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Photographer's Note

One of the advantages of living somewhere where an occupying force refuses to allow you the use of electricity is that low wattage generated light, kerosene lamps and candles give the visiting photographer some beautiful hues and tones to work with. It doesn't have too many advantages for the family who live here though.

Whatever the reasons for the wider conflict my heart goes out to the Palestinian Christian family I stayed with, increasingly besieged on their mountain top near Bethlehem. Dedicated to a peaceful resolution to the region's problems thay have in so many ways become the victims of all sides but have not given way to victimhood......in their own capacity they are very actively working for peace in simple and inspiring ways. It was a privilege to work with them last summer.

International visitors and volunteers are highly regarded by many Palestinians, they can provide witness, offer some protection and of course the eyes to see and voices to tell a more balanced truth to the world. For the majority of Palestinian children it is their only opportunity to make contact with a wider world.

This family would no longer have their land without the concerted protest of internationals which prevented its seizure a few years ago. On another occasion the owner was at risk of losing his life to an armed settler and then arrested for protesting the illegal occupation of his own land. Swiss, German, English and American supporters wrote hundreds of letters to the Israeli government and an Israeli lawyer took on the case. He was successful in protecting the land for another round of judicial procedure. Daoud is 'lucky' - he is one of the few Palestinian landowners to have papers proving his familiy's ownership of the land in this area.

Card playing is a game of chance and a game of skill..........chance and skill can be life and death factors in an environment where a slow burning war persists. I saw something profoundly thoughtful going on in Zoe's face when I took this - way beyond the card game - I wanted to capture it. She is one of those visiting 'Internationals' - a very fine and increasingly successful photographer and a very principled person......passionate about social justice.

You can read a little about an exhibition she had at the recent Format 06 festival in the UK here

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Additional Photos by Kev Ryan (KevRyan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1798 W: 194 N: 5130] (22952)
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