Monday, December 20, 2010


Bethlehem children send Christmas greetings to London | images from Bethlehem,Aida,William Parry

Hyde Park
If you are in London this coming week, in among the Christmas lights and decorations, you may spot some striking images from Bethlehem. Two dozen children from the Aida refugee camp, painted stars, trees and Christmas greetings on the Separation Wall surrounding their hometown. Images of them by photojournalist William Parry will be projected onto prominent wall spaces around London - among them Leichester Square, the Strand, Hyde Park Corner and Tottenham Court Road.

"The idea is to provide a stark political backdrop to the frantic Christmas shopping rush," said Parry, "to remind Britain and the West that Israel’s illegal occupation and separation wall are strangling Bethlehem – and Palestine – the birthplace of Christ and Christmas. We’re bringing the reality of Bethlehem to London this Christmas.

"The children who painted the message on the wall are third and fourth generation refugees, at risk of being made refugees again because of the wall’s devastating impact. We are complicit in suspending their rights to justice and freedom through our governments’ biased support of Israel."

Photos of these ‘hijacked’ spaces, of bringing the reality of Bethlehem to London’s walls, will then be circulated via the web around the world to amplify the message.

One of the young artists, Zayed, who is 10, and dreams of travelling around the world when he can get a passport, said: "The wall is an ugly prison. I can see it from my home. I want to tell people of the world that Palestinians want peace and justice. We want to be free like everybody else."

Parry’s initiative was facilitated by a local Palestinian artist who goes by the tag name, ‘Trash’, who in December 2007 helped Banksy and London-based Pictures on Walls to carry out their Santa’s Ghetto project in Bethlehem. Projection artist, Beverley Carpenter is collaborating on the London project.

William Parry is a freelance photojournalist and author of Against the Wall: the art of resistance in Palestine, published in July by Pluto Press.

No comments: