All-seeing "eyes" in Al-Quds testify to Israeli violence in Silwan
Murals painted by the Madaa Silwan Creative Center aim to send a message that the world is watching the Israeli occupation in Silwan.
A group of Palestinian artists has embellished walls in the eastern part of Al-Quds, with wide-open eyes, painted in large as a reminder to the Israeli occupiers that all eyes are on Silwan, a neighborhood threatened with forced evictions.
The "I Witness Silwan" project challenges "Israel's" lack of accountability and impunity in its endless killings and human rights abuses. The eyes represent those of Palestinian and international leaders and figures, including George Floyd, and Silwan Community Member Nihad Siyam.
Floyd's relevance to the mural is his direct testimony to racist violence and 'police states', such as that of the United States, which heavily funds police and aggressive authorities to maintain order and protect the comprador class. In this context, "Israel" is an entity built on military violence, as part of an extreme form of capitalism, and George Floyd is, metaphorically, alive to witness it all.
Goldfinches and poppies, a national flower, are also spotted in the art.
The murals are scattered across impoverished, disenfranchised neighborhoods in Al-Quds, and their aim is to make one feel they are being watched wherever they walk in the neighborhood.
“The staring eyes say to people that we see them and they should see us too,” says Jawad Siyam, director of Madaa-Silwan Creative Center. “We want to say that we are here — we love our land and our home.”
The center has some 2,000 feet of graffiti and paintings, working with some US artists since 2015. The organizers spoke that the project attempts at drawing attention to the evictions that Palestinians are facing, particularly in Silwan, a neighborhood in Al-Quds' old city.
The organizers, in addition, also said that the project aims to counter Israeli settlers that are working to strip the Palestinians of their homes and steal their land and heritage.
In parallel, Palestinians in the West Bank face mass arrests, home raids, targeted killings, and eviction threats.
In late May, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and their homes in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, smashing citizens' vehicles, storming homes, throwing stones, and shooting live bullets
Similar to Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah has been a pressure point that the Israeli occupation has been capitalizing on as a weapon. The occupation has aimed to steal and destroy homes there, looking for forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes, which they have been living in for generations.