Thoughts on Palestine

Via strange maps (and there by way of Guerre ou Paix), another look at Palestine:

They write:

This map excerpt of the environs of Jerusalem is strangely reminiscent of this one, showing Belgium partially submerged along ethnic lines. Both maps solve the seemingly intractible disputes inherent in their human geography by flooding out the “other”.

The full map is entitled Un monde à l’envers (’An Inverted World’) and can be found on page 129 of the 2009 edition of the Atlas du Monde diplomatique. It imagines the Palestinian areas, divided and separated by Israeli settlements, checkpoints and barriers, as an actual archipelago.

The excerpt shows Bethlehem as a coastal town on Holy Island, connected by ferry to Ar-Ram and Ramallah to the north, across the Jerusalem Canal. Other marine features on this map are Cape Elzariya and Cape Dibwan, the Ramalliot Archipelago and the Western Ramalliot Islands (both named, presumably, after Ramallah).

If recent thinking has been about Heidegger and the question of the limit in this articulation of what it means to be "human", this map might be read as another way of thinking about limits, about territory. It's also a remarkable demonstration of the tremendous rhetorical power of maps. To quote John Pickles roughly, maps precede territory, they precede an experience of it. What would it do to our understandings of the question of Palestine if nightly news reports used this map all the time instead of the normal map where Israel is shown beside its Occupied Territories?


Popular Posts