Gazans make coffee in the ruins of their houses in September 2014. Photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters
For Palestinians, the new year is marked by old ills: Yet another plea, this one by President Mahmoud Abbas, for international recognition of the "State of Palestine," a U.N. denunciation of settlements that raises as many questions as it answers, and the "never-ending violence" and "slow-motion genocide" that is the Israeli Occupation, led by Benjamin Netanyahu's "reign of state terror." Still, new visual forms of resistance continue to surface.
UK-French filmmaker Martin Ginestie’s short film "In Defense of the Rocket" documents the gridlocked peace process of the last 20 years through stunningly repetitive news images set to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Inspired by the 2014 bombing of Gaza - to Ginestie, "Palestine Year Zero" - and screened at international film festivals, the film seeks to provide historical perspective for Palestinian resistance.
The Activestills collective likewise bears witness to the Palestinian struggle, through photographs and accompanying essays, in its first book, "Activestills: Photography as Protest in Palestine/Israel." The collective, made up of Israeli, Palestinian and international artists and activists, deeply believes in photography as "a vehicle for social and political change...We view ourselves as part of the struggle." To help publicize the book, released by University of Chicago Press for Pluto Press, there will also be exhibitions in London and New York City in the coming year.
Activestills, says one critic, works to provide viewers "with a window into a reality that oppressors do not want seen." And by working together as "frontline witnesses...inventing a new mode of conflict photography," says another, Israelis, Palestinians and others are "offering a demonstration of what might still be possible."