National Pavilion UAE - An Imaginary State : Review of “Otherwise Occupied” by Mohammed Al Serkal
  • An Imaginary State : Review of “Otherwise Occupied” by Mohammed Al Serkal

    “It is I recon enough! It is very paradoxical that the whole world is trying to pose the Palestinians as terrorists. While it should be known very well who are the real terrorist in the area. Second I believe that the whole world under the influence mainly the United States under the influence of Zionism has been trying to liquidate the Palestinian resistance movement. Personally I believe nobody can liquidate the Palestinian resistance moment, because we are not black September, because we are a resistance moment.

    These words are the courtesy of Kamal Nasser in an interview with CBS news in 1976. Born in Bir Zeit in 1925 to a Palestinian Christian family well educated graduating from the American University of Beirut, later worked as a teacher. Expelled from West Bank by Israel in 1967, Nasser became editor of the PLO newspaper, Filastin al-Thawra. Nasser was assassinated in West Beirut by Israel Defense Forces in the 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon (Operation Spring of Youth) on the night of 9 April 1973. Israeli forces also killed Kamal Adnan and Mohammed Yousef Najjar in the same attack. One of the soldiers involved was reportedly Ehud Barak, dressed up as a woman, who later became prime minister of Israel.

    The oxford dictionary defines Terrorism as such: “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”

    Many people often tend to verify a statement to be a patent for their own actions, CBS interview in 1976 posted on YouTube bluntly provides a stimulus reaction of terrorism in all Arab like figures appearing in their interviews. What is much worse is that if not for the internet today I would have not found out the awful, unjust truth of a surviving country, of Palestine.

    (While entering the pavilion)

    Otherwise occupied was given to the Palestinian pavilion due to it frankly not being on the map. It is within a space were you can occupy a territory, a box is given to you and you can write whatever you desire. I felt in deep melancholy, in awful miss due to the many boxes in the cause of the resistance force of Palestine. Children playing aside the box which said peace, on the other side you see a Couple tearing up a box which contemplated love, and a senior who drew a sad face but wrote “I am happy”.


    (Anonymous Boxes)

    I took a box and held onto it tight as I burst my feelings into a cardboard, this to me was my savior, this to me was my mourning to all of those whom suffered in the great battle of terrorism. I felt hope, but shackled by the truth. Reality will get you, it will bring you down, and it will make you resilient.

    (My Box)

    Bruce Ferguson with Rawan Sharaf wanted us to imagine a community of different people living together, living in one space, living outside of conflict. At the biennale, art is capable of occupying cultural spaces that are otherwise inaccessible or invisible. This space offers new ways of thinking a new society and new undefined knowledge.

    The only question that was always rising against the depth of my happiness was, Why Palestine?

    it was the Zionist organizations in Palestine that invented terrorism, first letter bombs were used by the Israeli, the fist electronic bombs were used by Israeli’s, the hanging of people from trees were first used by Israeli’s and Israeli gangs of the stern and Irgun became so notorious in the world, so we feel that one cannot condemn a Palestinian fighting for his country even if he uses tactics that are not fully respectable by the world measures, but the world doesn’t use the same standard looking at the Israeli’s” said  Professor Nabeel Shaf

    I felt strongly to this statement, one does not look at another, my brother always told me if you point one finger a person as in a blame of sort, three fingers are pointing back at you. Arabs and the Jews had no problem in the past, they lived among us, and they have worked among us, as said in our holy book. It was in Europe that they faced a lot of traumas, one example is the Jewish Ghetto in Venice the history of this place shocked me, they used to let them not go out, except in several hours of the day, once out in Venice they had to wear yellow markings, yellow stripe on the shirt for men and a yellow scarf for women, yet none was said against this.

    Occupying a state with force is Terrorism, killing a person by force is Terrorism, bluntly denying it is Terrorism. Many may deny the fact of the truth, many may shrug the behavior of others but we should always be proud of Palestine. As people who were living there for thousands of years without intrusion. Why now? Why is it okay to do so? Why occupy a state of such happiness, why take faith and ruin a family. A room is now a coffin, a coffin is now an empty plot of land filled with despair and lost tears.

    An excerpt from a statement delivered by the Palestinian revolutionary Daoud Turki in the Haifa Magistrates court in March 1973 during a trial which he was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison said “I do not hate any people, but even if the French, who are catholic Christians like me, came to this country and behaved in the same way that Zionism does, I would resist them”.

    Let’s all imagine a Palestine, where all were children were running free, were couples sat down and drew a heart that symbolized their love for one another, and a senior citizen drawing a happy face because she finally belongs in an unoccupied state.

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