The New Apartheid Expert: Pink Floyd Frontman Roger Waters..says..

Amid the  Human Rights cataclysm overthrowing all the venerable despotic regimes in the Middle East, I heard on , the ‘brave words’ of Roger Waters the Pink Floyd frontman.

Interviewed by Riz Khan he says among other things (or vagaries)  that he is against Israel’s apartheid regime, that he is not antisemitic but against occupation. He also says that …”They’re annexing huge parts of the West Bank. So all this talk is they’re quietly getting on with taking over the whole of the land, and what happens then to the Palestinians?”…see here on YNET (Roger Waters: Join Israel boycott)

The "Catbird Seat" site: "We are committed to exposing the Zionist Lobbies control of American policy for the Middle East."

(Photo from the “Catbird Seat” site, holding the credo: “We are committed to exposing the Zionist Lobbies control of American policy for the Middle East.”)

It would be futile to try to argue with Roger Water that in any true agreement  almost 90 % of the West Bank is and remains Palestinian, see here (former American President Clinton) and here (former Israeli PM Olmert)

It would also be futile to tell Roger Water that his attempt to transplant South Africa’s apartheid to Israel is nothing more than a lack of total understanding of what the real apartheid was. For a more impartial view see here on Wikipedia “Israel and the Apartheid Analogy”.

Perhaps you forgot,  Mr Waters: the late British Empire reigned in Palestine for many decades. Your enlightened kingdom is the father of a brutal colonialism and of every possible form of occupation. Remember the ship Exodus, the Jewish emigrants swapping the Nazi concentration camps for  the British Empire concentration camps  in Cyprus. Here the demarcation ‘wall’ was the ocean..

Now again, it is futile to think that such historical facts deserve any consideration when you are being interviewed on AlJazeera and become a self appointed expert on apartheid, occupation and walls.

( The musical Pink Floyd ‘..Wall” was pretty better..)

Now, If we quote explicitly from the “Israel and the Apartheid Analogy” article then people with much more credits (than Roger Waters) about what apartheid was and is, denounce his falsification of the reality in the West Bank, long before he gave his last concert in Israel:

Malcolm Hedding, a South African minister who worked against South African apartheid, believes the barrier fence has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with Israel’s self-defense. He said that Israel has proven its desire to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians while granting political rights to its own Arab citizens within a liberal democratic system, but that the Palestinians remain committed to Israel’s destruction. By contrast, he says, it was a tiny minority in South Africa that held power and once democracy came, the Nationalist Party that had dominated the masses disappeared

.”Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng has also criticized Tutu for referring to Israel as an apartheid state, stating that Arabs in Israel enjoy a variety of rights that blacks in apartheid-era South Africa did not, including the right to vote, and that Palestinians are only stopped at checkpoints to prevent attacks. Deng asks why Tutu criticizes Israel for apartheid policies it does not have, but ignores actual apartheid practices in other countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and especially his own country Sudan.”..

BTW, if talking about the checkpoints in the west bank they are greatly reduced because of the cooperation of the Palestinian and the Israeli to maintain the security needs of both sides.. I quote:

…”Israel says it has significantly reduced the number of roadblocks in the territories since they peaked some five years ago when terrorist attacks were more prevalent and the security barrier between Israel and the Palestinian Authority had not yet been completed. Today, there are 13 roadblocks around Jerusalem and some 40 others, most of these on the border, but also a number in the heart of the West Bank. “..

…“The days of long lines don’t exist anymore. The IDF has learned the lessons and has even set up special units to deal with roadblocks,” Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovitz, an IDF spokeswoman, told The Media Line. “The lines of the past years you don’t see anymore. Of course, you can wait sometimes for 20 minutes, but that can happen to you in any traffic jam.”…see here for the full article “Palestinians turn to technology to avoid roadblocks”.

Roger Waters, as a new member on the list of celebrities boycotting Israel, you are a member of a minority group, and as such you have the right to say what you want. But I would expect from such a good musician to make better home work before he is interviewed on AlJazeera by Riz Khan.

