Around the Shanghai Expo: Palestinian Pavilion

Posted: August 6, 2010 in Interpreter
Tags: , , ,

This is going to be the last in this series on the Expo for the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter blog, this time looking at the Palestinian pavilion. I have enjoyed doing this, and may write something larger somewhere on this subject. In the meantime, I owe eagle-eyed David for helping point out some of the detail in this post. One small detail that was lost, however, the picture of Arafat that is included was opposite, not behind, the one of Abbas and Arafat as you walk in.

Around the Shanghai Expo: Palestinian Pavilion

Raffaello Pantucci is a Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. His previous posts, by pavilion: Britain, Iran, Afghanistan, DPRK, Pakistan, Australia.

I failed to ask where the money for the site came from, but it seemed clear from the life-size pictures of Yassir Arafat and Abu Abbas at the entrance that the organisation of the pavilion was carried out by Fatah-leaning elements. Directly behind these portraits, an even bigger shrine to Arafat:

At the back there is a section venerating ‘Jerusalem City of Peace’, which is, I suppose, a nod to the ‘Better City, Better Life’ theme of the Expo. They have a small screening room showing a film about Jerusalem, and a number of screens in front showing off Palestinian theater and dance.

My girlfriend was rather shocked to catch a bit of a biblical performance in which a mother appeared to be throwing her baby around (I wasn’t able to ascertain which tale this was and would welcome any suggestions).

There were not that many Chinese in the Palestinian Pavilion when we went, and those that were there dutifully passed through en route to see the man with the visa stamp. This was probably not a bad thing, as the version of events being portrayed was a touch one-sided. For example, what is missing from this description of Palestine’s location?

The first line reads: ‘Palestine located in the heart of the Holy Land surrounded by Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.’

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