Banksy is a British street artist who recently opened The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine. In the hotel, the walls are decorated with Banksy’s own works of art that are supposed to highlight the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The hotel is also known to have the “worst view in the world” because all of the windows show a direct view of the apartheid wall that stands tall in Palestine.
As a Palestinian, I’ve always liked Banksy’s work, and I’ve always thought it was very cool. But it will never show the real Palestinian struggle – and that is why I am writing this post today. I hope to shed some light on why supporting Banksy and his work in Palestine is disastrous.
First, I do not support this hotel. I understand that by creating it the POSSIBILITY of dialogue between both sides could start. HOWEVER he is normalizing the war – the Palestinian and Israeli conflict is more than pillow fights between two soldiers. It is bloodshed, the diaspora of an entire people, and for some, the belief that Palestinians are not people and do not exist. He is profiting off the oppression and occupation of the Palestinian people. He has been asked to leave Palestine MULTIPLE times and he doesn’t. To clarify my point here is a conversation between a Palestinian man and Banksy that was posted on the Banksy website:
Palestinian man – you paint the wall, you make it look beautiful
Banksy – thanks
Palestinian man – we don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall, go home
Palestinian families around the world have been faced with colonization and displacement, ESPECIALLY the families who continue to hold their ground back home.