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Palestinians Envision Life Without Occupation

Irum Shiekh | Palestine, Palestine


"[If there were no occupation...] nobody would be killed. Nobody would go to jail. We would be able to go to our homes. I would be able to go to Jerusalem in a short time. Right now, it takes a very long time to travel from one place to another. I can’t even go to some places because I don’t have the permission. [Without occupation] I would be safe. I would invite my friends from other countries to come here. [Right now] they are afraid and feel that they would be killed.”

In Summer 2015 in Palestine, I collected photographs and interviews with everyday people living in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Birzeit.  During these interviews, I asked them to imagine their lives without occupation.  The following exhibit provides excerpts from their interviews along with photographs. The purpose of this exhibit is to highlight the resilience of Palestinians living under occupation. The project examines the power of imagination as a resistance strategy that Palestinians under occupation have used while they continue to envision a homeland with prosperity, equality, mobility and stable democratic government.  The interviewees assert that pervasiveness of checkpoints, walls, prisons, killings and restrictions of movement have not deterred them in their struggles for a nation that is free of occupation.  Through this exhibit, I invite the audience to read the narratives along with the photos and explore the agency of interviewees in the advancement of social change and social justice.


Irum Shiekh, University of Oregon, Eugene


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