The Voice of Wakefield High School

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A Banksy Tea Party

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Anonymous Street Artist, Banksy, hosts a mocking tea party in Palestine

In the West Bank city of Bethlehem in Palestine, the anonymous artist, Banksy, continues their unique way of expressing their political opinions, by throwing a mocking party on a very controversial day. The scene was set. Red curtains, tattered British flags, tables decorated with cakes and biscuits– the only pops of color in a dying country. The long tables, with child refugees playing their parts as ‘guests of honor.’  All celebrating the event that began a century-long war- The Balfour Declaration.

The day of November 1 marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the day a letter from a British Foreign Secretary was sent to a Jewish leader in Britain, declaring land for the country of Israel, land that had belonged to Palestine. This letter would essentially begin the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which would kill millions and displace many, many more.

Banksy, in the alleyways of Bethlehem, hosted a mocking party, feigning to be hosted by England. They invited children from a nearby refugee camp, dressed them in fake military helmets, and sat them at a long table to ‘celebrate’ the anniversary of their years-long struggle. An old woman, dressed like the Queen, presented Banksy’s newest piece. Behind a red curtain, engraved into the graffiti-covered wall, read, “Er… SORRY.”

The entire event was mocking and satirical. Banksy imitated the British taking and giving land that wasn’t theirs, thus beginning a devastating war. The emcee spoke to the guests through the point of view of a British official, apologizing for their mistakes through a rustic looking cake. On the other hand, actual British officials were celebrating and congratulating the anniversary, not seeing anything wrong with the event, instead seeing it as a wonderful part of history. According to The Guardian, British Prime Minister, Theresa May said that Britain was “proud of [their] pioneering role in the creation of the state of Israel” at a gala dinner held to celebrate the anniversary.

It’s not that this event was a horrible event in history, but it began a horrific time in history. These people aren’t against the country of Israel, instead the way the country was made. Forcing away land that clearly belonged to another country is no way to create a country, nor build good relations. Britain has a long history of jumping around and pretending that all land is theirs, even when there are people who have been living there for centuries. Now, even with all the conflict, they didn’t deem it appropriate to apologize.

In research done by B’Tselem, 10,752 Palestinians and Israelis have been killed in the conflict, since September 29, 2000. Eighty-eight percent of them were Palestinian, and twelve percent were Israeli. Another 95,299 Palestinians have been injured.

It is disheartening how most people do not seem to care enough to help or stop these atrocities from being committed. ”

News of Palestine is never displayed on the news and is only seen through dated Facebook posts. The events in Palestine and Israel do not directly impact individuals living in the United States, but they should affect United States citizens just because they are humans. The Palestine dispute is not a matter of race, religion, or nationality- it’s a humanitarian crisis.

Along with so many more crises and genocides left unheard, this should not just be another forgotten crisis. Especially since there are refugees attempting to seek asylum in the United States, as Americans, students should be more informed of conflicts overseas. When laws like the Travel Ban are put in place, which banned visitors from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen– these refugees are the ones impacted by them. Instead of securing a new home in a much safer country, refugees are sent back into unsafe countries where they are unsure of their well being. Our generation, being the future leaders of the United States, should start learning more of other cultures and countries to learn exactly what is causing so much conflict overseas in places like Palestine and Syria– and stand up and help. As students, we may just be ‘kids’ but we have a voice we can use. Let’s not forget the people calling for help.

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The Voice of Wakefield High School
A Banksy Tea Party