23. 'They treat us like cattle...'
Bethlehem, West Bank - Palestine
Giclée print on Hahnemühle photo rag paper
30 x 42 cm
5/5 edition (+ AP)
"I think back to the other day when a man from Hebron told me how people feel like cattle in this place. Murmurings breaks. The crowd surges forward. Voices heighten as the mass of bodies tighten. The greater the squeeze on torsos, the greater the collective cries of pain.
There is something profoundly disturbing to me about hearing a men in their 50s collectively cry out in physical pain. Like seeing older family members unexpectedly cry when you are younger. It is something society doesn’t condition you to expect. So part of you reels. The same part of me is reeling when I hear the ‘breadwinners’ of Palestinian families being squeezed into limestone, concrete and metal checkpoint for analysis and sorting. Most will end up at low paid / labour intense jobs for Israeli construction firms around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Some will be told to go home.
They have to get to the ID checking booths first. The crowd surges again. The Israelis must have opened the first turnstiles about 150 metres ahead of me up the ramp. I tuck my arms and cross them over my chest like an Egyptian mummy except I’m wrapped in a crowd of commuters. Loose arms can get caught between people in the heaving of the crowd and go in drastically different directions to your body. A painful lesson. I’m at the bottle neck into the checkpoint entry ramp where everyone funnels and I’m completely packed into the sea of people. I can’t move my torso in any direction as bodies press against mine. The crowd surges again but this time quickly. I realise there is no control. I lift my feet off the ground and let the crowd carry me the remaining 5 metres up into the ramp."