Issue 11.2, May 1996

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Essay Excerpt

"One of the most striking features of the cultural landscape of the occupied West Bank at the height of the intifada, in the late 1980s and early in 1990, was the writing on the walls. The eye was immediately drawn to the hastily inscribed, but on occasion rather painstakingly painted, graffiti splashed on nearly every stone wall in the area. Usually, each graffito carried the signature of a Palestinian political faction, either its full name or its acronym. Large blotches of black or white paint, either brush or spray painted, overlaid some graffiti and were intended to prevent their being read. One could read the battle of the walls much the way an archaeologist reads stratigraphy - layer by layer - each layer of paint indicating a partial and temporary vistory in an ongoing battle."

From "The Writing on the Walls: The Graffiti of the Intifada" by Julie Peteet