February: Tales and Pictures in New Zealand

The “Occupation and Resistance- Photos from Palestine” exhibition started with a bang on 2nd of February at Thistle Hall in Wellington. Around 150 people came along to the opening night at to see for themselves the striking images from Palestine by the Israel-based photography collective ‘Activestills’. Delicious snacks and wine were served, accompanied by music from local musicians Don Franks and Albert Williams. A reading from Sharyn Lock’s book Gaza: Beneath the Bombs by Gilly Gates left few dry eyes in the crowd.

Throughout the rest of the week a steady flow of people came daily to check out the exhibition which also featured video footage from weekly demonstrations in Palestine. The exhibition received wide media coverage, including articles in the Wellingtonian and the Dominion Post, interviews on local radio stations and a special on TV3’s Nightline News.

Two events held during the week were also very successful: around 20 people came on Thursday the 4th for the screening of the film Slingshot Hip Hop about the journey of Palestinian hip hop artists.

The teach-in on Saturday the 6th had around 50 people attending who, despite the heat, engaged in lively debates and ate delicious food provided by the local Food Not Bombs group. Don Carson and Nicholas Boyack talked about the history of the conflict and the Surafand massacre in 1918, Hamid Abu Shanab, Kerem Blumberg and Te Kupu spoke about personal experiences from Palestine, Israel and Aotearoa. A discussion was held with local Wellington groups; Students for Palestine, Wellington Palestine Group and Workers’ Party about their recent activities and future ideas for campaigns such as opposing the reopening of the Israeli Embassy and a general boycott campaign in tandem with the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

Great interest was expressed to hold the exhibition in other cities around Aotearoa/NZ, and we hope this will happen over the next few months. Alongside it we hope to build a growing grassroots movement here in Aotearoa to support the struggle of Palestinians.

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