Monday, June 13

[the statement in the stamp]

Several sources around the web have published that a Palestinian art student named Khaled Jarrar has taken it upon himself to create a Palestinian passport stamp.

A gorgeous (in my opinion) design, the stamp is offered purely for symbolic purposes. It is also a compelling, highly visible act of nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Jarrar is reported to approach foreign tourists as they exit buses in Ramallah, politely explain the purpose of his stamp, and offer to stamp passports. Some folks have been nervous about being questioned upon their departure from Israel, and others have enthusiastically handed their passports over to be stamped.

Jarrar set up this Facebook page to explain and support his idea.

The use of art, design, fashion, etc., can be powerful tools for any movement, and Jarrar is clearly utilizing local and international networks to connect with a large audience and share his dreams for an independent Palestine. Said Jarrar,

"Around 20 activists from several European countries expressed their readiness to work as volunteers to help me publish my stamp all over the world and advocate the campaign to other countries."

It is possible that Jarrar's act will inspire controversy among Palestinians and among Israelis. There is potential for administrative drama -- an unofficial passport stamp, not endorsed by the Palestinian Authority? Imagine the frustration and puzzlement for Palestinian officials.

Imagine an Israeli checkpoint inside the West Bank. Though Jarrar's stamp is harmless, it has the potential to inflame the Israeli administration and public imagination as well. A confused IDF soldier is a dangerous soldier, and this stamp may befuddle and/or aggravate Israeli soldiers, leading to increased human rights abuses toward Palestinians or those who hold passports with Jarrar's stamp. It's a long shot, but a Palestinian passport stamp may also arouse the suspicions of the Israeli administration, who could interpret the stamp as a precursor to a Palestinian revolution or the third intifada.

(on a separate note, recent polls indicate that the majority of Palestinians and Israelis do expect a third intifada)

However, Jarrar's stamp is a courageous act of beauty, creativity, and resistance. This sort of engagement and visibility is exactly what oppressed communities around the world can count on to make international headlines.

1 comment:

  1. This is really well done -- I wonder what some of the people with the Palestinian VISA stamp have experienced when they leave Israel and enter their home countries..