Photo source: ‘MIX

The “Surda Checkpoint” as a West Bank Artwork

surda

Two years ago I subscribed to the  ‘Art flux’ newsletter. In the October 13, 2007 issue, they mentioned the exhibition: ..”Transactions”..(.September 11 – November 18, 2007).  The picture advertising the exhibition, named “Sexy Semite”, (2000-2002)   was created by Emily Jacir, see here.

The name “Sexy Semite” aroused my curiosity about the artist. Quickly I found that she is a Palestinian artiste…” [Emily Jacir is an artist] currently living and working between Brooklyn, New York and Ramallah, Palestine. Her work focuses on issues of movement (both forced and voluntary), dislocation, radical displacement and resistance. It also addresses the unconscious markers of borders (both real and imagined) between territories, places, countries and states.”.

One of her works catched my eye…”Crossing Surda (a record of going to and from work)”  highlights the Israeli checkpoints  in the West Bank , and in her own words..”Since March 2001, the Ramallah-Birzeit Road has been disrupted by a checkpoint manned by Israeli soldiers, APCs and sometimes tanks. This road was the last remaining open road connecting Ramallah with Birzeit University and approximately thirty Palestinian villages.
On December 9th, 2002, I decided to record my daily walk to work across the Surda checkpoint to Birzeit University. When the Israeli Occupation Army saw me filming my feet with my video camera, they stopped me and asked for my I.D. I gave them my American passport, and they threw it in the mud. They told me that this was “Israel” and that it was a military zone and that no filming was allowed. They detained me at gunpoint in the winter rain next to their tank. After three hours, they confiscated my videotape and then released me. I watched the soldier slip my videotape into the pocket of his army pants. That night when I returned home, I cut a hole in my bag and put my video camera in the bag. I recorded my daily walk across Surda checkpoint, to and from work, for eight days”.  see here.

Emily Jacir Crossing Surda

Emily Jacir                                                       “Crossing Surda”

In those days, of the Olmert-Mhammoud Abbas talks, and specially to day, November 3-5, 2007,  where the Saban Forum in Israel and Jordan hold his annual meeting, the Surda checkpoint  will not be one of the main issues of the meeting. Trips between Palestinian cities in the West Bank, which used to take just one hour will continue to take three times more because of the delays at the checkpoints.

I went curious about the  fate ( ..today November 4 ,2007) of the Surda checkpoint and Emily Jacir’s work “crossing Surda”. Well  Jacir’s art… “has appeared in a number of Biennales including the 2006 Sydney Biennale, the 2005 and 2007 Venice Biennales, the 2005 Sharjah Biennial and the 2004 Whitney Biennial. In 2007, Jacir was a recipient of the prestigious Prince Claus Award, an annual prize from the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, headquartered in The Hague” see here, so her art was well curated and funded and received the prize and attention of many visitors.

In contrast to that, the changes at the Surda checkpoint are minute and subtle: from a fixed to a flying checkpoint. In more details the actual situation according to the “West Bank: Access and Closure” map (September 2007) , shows the fixed checkpoints in the Birzeit-Surda-Ramallah aera, see here, (West Bank closure map | September 2007, 17.5MB)

Ramallah map

Fixed checkpoints

Once done  a work of art is here for ‘eternity’.  Emily Jacir’s work of art is perhaps a candidate. But it seems that the Olmert-Abbas talks are also going on into  ‘eternity’. So the West Bank checkpoints will be with us for a long time.

Now, look at a curious fact, the REAL checkpoint between Birzeit and Ramallah behaves like a work of art. It is always exhibited, at a fixed or a flying checkpoint.it has a name “The Israeli Palestinian conflict”. It is funded and curated by the Israeli authorities and nothings prevent from the steady flow of visitors to visit the ‘Gallery’ and to stay there for hours.  What is left, is to consecrated it as a major Artwork and to be the recipient of some prestigious Award.

Here are pictures from the Surda checkpoint.

Surda3

Surda 8

surda

Surda 7

Here are pictures from Sharif Waked’s “Chic Point a seven minute video that ponders, imagines, and interrogates “fashion for Israeli checkpoints.” “, with two additional pictures from the real world.

chic 3

Checkpoint

chic

checkpoint

Chic