Last year Khaled Jarrar, a rising Palestinian artist, began printing his own “State of Palestine” stamps, since law forbids the Palestinian postal service from issuing stamps with the politically-charged phrase. Jarrar issued the postage stamps to foreigners arriving in the occupied territories in Israel.
Jarrar would also stamp people’s passports both in Palestine and in West Germany near “Checkpoint Charlie,” a symbolic location that echoes the wall dividing Israel from the occupied territories. Even Slavoj Žižek had his passport stamped by Jarrar (photo below).
Jarrar took his activist project a step further and printed a stamp emblazoned with the Palestine Sun Bird and flowers for the 2012 Berlin Biennial. According to the Associated Press, Deutsche Post issued the postage stamps for usage in regular mail, with more than 20,000 stamps having been sold so far.
“After I printed official post stamps in Germany and Netherlands, people started using these stamps to send letters all over the world,” Jarrar wrote in an email to AP. ”We are not allowed in the Palestinian post office to print postage stamps with the words ‘State of Palestine’.”
It’s rather interesting, too, that Germany’s Deutsche Post decided to support Jarrar’s project, since it Israel could take offense to the move. However, who can deny a nation’s right to sovereignty? Well, Israel and ironically even Germany itself, which, as the most powerful economic force in Europe has forced austerity measures on Greece and Spain in return for bailouts.
By supporting Jarrar, however, at least they’re doing something positive.
The Berlin Biennial opens April 27.