Olive Harvest / Where Law Stands on the Wall – Visualizing Palestine 2013
The collective Visualizing Palestine is finishing a crowdfunding campaign for their operative budget (only five days left!). This gives us a good opportunity to look again at the work produced by this talented team a year and half after I published one of their first visuals on this blog.
The principle of Visualizing Palestine is to create posters expressing in an expressive manner, the conditions in which the occupation of the Palestinian territories unfolds itself on a daily basis. In order to do so, they articulate a metaphoric or diagrammatic visualizing one of the many dimensions of the occupation, with an inventory of sourced facts that informs this data. The two examples above are illustrative for that matter. The powerful imagery of Central Park being “uprooted” allows the information of the massive uprooting of Palestinian trees since the beginning of the occupation in 1967 to be understood both at a rational and at an emotional level. Similarly, the second poster provides a clear information about the various decisions of justice given by the International Court of Justice regarding the separation barrier built by the state of Israel since 2002. This information is crucial when we see that Benjamin Netanyahu now projects to build a new wall in the West Bank (once again on Palestinian ground) along the border with Jordan.
Following is four more visuals (more on VP’s website) created in this last year:
“Not Enough Water in the West Bank?” is an infographic illustrating the politics of apartheid implemented by the Israeli army in the West Bank in order to limit Palestinian resources while optimizing the ones available for the Israeli settlers (about 500,000 of them in the West Bank and East Jerusalem). The result is a lack of about 30 missing liters of water per day per Palestinian to reach the amount of water recommended by the World Health Organization. In addition of the expressed preference given to the part of its population that lives as colons in the West Bank against the Palestinian population, there is a disturbing reiterated tendency of Israel to test the limits of resources available to Palestinians in similar ways than it is done in Gaza (see past article). We can see in these politics a scale-1 geopolitical experiment on an entire population.
Drawing a bus map of the Palestinian occupied territories for the Israeli settler population (starting from West Jerusalem) constitutes a clear means of illustrating the ease with which this population can access the various settlements of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Many of us saw similar maps in the various metropolis of the world and therefore understand the fluidity of these fluxes, as well as the diagrammatic denial of any political reality contained in this map. Despite (or rather, thanks to) its fictitious characteristics as an actual map distributed by the transportation company, this document expresses the reality of the settler population, and invites to imagine its Palestinian counterpart: a map on which the non-fluidity would be represented, the time of travel multiplied by 3 or 4 and whose lines of transport would be interrupted by a multitude of military checkpoints.
“Displacement Policy” is a document explaining the extents of Palestinian houses destroyed in 2011 by the Israeli army in East Jerusalem, in the West Bank and in Gaza, as well as the homeless population that result from this destruction. By interpreting the destroyed houses not as isolated elements, but rather by showing them as villages or entire cities (in the visual of destruction since 1967), Visualizing Palestine proposes to fathom the figure they give in a more incarnated way.
“A Guide of Administrative Detention” is a document that recalls the Center for Urban Pedagogy‘s manual for arrested minor in the United States (see past article), which was meant to explain to kids their legal rights when they were confronted to the Police. In the case of this Visualizing Palestine’s document however, all questions, which are supposed to call for answers unfolding the various legal alternatives that one could apply while in detention, remain answered by the cruel reality of the fact that legal rights do not applied to the Palestinian prisoners that are characterized as security threats (with all the ambiguity it contains) to the state of Israel. The fatalist spirit that results from the reading of this document allows to have a glimpse at the scandalous conditions in which people are being detained without due legal process.