Art, Music & Culture

Poem: On the Ending of the Siege at the Basilica of the Nativity, Bethlehem (10th May 2002)



Revd. Jeremy Frost, Precentor of Canterbury Cathedral, expresses through poetry his concerns regarding Bethlehem, a town steeped both in religious history and recent political violence. Frost has visited the Middle East on several occasions, and has researched the theological relationshp between Israel and the Church, countering Christian Zionism in the process. 

Film review: James' Journey to Jerusalem meets complex road blocks


If the purpose of a pilgrimage is to reawaken or reaffirm one’s spirituality, James, the title character of the new Israeli film James’ Journey to Jerusalem, certainly does that. However, the idealistic young African’s journey is fraught with unexpected and difficult detours, putting his faith on trial as he becomes seduced by consumerism and power. And while the film is plagued with technical problems, its success lies in the complication of its characters and its universal allegorical message regarding consumerism, power, and religion. 

Angelina Jolie gives voice to Palestinian refugees in Jordan


In December 2003, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie visited Ruweished refugee camp in eastern Jordan. Jolie, who has been a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador since August 2001 wrote a journal which has been released today by the UN refugee agency. During her one day visit to Ruweished refugee camp, where more than 800 refugees, mostly Palestinians, have settled after fleeing Iraq in April 2003. The actress, who starred in Gone In 60 Seconds and as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider visited the camp’s pre-school. The children at the school told her “their dream is to see their homeland.” 

Film Route 181 censored by French Culture Ministry


In an unprecedented move, the organisers of France’s largest documentary film festival, Le Festival du Cinéma du Réel (4 to 14 March 2004), held annually at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, have cancelled one of the screenings of the film Route 181 – Fragments of a Journey to Palestine-Israel, which is co-directed by the Palestinian Michel Khleifi and the Israeli Eyal Sivan. Khleifi, a Palestinian, and Sivan, a Jewish Israeli, are not the first filmmakers from the region who have found their work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be met with censorship. 

More than just stories: The portrayal of Palestinians in American children's literature


Over the last fifteen years or so, multiculturalism in children’s literature has brought some much-needed attention to the Middle East. But what about the Palestinians — key players in the most controversial issue in the whole region? Do Palestinians benefit from the open-minded approach promoted by multiculturalism — the basic idea that all cultural, national, and ethnic groups are worthy of positive attention and deserving of respect? Elsa Marston reports for EI on the representation of Palestinians in children’s literature, which has a lasting impression on readers and shapes their future perceptions of the world and its peoples. 

Artist John Keane revisits Palestine’s obliterated past and present


Painter John Keane, who was has travelled to the occupied Palestinian territories, juxtaposes historical and current concerns through traditional and contemporary techniques in his work. Deeply impacted by what he saw, Keane’s paintings in his current exhibition The Inconvenience of History - Paintings from the West Bank and Palestine reflect the despair, humiliation, and the brutality Palestinians suffer under Israeli military occupation. His exhibition has been met with controversy, but will still travel Belfast and Ramallah after concluding in London. Nina Malmsten reports for EI

Palestinian painter portrays raw emotions of Palestinians who long to go home


The figures in Zahi Khamis’ paintings have twisted necks, their almond-shaped eyes peering upside down, tragically staring out at a land they will never know. The visual experience of the exhibit Of Exile and Return replicates the emotional experience of pain, love, longing and fear that Palestinians feel as they struggle to define themselves. Khamis, a Palestinian who has lived in the US for 22 years, sees his paintings as a commentary not only on Palestinians exiled from their homeland, but on humanity as a whole, for whom home plays a central role in defining the self. 

Warsaw Ghetto Abu Dis: Five haikus on the Apartheid Wall


An obscene monument to the belief that “too much is never enough,” Israel’s monstrous Apartheid Wall is a visible indictment of the racist folly of forcibly separating people from each other and the places they love. The visual and moral affront of the Apartheid Wall prompted these observations, expressed through a subtle Japanese poetic form, the haiku. An ancient Japanese literary form, the haiku embodies the principle that “less is more” and delights in mixing categories and crossing boundaries through the magic of metaphor. 

Exhibit in Amman conveys horrors of Israel's separation wall


Photographs, sound effects, replicas of barrier give visitors feeling of imprisonment, suffocation experienced by Palestinians The horrifying illusion of a journey through prison confronts anyone visiting the first extensive exhibition on the separation wall that Israel is building on occupied West Bank land. Combining photography, sound effects, replicas of the Israeli-built double walls, medieval-style observation towers, and barbed wire ripping through seized land, the Stop the Wall exhibition, which opened in Amman on Saturday, triggers feelings of pain, anger and claustrophobia. 

Interview: Wendy Pearlman, author of 'Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada'


“If you want the conflict to end and you want peace, can you really afford to ignore their points of view? Go ahead; try to make peace without the Palestinians, without understanding Palestinians’ experiences and their goals as they see them. They’re going to be at war for generations — go ahead,” Wendy Pearlman, author of Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada, tells EI’s Maureen Clare Murphy. Pearlman , who interviewed 27 West Bank and Gazans for her new work oral history, explains to EI the challenges to publishing a book dedicated to understanding the hardships endured by Palestinians under Israeli military occupation. 

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