Images Of Solidarity And Strength In Palestine

Originally published in the Morning Star

Wednesday 08 September 2010, Asa Winstanley

Photo courtesy Pennie Quinton

Photographer, film-maker and human rights campaigner Pennie Quinton is familiar to many on the London activist scene.

Since late 2004, she has spent much time living and working in occupied Palestine. Now, with a large photographic archive to draw on, Quinton has selected some of her best work from Palestine for this new exhibition, named Tadamon after the Arabic word for solidarity.

The photos comprise three broad sections – popular resistance against Israel’s apartheid wall, a massive 2008 funeral procession for four assassinated resistance fighters in the Bethlehem area, and Nablus solidarity demonstrations for Gaza during Israel’s brutal 2008-9 onslaught against the coastal enclave.

Some of the best images, though, are expressions of Palestinian cultural resistance through popular dance and music.

While familiar signifiers of the conflict such as slingshot-welding youth are represented, Quinton has steered away from the typical. In one striking close-up, her camera homes in on the sons of a murdered fighter as they almost literally force the tears back into each other’s eyes.

Basem Abu Rahme, a non-violent martyr in a village’s struggle to regain its annexed land, is pictured a year before his murder at the hand of Israeli forces displaying some of the hundreds of spent tear gas shells collected by the people of Bil’in. It would be the impact from one of these, fired at high velocity, that caused his death on April 18 2009.

The exhibition is a healthy antidote to the wearisome “balance” syndrome that most of the media falls prey to in this country which falsely assumes parity of power between colonised and coloniser.

Quinton’s sympathetic eye for the Palestinian people shines through in this deeply humanistic collection.

Runs until October 5 at Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1. Open from 12pm-6pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm-4pm on Sunday.

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