By addressing the issues of water inequity, resource management, and waste, Skip Schiel is…creating a body of work that has both immediate and future relevance far beyond the Middle East.
—Sara Burke, co-editor, Peacework magazine
Skip Schiel with photography students, Gaza, 2005, photo by Ibrahem Khadra, Quaker Youth Program staff
Can you help?
I plan to return to Palestine/Israel in the summer of 2009 for another 3-month residency. As on my previous 4 journeys of discovery since 2003, I will volunteer my photography to organizations in the region, such as the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information and the American Friends Service Committee. For them I make photos; and I use a set to portray conditions and struggles—conditions of danger and oppression, struggles for freedom, justice, peace, secure living, and reconciliation. I agree with the eminent Israeli scholar, activist, and writer, Jeff Halper, that a new Middle Eastern Confederation is possible, drawing together contending parties into a union based on compassion and synergy. Think Europe prior to 1945 with its seemingly endless wars; and think the European Union, hopefully burying war as an instrument of change.
Rachel Corrie on YouTube
I’ll continue with my usual themes: hydropolitics, Bethlehem, Gaza, youth, non-violent resistance, holy sites, and Quakers. I assemble exhibits, slide shows, publications, a website (teeksaphoto.org) and a blog (skipschiel.wordpress.com). In the fall and winter of 2008 I traveled for 10 weeks on the West Coast from Alaska to California and the South from North Carolina to Florida, presenting my new multi media shows—more than 60 venues to some 2000 audience members (teeksaphoto.org/Pages/PublicPresentations.html). Plans are underway for returns to the South in fall 2009 and in 2010, New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and the Deep South. In addition, people have been encouraging me to have a professional video team construct a DVD of one or more of my presentations, enabling wider distribution of my photos.
Old City wall, Jerusalem, 2006
Light attracts me—the light of the Mediterranean region and the light of all the wisdom teachers, the luminaries, of that region. With an open heart, I hope to deepen my eye, my vision, to encompass both Palestinians and Israelis as they struggle against seemingly intractable forces to right the wrongs and correct the errors in the many legacies playing out in this region—“rage, rage against the dying of the light,” as Dylan Thomas wrote.
Skip Schiel in Dheheshe refugee camp, Bethlehem, 2003, photo by Mark Dahoud
Chief among the legacies besetting the region and the world: colonialism, the Jewish Shoah (holocaust) with its millennia-old predecessors in Christianity, the Palestinian Nakba (the catastrophe coinciding with the founding of the Israeli state in 1948), the role of the United States giving its unswerving validation of Israel, and the lack of beneficence from Arab states to the Palestinian movements for justice. In the new era of Obama-Biden, perhaps we can realistically hope for constructive change.
Dheheshe refugee camp, Bethlehem, 2003
With funding from private donations, grants, and money I raise through my slide shows and print sales—and with the irreplaceable support of my Quaker community— I will only ask my hosts for housing and a food stipend. If this is
not feasible, I shall simply donate my services.
Erez checkpoint/border terminal with Israel, from Gaza side, 2008
The cost of this upcoming journey—fees, airfare, photo equipment and supplies, uncovered housing, food, and local transport while in country, and postproduction expenses—is approximately $10,000.
Mens’ clothing store owner, Ramallah, 2007
Realizing many of us are in serious economic crisis and perhaps unable to be as generous as we might wish, I’d deeply appreciate any sort of contribution, large or small, whether money, airline ticket benefits, equipment (photographic or computer) or prayers. I welcome your suggestions about making this journey. You could also help by organizing a showing of my slides or photos in the fall and winter of 2009. Please visit teeksaphoto.org and skipschiel.wordpress.com for examples of my photography and writing on various themes.
Checks can be made out to “Skip Schiel” and mailed to 9 Sacramento St, Cambridge MA, 02138-184 or use PayPal on my website.
Israeli settlement/colony near Ramallah, 2005 c.
In the struggle is the hope,
What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow—this is the whole [Torah] Law, go and learn.