Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, May 2009
Give me a smile instead of a bullet
By AleXsandro Palombo
ccun.org, May 20, 2009
Multireligiosity and multiculturalism are the characteristic features of the Palombology philosophy which through t-shirts, slogans and illustrations promotes faith and awareness, integration and dialogue between cultures, concepts of value to be reawakened and expressed openly.
«Against war and a broken childhood» aleXsandro Palombo presents a strong awareness campaign through photographs and series of artistic t-shirts inspired by the children of the REMEDIAL EDUCATION CENTER (REC), the Palestinian NGO in Jabalia which provides psychological and educational support to children who are victims of the conflict in the Gaza strip. alexsando Palombo’s artistic research has always sought to be thought-provoking and confront thorny social, human and political issues of relevance. Palombology’s aim is to express the dreams and wishes of these children, promoting a culture of tolerance, equality and love.
A strong and innovative campaign revealing a different Palestine, a land devoted to the culture of peace, love and brotherhood, denouncing war, fanaticism and violence which is the image we usually associate with it. The Palestinian educational system suffers from a great lack of infrastructure and funds due to the difficult political situation; for this reason disadvantaged children risk being abandoned to themselves without the support of public institutions. The REC in cooperation with the Department of Education of the Palestinian Authority and the UNWRA (the United Nations office for refugees) responds to the needs of children with psychological and learning difficulties resulting from the difficult social conditions they are forced to live in.
It promotes education through special and personalized programs which
foster communication and non-violence in interpersonal relationships
enforcing an innovative educational method which is extraordinary
considering the difficult conditions they are operating in. It operates
three specialized centres which welcomes 500 children and carries out
activities in all the area’s primary schools reaching over 6000 children.
The Director of the REC, Husam Hamdouna, stated «The children in the Gaza Strip account for 50% of the Palestinian population; over 322 were killed in the last Israeli raids and hundreds more lost everything: their family, home, clothes, toys, books and school. Support through a correct education will enable us to build a future of peace», «our special gratitude goes to aleXsandro Palombo who with this important artistic project is giving our children a voice».
Children in Gaza responded to aleXsandro Palombo’s invitation with enthusiasm and have come up with a series of clear simple messages of impact which express a desire for hope while contributing to the development of their sense of democracy and civics.
The passion, the depth and the immediacy with which they elaborated their slogans is impressive. Here are some: “We are Children for life not for death”, “ Keep wars away from us”, “I give you a branch of olive, give me a kiss“, “We love the children of the world so love us”, “We are your friends be our friends.”
“ Give me a smile instead of a bullet ” is one of the more intense and poetic messages, a slash at people’s consciences, to which aleXsandro Palombo added an image which immerges us in the crude reality, documenting the tragedy of the children in Gaza who flee from the Israeli raids.
“With love from Israel” is the title of the panel which Palombo created to denounce a broken childhood on all fronts. It portrays an atrocious scene taken from real life: Israeli girls playing at writing messages on the bombs which will be dropped on Gaza.
aleXsandro Palombo stated «The joy of Palestinian children hangs from the thread of hope. War against childhood is unacceptable on all fronts. Many of the children who survived the last raids in Gaza clinged to their mother’s body for days while the Israeli army would not allow relief workers to reach the wounded. The solitude, misery, depression, aggressiveness and fear are just some of the problems which afflict them and through artistic activities a lot can be done to rekindle their dreams and imagination. Only by giving voice to their wishes can we build a future of peace, children have no responsibility. Indifference makes us all responsible».
Palombology is also committed to aid through charity: for every t-shirt
purchased a part of the sale will go to an International Ngo in aid of
children who are victims of war conflicts.
AleXsandro Palombo, is a multicultural designer, artist and activist endowed with an amazing sense of colour, a visionary author and illustrator with a surrealist spirit and the capacity to make the invisible visible.
Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, Palestine and the Keffiyah, Islam and Christianity, faith and spirituality are only some of the themes which throughout the years have characterized aleXsandro Palombo’s artistic research and language, always projected towards a new fusion of styles and thoughts, costume and reality, art and sacredness.
Amongst his latest works met with great International acclaim are a series of illustrated works including "Obama", "Second War Puzzle", "Israel meets Palestine" and “Jesus in Jerusalem”; the latter is one of his most significant works which confronts the difficult theme of the dialogue between Jews and Christians.
The International press has defined him a talent, “an artist out of the
ordinary with a sometimes genius approach”, “the designer with the
highest conscience flow.”
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