Thursday, December 18, 2008

Homage to Bil'in

The farming village of Bil'in lies west of Ramallah, close to the border with Israel, in the Occupied West Bank.  Since 1967 the villagers have seen their agricultural lands and orchards stolen, acre by acre, tree by tree, and absorbed into nearby illegal Israeli settlements.  Nowadays very little remain of the traditional lands which once were theirs.

The people of Bil'in have fought this theft of their lands through peaceful demonstrations and protests.  Each Friday after morning prayers, accompanied by international human rights workers and Israeli anarchists and supporters, they attempt to march to the site of the apartheid barrier hemming in the village.  Invariably, they are confronted by troops from the Israeli Occupying Force and the brutal Border Police, whose violent methods of dispersal have caused a number of deaths and serious injuries to the protestors.

One old man travels in the bus from Ramallah each week to join in the protest.  With his sunburned, weatherbeaten face and courageous spirit, clad in the traditional keffiyah and ageyl and wearing Palestinian flags and a badge of Yasser Arafat in his lapels, he came to symbolise the spirit of the popular resistance to me.  This portrait is a homage to him and to the people of Bil'in.

3 comments:

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Great Son of Greatest Arab Mother

A said...

Hi Bob
Chestdoc here. Thanks for visiting my blog. Yours is beautifully and simply written- keep updating it.

EricCarwardine said...

The photo reminded me of another respected leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, who was also involved in violent struggle against the oppressors of his country. Read the Bose story at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhas_Chandra_Bose