30 August 2007

31 August 2007 - UK joins the Arab League, and Palestine bear-ly beats Israel

Jerusalem is currently hosting the United Buddy Bears, a traveling exhibition that features 132 identically-shaped bears, decorated by artists from around the world to represent their respective nations. I visited the exhibition a couple of weeks ago with friends, but I happened to be passing by again earlier tonight—my last evening in Jerusalem this summer—and I thought I’d have another look.

The bears are arranged roughly alphabetically, with the U.S. next to the U.K. (Apologies for the grainy photos – I took them with my computer.) The U.S is well-represented by a patriotic bear decorated as the Statue of Liberty. The U.K. bear is wrapped in the Union Jack, but is also wearing a jalabiyya and kaffiyeh, not exactly national costume. Multiculturalism run amok? Foreign policy message? Or just fun?

The Israeli bear is well-executed but somewhat disappointing. It is a wailing wall with a bleeding heart—several bleeding hearts, as if obsessed by memories of past episodes of suffering. (The expression of the guy in the picture says it all.) The Palestinian bear, by contrast, was one of the best (perhaps even the best), dressed in colorful national costume, right up to the checkered kaffiyeh around its neck.


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