, let's just say that there will be no more arabic movies for a while. disgusting.