share


On the Ground

I visited Palestine in early June 2014, just before the latest wave of calamity befell its people. For eight days, I travelled with a group in the West Bank. Everything I saw seemed to speak in the language of land and stone. I saw the wall that cut through Bethlehem and sundered East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. I saw the enormous settlements, such as the one at Har Homa, constructed in defiance of international laws. I touched the old stones of which Jerusalem was built. I saw the tiny stones that had been thrown by boys at a checkpoint in Hebron. I saw bullet-ridden buildings in Nablus. I walked in ancient hills near Ramallah. I saw the infrastructure of occupation and mass imprisonment at every turn. And on this land, among these stones, I saw people whose plea for justice had remained unsatisfied.

 

Edward Said described the Palestinian situation as a ‘crippling sorrow of estrangement’. Photography cannot capture this sorrow, but it can perhaps relay back the facts on the ground. It can make visible graves, olive trees, refuse, roofs, concrete, barricades, and the bodies of people. And what is described by the camera can be an opening to what else this ground has endured, and to what its situation demands.


share


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is the author of two works of fiction, Open City and Every Day is for the Thief. His photographs have been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. 

READ NEXT

feature

September 2013

To Sing the Love of Danger

Adnan Sarwar

feature

September 2013

The Gulf War made my first year at Towneley High School uncomfortable. White lads taunted us Pakistanis with pictures...

poetry

February 2016

Maurice Echegaray

Lina Wolff

TR. Frank Perry

poetry

February 2016

It was when we were living near the southbound exit. Maurice Echegaray had his company office on our staircase...

fiction

March 2017

Slogans

Maria Sudayeva

TR. Antoine Volodine

TR. Jeffrey Zuckerman

fiction

March 2017

A Few Words on Maria Sudayeva   Slogans is a strange, extraordinary book: it describes a universe of total...