Gaza gets the Banksy treatment

Gaza gets the Banksy treatment
Fighting the siege of Gaza with a spraycan in his hand, renowned street artist Banksy has released a mock holiday video that highlights the human cost of Israel's aggression.
2 min read
26 Feb, 2015
Banksy's latest work aims at highlighting the suffering the people of Gaza endure

After tunneling into the besieged landstrip, street artist Banksy has made Gaza his latest gallery. The anonymous British street artist released a two-minute documentary shot in Gaza that coincided with his visit, aimed at displaying the destruction of the land strip and the grim reality of life for its population.

The video mimics travel adverts and invites viewers to discover Gaza as a new destination. "Make this the year you discover a new destination."

Banksy begins the documentary by entering Gaza through a tunnel, and exits into the ruins of houses destroyed by Israeli bombs. The commentary is highly satirical, and Banksy describes the journey into Gaza as "well away from the tourist track, access is via a network of illegal tunnels".

The dark humour continues as Banksy describes Gaza as a place that locals like it so much they never leave, before adding "because they're not allowed to" in parenthesis.

It has been six months since the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, which left tens of thousands of Gazans homeless. Despite generous donations made by international donors, very little has changed on the ground. With building materials not allowed into the strip, the much touted reconstruction of Gaza has never happened.

The remaining walls of destruction are treated as a canvas by Banksy, who adds some colour with his spray paint to desolate wastelands.

     Banksy describes Gaza as a place that locals like it so much they never leave (because they're not allowed to).

One of the most eye-catching drawings is of a white cat with a pink ribbon playing with a metal ball.

"A local man came up and said, 'Please, what does this mean?' I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website, but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens."

The latest Gaza artwork has become a social media hit overnight, and #Banksy has been trending on Facebook. Many have shared images from the video and expressed their support for the artist.

The documentary ends with a clear political statement attacking the futility of "neutrality":

"If we wash your hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful, we don't remain neutral."