Jan 18, 2014

another creative way to bring a conflict very literally 'home'

University of Michigan students got fake eviction notices slipped under their dorm room doors last month.   The notices said EVICTION NOTICE, in large letters, and then:

"If you do not vacate the premises by 13 DEC 6PM, we reserve the right to demolish your premises without delay.  We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside.  Charges for demolition will by applied to your student account.

But then they went on to say that notices like this are given arbitrarily in Palestine, told more about what that is like, and said across the bottom, this is not an actual eviction notice (see image below).  Do these students now know what it feels like to get an arbitrary eviction after having a heart stopping few seconds until they read further down? Of course not - but maybe it helped them imagine for a moment what that might be like.  It was certainly effective in raising awareness and generating discussion.  Within 24 hours of the eviction notice action, the hashtag #UMMockEviction had thousands of tweets

full article here.

Jan 3, 2014

bringing the wall home to build solidarity

I've written about lots of different ways people have tried to inspire solidarity by making a conflict feel 'real' to people in another place, and getting them to think about what that would be like if it happened here.  I think this is my favorite so far. 

Big kudos to the St. James church, in central London, for the best Christmas decorations ever.  In front of their church they built an eight-meter-high replica of the Israeli-built concrete wall that entirely surrounds the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.  What I love about this is that no one will think that they "know" what it is like to live with a wall from having seen this, but that it is so incongruous they will certainly stop and notice and think about it, maybe try to imagine what it is like to be surrounded by walls like that, and hopefully be moved to take some action.

Check out this short video to get a sense of it: