Monday, October 20, 2008

Censorship in the Mission

This mural, on 24th St in San Francisco's Mission district, is one I've often noticed and liked. Painted by the group Homey (Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth) it unfolds across 117 feet of concrete, showing people challenging the barriers --cultural, societal and physical -- that oppress and divide them. But I never really knew anything about its history.
Today, I learned the panel above originally depicted these figures bursting a Palestine-shaped hole through the wall, and that the woman on the bottom was first painted with her kuffiyeh covering her face.

When the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and the local office of the Anti-Defamation League caught wind of it, they pressed the San Francisco Arts Commission to have the mural changed, and managed to suspend the community beautification grant that funded the project until Homey agreed to compromise on their design.

What does it say when nice, liberal San Francisco is comfortable with public art and public discourse that challenges the legitimacy of the wall on the US-Mexican border, but censors any similar challenges to the wall between Israel and Palestine?

[In other news, right after I started typing this, a car window got smashed right below my bedroom window. My neighbors ran the guy off, but this is at least the second time this week. The neighborhood has been crazy lately]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As I'm realizing with the Riverside Chinatown debate -- it all comes down to purse strings and city council voting politics.