Scar of Bethlehem: Banksy unveils dark nativity in Israeli-occupied West Bank

The ‘Scar of Bethlehem’ is installed at Banksy’s Walled-Off Hotel, where all rooms overlook a concrete section of the barrier built by Israel to cut off the occupied West Bank from Israeli territory. (AFP)
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Updated 21 December 2019

Scar of Bethlehem: Banksy unveils dark nativity in Israeli-occupied West Bank

  • The work is installed at Banksy’s Walled-Off Hotel, where all rooms overlook a concrete section of the barrier built by Israel
  • Israel began building the separation barrier in 2002 during the Palestinian uprising

BETHLEHEM, Palestinian Territories: A manger scene juxtaposed against concrete blocks seemingly pierced by a mortar shell: with Christmas looming, the latest Bethlehem offering by secretive artist Banksy appeared Saturday in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Dubbed the “Scar of Bethlehem,” the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph are backlit through damaged concrete, chiseled pockmarks exploding out from a gaping hole in four directions to approximate the Christmas Star.
The work is installed at Banksy’s Walled-Off Hotel, where all rooms overlook a concrete section of the barrier built by Israel to cut off the occupied West Bank from Israeli territory.
“Love” and “peace” are respectively graffiti tagged in English and French on the artistic installation’s concrete blocks, while three large wrapped presents are at the forefront of the scene.
“It is a nativity,” the hotel’s manager Wissam Salsaa said after the piece was installed. “Banksy has his own contribution to Christmas.”
“It is a great way to bring up the story of Bethlehem, the Christmas story, in a different way — to make people think more” of how Palestinians live in Bethlehem.
Salsaa calls the Israeli wall a “scar” that should induce “shame in anyone who supported” its construction.
Israel began building the separation barrier — in parts concrete, with other stretches consisting of fencing — in 2002 during the Palestinian uprising, or intifada.
Built mostly inside the West Bank, Israel says it is necessary to prevent attacks, but Palestinians label it an apartheid wall, separating them from Jerusalem.
Traditional Bethlehem Christmas festivities will take place next week at the church built on the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born.
The manger scene and hotel — an establishment opened two years ago — are far from Banksy’s only West Bank imprint.
In 2007, he painted a number of artworks in Bethlehem, including a young girl frisking an Israeli soldier pinned up against a wall.
In 2005, he sprayed nine stenciled images at different locations along the eight-meter-high (27-foot) separation barrier.
They included a ladder on the wall, a little girl carried away by balloons and a window opening onto a peaceful mountain landscape.
Palestinian graffiti artists, too, have made the separation wall a place of political and artistic expression.
Like elsewhere in the world, Banksy’s works in the occupied territory have become tourist attractions — in part due to him often ghosting in to create his works in the dead of night.
The identity of the world’s best-known graffiti artist remains a mystery and he was not present during the revealing of his latest work.
“Banksy is trying to be a voice for those that cannot speak,” Salsaa said.
He “is creating a new model of resistance through art.”
Banksy rose to prominence after his subversive artworks started to appear in public spaces in the United Kingdom in the early 2000s, and he has long worked on themes of violence and conflict.


Did Biden just ‘Inshallah’ Trump on his taxes during the US presidential debate? 

Updated 30 September 2020

Did Biden just ‘Inshallah’ Trump on his taxes during the US presidential debate? 

DUBAI: Shortly after the US presidential debate, Muslims took to social media to have their own debate on whether former Vice President Joe Biden used the Islamic term “Inshallah” with President Donald Trump.
During the televised debate that aired on Tuesday, Biden pushed his rival to release his tax returns.
Trump said his records would be released “when they were ready,” after he was asked about a New York Times report that said the president had only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and none in 10 of the previous 15 years. 
“When? Inshallah,” Biden butted in, leading social media users to begin their own debate on whether the Vice President used the Arabic word for “God willing.”

 


Although the term is often used in its true meaning by Muslims, it has also been known to have been used informally by some to indicate something is unlikely to happen.

 


“Did he really say Inshallah tho(ough)?” One user commented on the video that was shared by Araby Society on the social media platform, Instagram. 
Although another wrote: “I heard ‘when…in July?”

 

 

 

 

 


In what some say was the most chaotic presidential debate in recent years, the two men frequently talked over each other with Trump interrupting, nearly shouting, so often that Biden eventually snapped at him, “Will you shut up, man?”
“The fact is that everything he’s said so far is simply a lie,” Biden said. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar.”