Banksy’s classic Christmas card shows a picture of Joseph and Mary crossing the desert on their way to Bethlehem and are blocked by the infamous apartheid wall that separates Israel from Palestine and the West Bank. The card has recently gone viral again because of the holidays, but it is actually a few years old and seems to circulate around this time every year.
The piece first appeared at Santa’s Ghetto exhibit in London in 2005, which followed Banksy’s trip to the middle east.
Regardless of when the image was created, it sends a powerful message about how divided the middle east is on racial and ethnic lines, creating a massive refugee crisis, and widespread ghettos in many parts of the region. This current reality is obviously highlighted by the biblical story of Joseph and Mary, two refugees themselves who were said to travel across those lands thousands of years ago.
When the state of Israel was created instead of integrating the Arab and Jewish cultures together, the ruling class put policies in place that would force the Palestinian people onto unfertile ghettos, separated from water sources and food growing lands by giant walls. The Palestinians were also not given the right to organize, own property, or work, and without these basic freedoms, they remain refugees. These policies would result in a growing hostility between the two groups which eventually flared up in physical violence. This violence has spread all throughout the oil-rich Middle East and has allowed the western establishment to have a permanent involvement in the region’s affairs, just as they planned.
The Palestinians have been tossed out into the wilderness, displaced from their homes and most of them are only asking for the ability to work, trade and own property. To be given this freedom would prevent them from being displaced again and would establish a proper economy so the Palestinian people can have a fighting chance to become a thriving society. The American government, which is also a banker backed colony, used these same policies to wipe out the native people that inhabited North America. The Native Americans were also treated as exiles on their own land and were pushed further and further away from their homes until the only places left for them were small reservations that were mostly in the desert.