Neighborhood graffiti, take 2: It’s always politics…

You’ve all met the Jew Pac/Jew Tang Clans by now, but what you don’t know is that they make up only a small part of the graffiti strewn about my neighborhood.  Today I thought I’d introduce you to some of the politics scattered throughout the streets here – painted, plastered, and always in your face…

First, not exactly from my neighborhood, but a protest I passed yesterday – Solidarity, a group working to prevent house demolitions both in Sheikh Jarahh, a neighborhood on East Jerusalem, and in Al-Akarib, a Bedouin village in the Negev Desert.  I was walking down one of the more cosmopolitan, cafe-filled streets of Tel Aviv yesterday on my way home from an interview when I crossed this group’s path:

Protesting building demolitions in the Negev and Jerusalem

Having been confronted with politics so early in the day, my eyes were attuned to political commentary and aesthetics as I maneuvered my way home.  A few things that caught my eye:

Extreme measures to protest the use of tear gas

The poster above, plastered a few streets from my apartment, describes [visually and in English and Hebrew] the protests of one man against Israeli military/police use of tear gas in breaking up Palestinian protests. His own protest took the form of inhaling tear gas and photographing the results [this is what you see in the picture].  Extreme, but dramatic and effective…

Looking for regular people, just like you!

Down the street from the first poster – an ad looking for people to join a protest against the use of carcinogenic chemicals in Israeli industry.  The top of the flyer says, “Wanted: Regular people, just like you!”

Holocaust imagery on the streets of Tel Aviv

This image, famous from the WWII-era, is all around the streets of my neighborhood.  And the effect of using Holocaust imagery to protest deportation of foreign workers [a big issue here, just as in the United States] is not lost on me.

Unlikely partners

Gilad Shalit is the name of an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006 and has been held in captivity in the Gaza Strip since then.  He is a central figure in Israeli politics – marches and protests have been held in his name, and discussions have been held about freeing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his release.  It is interesting to me that in this particular political commentary his name is next to Jonathan Pollard, an American CIA analyst accused of spying for Israel and imprisoned in the United States.  Clearly this guy is not a “one issue voter…”

Education for Freedom

You May Not Have Chains...

And last but not least, two pieces of political commentary facing each other on my street.  Their proximity is rather striking: the first piece of graffiti, above, says, “Education for Freedom.”  Below, and facing it across the street, is a sign suggesting that “You may not have chains, but you are not free…” I wonder what the connection is between them…

To be honest, I am actually surprised that I haven’t seen MORE political commentary on the walls and around the neighborhood.  In this country, it really is always politics…


One thought on “Neighborhood graffiti, take 2: It’s always politics…

  1. Pingback: Still out sick « White City Streets

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