Looking for Palestine
Many people tend to see Palestinians through the lens of their chosen stereotype because we’re all brought up with certain clichés. And though there are exceptions, these stereotypes are all we hear and know about.
The picture that then emerges, of something called Palestine, is surprisingly consistent and coherent. There is a lot of material contributing to the creation of this unified image of Palestine and Palestinians – with a set character and characteristics emphasising broad themes of refugee flows and dispossession, anger, violence and resistance – that just keeps coming back.
The result of the medias focus on a select few visual tropes that casts Palestinians as either victims of the occupation (in one way or another) or radicalised terrorists means that all people in Palestine come to be understood in the same limited and destructive way. Understanding a complex society such as Palestine in this narrow way takes away from the humanity and diversity of ordinary Palestinians.
There’s a lot that is misunderstood or not seen by the people, and the media, in the West.
There is no Palestinian ‘defect’, there is no ‘other.’
And Palestinians are confident that Palestine will continue to develop and mature, despite its shrinking territory. They have been resisting by singing, dancing, reciting poetry, celebrating their heritage, their craftsmanship, Palestinian food and art and by remembering. They refuse to forget who they are or to abandon their identity. It's what the people of Palestine do. They keep going, rebuilding, restarting and living no matter what keeps coming.
This on-going project doesn’t set out to speak for Palestinians. It’s intended to be a corrective portrait of people who – having to negotiate conflict, resist occupation and who may have been reduced to stereotypes – are confident and talented individuals. It's an effort to counteract false equivalence in reporting on Palestine, its people and the occupation.