Solidarity in struggle : photography on the threshold between revolution and humanitarian violence

Mende, Doreen (HEAD - Genève, Haute école d'art et de design, HES-SO // Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale)

The essay departs from an image that was taken in a room in the Hotel Beau Rivage in Beirut in 1980 while the East-German photographer Horst Sturm and his Palestinian-Lebanese bodyguard Khaled ‘Mein Sandokan’ took a rest. It was taken in a political moment when the Palestinian struggle for the people changed from armed resistance against Israel’s occupation towards the continuation of the militant struggle by the means of photography. It is a moment when the Palestinian press agency searched for a new image strategy for the internationalization of the Cause while the Cold War fought its last territorial combats in proxy battles. It is the same moment when the term ‘solidarity’ equated the declaration of socialist internationalism during the global Cold War exactly in a situation when the Human Rights discourse became a declared objective of United Nation’s rhetoric. It is a moment when the revolutionary image, that portrayed the strength of the people’s struggle, changed towards a humanitarian image that exposed the people’s defeat as an economy of suffering. It is a moment when ‘Showing solidarity had become a bureaucratic act’ as the East-German filmmaker Iris Gusner concludes. Within the double-bind of the informal and the official, or the micro-political and the macro-political, it will become possible to discuss solidarity in struggle between the act of political (socialist) friendship and the beginning of humanitarian violence.

Article Type:
Design et Arts visuels
HEAD - Genève
HEAD Institut de recherche en art et en design - IRAD
14 p.
Published in:
Jerusalem quarterly
Numeration (vol. no.):
2016, 67, pp. 28-41
External resources:
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 Record created 2021-05-12, last modified 2021-05-12

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