Posted by: audreydk | August 2, 2010

Street Art

Like many cities, Beirut is filled with graffiti and it often makes for formidable entertainment when one is on a long walk. Many marks are political statements (of which I know little) and some are more general aesthetic tags by artists, or kids with extra time and spray paint.  Above is a twist on the classic Mediterranean and Middle Easten Eye in the Hand of Fatima.  Traditionally, the eye is supposed to ward off enemies, envy and bad mojo in general, but this one is making a distinctly brusque statement and there is no need to translate the Arabic! Below is a more classic image of the evil eye from the web in jewelry form, which very common in Beirut and all over the Mediterranean world.

Above, the red “Intifada” refers to numerous Palestinian political movements or “uprisings”.  The picture below captures how everyday life and politics mix in the act of boycotting anything from Nestle to the popular clothing store H & M. Boycotting Nestle here is about as easy as boycotting Proctor and Gamble, or corn syrup in the States. It can be done, but not without an effort, and many people I talk to claim to be “cafeteria” boycotters 🙂 .

Mark of a local hip-hop band that tags everything!

And back to politics…the old proverb about “good walls” may ring true everywhere, but here it refers to Palestinian-Israeli relations, or Arab-Israeli relations more generally.  The gift-wrapped package to the right is a bomb entitled “Gaza.”  While the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is always on the minds of the Lebanese, their opinions and beliefs are extremely diverse and the images here represent only a fraction of the local political spectrum.


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