The full moon over Mecca marked the end of the holy month of pilgrimage. Ten thousand miles away in California, a Yemeni work crew gathered around a pickup truck with its precious cargo of sheep destined for sacrifice. A group of cowboys looked on, bewildered. These farmworkers are part of a two-decade old migration of tens of thousands of workers from Yemen to oil-rich Persian Gulf countries and, in smaller numbers, to Europe and the United States.
Whoever has something to say in Egypt these days can write it on a wall. Ahmad loves Rasha; the revolution continues; build unity between Christians and Muslims; make Egypt an Islamic state. Private garage, no parking; we are all Egyptians; don’t forget the martyrs of the revolution; apply for a job; those looking for marriage, call this number. ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards). Fuck the Muslim Brothers; I’m a Muslim Brother and proud. Invoke God; the ultras rule Egypt; call Hasan for television and other electrical repairs.
In photography books, Palestine is a schizophrenic place. In certain books it is primarily funerals, masked militants with guns and crumbling buildings, while other
My work is visual. It’s immediate. My photographs show the process that is happening in Iran. —Abbas
Born in Iran in 1944, Abbas moved to Algeria with his family when he was eight years old. As a young school¬boy at the École de Garcons d’El-Biar, Abbas wrote a short story entitled “A Grand Voyage” about his family’s emigration, illustrating the tale with a pencil drawing of an Air France jet flying over jagged, snow-capped mountains. “A Grand Voyage” proved to be a prescient tale, foretelling his life as a traveler — an identity he prefers to that of an exile.
In April 2000, Abbas Kiarostami received the Akira Kurosawa Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Francisco Film Festival. While in the United States, Kiarostami visited New York City, where the Andrea Rosen Gallery mounted the first US exhibition of Kiarostami’s photographs. The photographs, which were shown in a stark white loft space, appeared without titles, dates or labels. Anthony Shadid and Shiva Balaghi spoke with Kiarostami about his art photography.
George Baramki Azar, Palestine: A Photographic Journey (California, 1991).
J. C. Tordai, Into the Promised Land (Cornerhouse, 1991).
Both of these books present photographs taken in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 1988 and 1990 that transcend the usual images of stone-throwing youths and gun-wielding soldiers. Both photographers portray newly destitute families around their demolished houses, lines of people at UNRWA food distribution centers, children studying in dilapidated classrooms, peaceful rallies and demonstrations, and the painful wait for the wounded outside hospitals.
John Running, Pictures for Solomon (Northland, 1990).
Phyllis Bennis and Neal Cassidy, From Stones to Statehood (Olive Branch, 1990).
Kamal Boullata, Faithful Witnesses: Palestinian Children Recreate Their World (Windrush, 1990).
Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948, introduction and commentary by Walid Khalidi, (Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1984).
Before Their Diaspora gathers some 400 photographs to present a portrait of Palestine, its people and their culture, from the late 19th century—he last years of Ottoman rule—until the end of the British Mandate in 1948.
Sarah Graham-Brown, The Palestinians and Their Society, 1880-1946 (New York: Quartet Books, 1980).