Everyday Arab Image Activism

As the sustained use of digital cameras and platforms remains a central component of ongoing struggles for justice across the Arab region, we advance a media practice-based approach to explore the various ways in which political action and engagement now increasingly interlock with new imaging technologies in diverse local settings. The aim is to understand better how various individuals and groups across the Middle East use images and acts of image-making to give form to (actual and imagined) political change, cultivate new desires and therefore new political subjectivities, and mobilize and sustain emotional relationships with activists elsewhere.

Palestine – Nabi Saleh

Nabi Saleh is a small village outside Ramallah in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In December 2009, the village began weekly non-violent demonstrations to protest not only the expansion of the nearby illegal Israeli colony of Halamish but also to the entire system of control – of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons – through which Israel maintains its occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Despite arrests, injuries and deaths, the villagers, often joined by a significant number of journalists and Israeli and international activists, continue to march every Friday. The homegrown media team of Nabi Saleh has been integral to the sustenance of the protests, using the camera as a critical means of peaceful and popular resistance.

Image credit: Tal King ‘strange protest day at nabi saleh’

Palestine – Human Rights Defenders in Hebron

Human Rights Defenders is a grass-roots, non-partisan Palestinian organisation working to support nonviolent popular resistance through popular direct action and documentation of human rights violations committed by the Israeli occupation. It aims to document these violations through the distribution of cameras to Palestinian families in areas where violations occur on a continual basis.