Narrative and Memory

A large chunk of Palestinian artistic production concerned with the Palestinian cause derives its identity from the concept of poetic justice. This necessarily has to do with humanitarian purposes.  We have a new generation of artists, “smuggling” their political commitment through the same channels traditionally used by different kinds of
2015-05-08

Ahmad Zatari

Jordanian Writer


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A large chunk of Palestinian artistic production concerned with the Palestinian cause derives its identity from the concept of poetic justice. This necessarily has to do with humanitarian purposes. 
We have a new generation of artists, “smuggling” their political commitment through the same channels traditionally used by different kinds of authorities. This new generation of artists has emerged amid two existing groups: young artists who adopt a high dose of cynicism towards all that can be averted on the one hand, and the tragedy that documents the consequences through classical methodology, on the other.
If we are to trace the embodiment of the Israeli occupation in Palestinian art starting with Land Day, it is important to recall Edward Said’s seminal essay, Permission to Narrate. The article bestows a great significance upon telling and promoting historical facts by the oppressed as a pivotal reference for reclaiming individual stories and rewriting them in the brutal historical context. 
As such, the works of Palestinian filmmaker Emily Jacir could be considered as a response to Edward Said’s plea when he writes: “Facts do not at all speak for themselves, but require a socially acceptable narrative to absorb, sustain and circulate them. Such a narrative has to have a beginning and end: in the Palestinian case, ahomeland for the resolution of its exile since 1948.” 
Israel has stolen nearly 30,000 books from Palestinian libraries, homes and foundations. 6000 books are kept in the Israeli national library in Jerusalem and are classified as “abandoned property” and indicated with the letters “AP,” precisely like the homes whose Palestinian residents had been displaced.

 

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