Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

[Cork] Talk & Exhibition: Photography Under Fire with Palestinian photojournalist Mohammad Alazza (IPSC)

As part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2018, on Tuesday 6th March the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign is honoured to host a public talk and exhibition by award-winning Palestinian photojournalist and film-maker Mohammad Alazza from Aida refugee camp. The talk will take place at 7pm in Wynn’s Hotel, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. Come along to hear firsthand from someone who reports from the frontline of the Israeli occupation.

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What does it mean to be a photographer rooted in community, especially when that community is a Palestinian refugee camp? Mohammad Al-Azza, who teaches youth about photography and documentary production in the Lajee Center where he began his own work as a photographer, discusses the challenges journalists face in the midst of demonstrations and clashes. He presents photographs from three different exhibits he produced in Aida Camp, one of which is his arrest and injury to the face. His work  highlights the challenges facing the Palestinian refugee community, specifically in Bethlehem’s Aida camp, due to poverty and intense military presence. His work also celebrates the vitality of this community.

About the speaker

Mohammad Al-Azza is a refugee from the village of Beit Jibreen who was born and lives in Aida Refugee Camp. He is a photographer, film-maker, and director of the Arts & Media Unit of Lajee Center in Aida Refugee Camp, Palestine. In this capacity, he helps youth to produce photography and videoprojects. His first documentary, Ali Wall, won the Global Jury Prize of the It Is Apartheid Film Contest (2010), and his documentary Everyday Nakba (2011) has been screened in numerous festivals. His award-winning photography on media representation, refugee rights, and popular protest has exhibited in Palestine, France, and the United States, among other places. Mohammad himself has been a victim of the Israeli occupation’s war on Palestinian civilians when he hospitalised after being shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet while taking pictures of Israeli occupation forces invading the camp.

About Aida Refugee Camp

With a population of 6,000 people in an area just 0.1km², Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem houses families who fled their homes during the 1947-49 Nakba when three quarters of a million Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homeland to facilitate the creation of the state of Israel. In the shadow of Israel’s illegal apartheid wall, Aida is a frequent target of the Israel occupation forces – raids, arrests, shootings and beatings of children and young adults are routine, as are attacks on the camps youth and cultural centres.

One infamous videos shows Israeli occupation troops firing teargas on a playground full of children – one of the few open spaces in the densely populated camp – while another video captured the moment Israeli soldiers drove around late at night using a loudspeaker to bellow threats to gas the camp until everyone dies. Indeed, when it comes to teargas – a chemical weapon – Aida is estimated to be one of the most teargassed areas in the world, and as a result many of the residents of the camp complain of chronic breathing and skin problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disruption, and psychological distress affecting adults and children alike. Tear gas is a chemical weapon, supposedly non-lethal, but it in fact kills and injures – several Palestinians have died either from being hit by cannisters or from heart attacks or other fatal ailments brought on by breathing in the toxic fumes.

Hosted by the Cork branch of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign as part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2018. For more Israeli Apartheid Week events, see here.