Love wins: Palestinian perseverance behind walls

Love wins: Palestinian perseverance behind walls
Publisher: Olive Branch Press
Published Date : 01 January 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1566569545

Review by:

Amelia Smith

In the summer of 2011 award-winning Canadian filmmaker and photographer Afzal Huda was given a map depicting areas in Palestine most affected by the Apartheid Wall. Huda spent three weeks capturing life in what has now become an "open-air prison", and how Palestinians survive and resist such an existence.

The book is divided into four parts; each introduced by a breakdown of statistics taken from United Nations sources. "Faces of Walls" tells us 500,000 olive trees have been uprooted to build the wall and 41,525 acres have been confiscated to build Israeli-only roads in the West Bank. The total number of checkpoints, gates and roadblocks in the West Bank is 532.

A foreword by American journalist, activist and political commentator Phyllis Bennis reminds us that only 15 per cent of the wall is built along the Green Line. Meanwhile, 85 per cent snakes through the West Bank and ensures the most important water resources are on the Israeli side.

The first set of photographs illustrates to the reader how ugly the wall's existence is. Panoramic shots of concrete, barbed wire and watchtowers dominate. One photograph depicts a young girl and boy, perhaps brother and sister, on their way to school. Their brightly coloured backpacks match the wall behind them, which is covered in graffiti.

Later, under a chapter entitled Faces of Support, Love Wins details works of art which have used the wall as a canvas upon which to express solidarity with Palestinians. There are messages of frustration, resistance, perseverance and hope; in fact "Love Wins" itself has been scrawled across the wall. Pictures also depict imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti and the late poet and author Mahmoud Darwish.

This chapter recalls the famous anecdote of the elderly man passing famous graffiti artist Banksy as he is creating a work of art on the wall. He tells him to go home and stop painting - he doesn't want Banksy to make it beautiful, a sentiment many Palestinians share. They would rather it remained in its oppressive form. Love Wins, however, has accepted the argument that such art work is a form of resistance and solidarity.

Love Wins is an interesting photographic insight into the wall. From such images, it is not difficult to imagine the affect it has had on the lives of Palestinians.

The 2018 Shortlist

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  • Balfour in the Dock: J.M.N. Jeffries & the Case for the Prosecution
  •  The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine
  • Enclosure: Palestinian landscapes in a historical mirror
  • In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood
  • Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance

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