By Martin Travers
artist living in Holland, and creator of the original image
I am a firm believer in the right to self determination of all peoples all over this wonderful world we all inhabit. To stand by the right to that self determination by Palestinian people or any other people is by no means supporting terrorism or senseless violence or racism, to say that is in itself an injustice. My painting which was recreated on the mural in question is about that right, breaking through the wall that separates the Israelis from Palestinians and the Palestinians from each other is symbolic of the breaking of the walls that fence in the marginalised and the “unwanted” people everywhere because to see them is to be reminded of where and how Europe, north America and Israel got its wealth.
In defense of the 24th & Capp St. Mural Project
By Martin Travers
In regards to the mural painted by young people from the group “Homey” on 24th and Capp st. in the Mission District of San Francisco. A piece of art originally painted by me was re-created (with my full permission and more importantly honour) on that wall which I fully support and want to take the time to add my perspective to this discussion.
“We deplore the contempt shown for international law in the construction of the wall encroaching on Palestinian territory and making life utterly miserable for those forcibly separated by this illegal construction.” -Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
It can be argued and has been by such prominent people as Nobel Peace prize winner Desmond Tutu, former president Jimmy carter and others that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians can be likened to the treatment of “non-whites” during south Africa’s apartheid regime. Which side of this argument you are on does not really matter here, the point is that the bare facts on the ground show us that legal rights, separate roads, infrastructure and most importantly access to land and resources are very different depending on whether or not you are an Arab. Add to that the construction of this horrendous and illegal wall, I believe that constitutes at very least segregation. A type not so dissimilar to that which Chicanos, Asian, African Americans and dare I even mention the First Nation peoples have seen and it could be argued still do. Where ever you have a people denied access to their own land and resources surely you will have both a migration of people uprooted from their land and a struggle for self determination, we see this with Latin American, Asian and Palestinian people who make up a large part of the diversity of people in the Mission Neighbourhood.
I am a firm believer in the right to self determination of all peoples all over this wonderful world we all inhabit. To stand by the right to that self determination by Palestinian people or any other people is by no means supporting terrorism or senseless violence or racism, to say that is in itself an injustice. My painting which was recreated on the mural in question is about that right, breaking through the wall that separates the Israelis from Palestinians and the Palestinians from each other is symbolic of the breaking of the walls that fence in the marginalised and the “unwanted” people everywhere because to see them is to be reminded of where and how Europe, north America and Israel got its wealth. The Palestinians lack access to their own resources because Israel wants it, most of the so called third world lacks access to its resources because Europe and North America want it and have been taking it for hundreds of years. Little wonder then the sight of Palestinians breaking through a wall, alongside images of proud African, Latin, Asian and Native American people powerfully painted by them is enough to stir the insecurities of some. The message is very loud and clear I think. As long as these walls are built, we’ll keep climbing over, crawling under, breaking through and even painting on those very same walls.
Support needed for Mural on Peoples' Struggles against Borders and Fences
Zionist Groups oppose Palestinian Component on Youth Mural
On Wednesday some AROC folks and other Arab community members and allies attended a public hearing of the San Francisco Arts Commission. One of the agenda items was a motion on the new mural at 24th and Capp St in the Mission "to approve additional HOMEY design elements" for this mural.
The mural represents indigenous struggles of people of color worldwide as related to folks in the Mission and struggles in the Mission. Included on it is a representation of Palestinians breaking through the Apartheid wall to go with the themes of resistance and breaking down walls and fences. The Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Relations Council brought their members and staff out in full force, with a prepared 3 page letter against the mural project, stating it contained divisive and hostile themes. Their only complaint was against the portion on Palestinian resistance.
In the meeting, Zionist speakers referred to Palestinians and Arabs as terrorists and violent by nature. The ADL and JCRC repeatedly defended the Wall as different from the US/Mexico border, that this is a necessary security measure to save (Israeli) lives. In the JCRC letter, they also claim that "The Palestinian-Israeli conflict section (of the mural) is the only one that stands out as not being part of the experiences of American minorities in San Francisco." First, people of color are not a "minority" and this section does represent a significant Palestinian and broader Arab population of SF, many of whom work or live in the Mission. To their claim that this is not a relevant issue to the neighborhood, we point to the fact that Palestinians have been uprooted from their homeland and forced to relocate around the world, including here in the Mission. This effect of colonization, militarism, and economic domination is the same we see in other communities represented on the mural.
The young artists, mostly Latino/a, stood up for their artistic autonomy, and in solidarity with Palestinian struggles, defending the mural and the depiction of Palestinian resistance. Now it's tim for us to unite as Arabs, Mission residents and workers, artists and organizers to support the artists and the mural against this clear sign of anti-Arab racism and zionism. We have a month to mobilize before this motion is voted on, and you know the opposition is gathering...
Now, the SF Arts Commission is calling for a "dialog" between the artists and community members, but have only invited Zionist Jewish groups to the table. No Palestinians, Arabs, and no anti-Zionist Jews.
The first "dialog" meeting will take place this Wednesday-- we need to be there, invited or not.
AROC will submit a letter Monday demanding that Arab, Palestinian and anti-Zionist community members be represented in this discussion.
PLEASE GO BY THE MURAL AT 24TH AND CAPP TO EXPRESS YOUR SUPPORT TO THE TALENTED AND PASSIONATE ARTISTS.
We will need people for the following:
- speak to the Arts Commission or at public meetings
- write letter or petition
- compile educational information for HOMEY about the Apartheid Wall
- respond to inaccurate "factual" information presented by JCRC
Please respond if you're able to help with this or other items. We saw what SF State did to the GUPS mural, lets not let this happen again in our community.
for more, click here: Arab Resource and Organizing Center/ADC-SF
To see the entire mural, check out the People's Artists Network.