Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Avatar comes to Palestine

Palestinians dressed as the Na'vi from the film Avatar protest the Israeli separation barrier in the village of Bil'in (near Ramallah). The illegal separation barrier prohibits access to farming lands for the people of Bil'in.

If you are unclear why Palestinians would dress as Na'vi, well, then you either need to watch Avatar or read your Middle East history, or maybe both. But basically it comes down to Avatar being about the Na'vi (read Palestinians), an indigenous people who are dehumanized and then violently displaced from their land from a powerful foreign military power. In the film, the Na'vi fight back, they resist the forceful takeover of their land and genocide of their people. Oh and also, they win the freedom. I love happy endings.

So why can we only root for the Na'vi and support the Na'vi on the silver screen. If the Na'vi are wearing kafhiyyes (middle eastern scarves) and are called Palestinians we think their resistance to land confiscation and occupation is terrorism. Why? What's the difference? This situation isn't as cut and dry as the movie? Ok, maybe, but the basic elements remain the same. An indigenous people have been on land for eons. Their land and their livelihood is being taken over and destroyed, respectively, by a foreign invasion (of sorts). That's the story, full stop.

See the rest of the pictures here.

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