Eyeless in Gaza: Then and Now

My thoughts on Gaza, during the Iraq War, and Bush presidency and Now (Oct 7, 2023 Israel  & Palestine War) ”

Eyeless in Gaza

Image above is not in the panel series I painted, titled Eyeless in Gaza, It is called War & Peace, I selected for this page as it is a painting that I did in 1987 which captures ‘war and peace, as expresionism (a style of painting, music, or drama in which the artist or writer seeks to express emotional experience rather than impressions of the external world.)

The Link, above–Eyeless in Gaza– displays my series of  nine (9) images, as a panel.

This series of paintings for “Eyeless in Gaza” was created  as figurative abstract work—faces without eyes—placing these images in Gaza; the principal city in the Gaza Strip.

Huxley’s central theme in his book Eyeless in Gaza is the failure of dogmatism. Huxley, it is reported, took the title for his novel from Milton’s poem ‘Samson Agonistes.’ Bedford, in Aldous Huxley’s book, Eyeless in Gaza is : “searching for knowledge and intelligence, the true experience of reality, the concern for the present and the future of mankind.”

Gaza is said to be a “city of historical and religious importance.” Gaza came under Israel occupation in 1967, and terminated occupation in 2005. In May 1994 the city became the headquarters of the new Palestine Authority, which administers Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In September 1995 Israel and the PLO signed a second peace agreement extending the Palestinian Authority to some other West Bank towns. The agreement also established an elected 88-member Palestinian Council, which held its inaugural session in Gaza in March 1996. Gaza today during the Israel-Palestein War, which began with the attack and slaughter of Israel settlerors, on Oct 7, 2023-and is  ongoing, with over 11,000 Palestine civilians dead. The government of Isarel, a right-wing group, state that Israel will destroy Hamas, who invaded Isreal and killed thousands of its citizens, many killed in horiffic ways.

Palestine since the intifada in 1987, remains the center for political unrest and confrontation between Israel and Palestine, now a declartion of  war on Hamas confronts the entire region. The City often teatering, some say, an economic disaster. Now, with the onslought by the Israel military, it is a ‘Lunar Landscape,’ rubble on rubble, with better than  75% of the housing destroyed in both  Southern and Northern Gaza. With a peace treaty not in sight, merely a pause of hostilities, thousands of innocent Palestinians are homeless[Various sources used for this summary on Gaza]

Gaza, occupied by Egypt in the 15th Century, captured by the Arabs in AD 600’s, taken by Christian Crusaders in the 12th Century, returned to Muslim control in 1187; it fell to the Ottomans in the 16thCentury and was taken by the British during WW I. And on, and on, goes the outlandish history of the Gaza Strip.

We entered the 21st century with hope that at long last a true, honorable, settlement between Israel and Palestine would finally be realized. Sept 11th brought all eyes to focus on terrorism and then by subterfuge Iraq. I am not suggesting that the Bush administration purposely mislead the American people. It was, however, a blind administration! And, President Arafat? Another blind person!

My paintings declare that we are ‘Eyeless’ in Gaza; and  ‘eyeless’ in our war in Iraq, as well. For we simply can’t get out of the trap we have set for ourselves; witness the many changes in position taken by the Bush administration on terrorism, on Iraq, on the entire Middle East., and then a war that was based on fabrication and lies, and it ended with only added failure, no sustained peace and with American, additional failure in governance.  There was a Iraq war policy, yes,; however it only sustained the policy of ;dogmatism. What more can you expect, from either side, all sides, Israel, Palestine the USA, all , when the principal players are blind. AND, today, (2023) no better, in fact more blind than ever. (If such can ever be possible)

Perhaps, Gaza, will some day find a solution for its people, composed entirely of Muslim Palestinian Arabs; swelled after the Arab Israeli war of 1948. But it will not find it for now, as all attention is focused on the Israel-Palestine War  and another possible long and tortured occupation by white, non Arab western, mostly Christian-Jewish— armed to the teeth— winners of the war but losers at the end of hostilities. There seems to be no way out.

Reviewed in 2000, Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza is said to “symbolize the ferment of the thirties [written in 1936], the opposition between political extremes (communism/fascism, pacifism/militarism) that was eventually resolved by war [WW II]” Anthony Beavis is the central character in the novel and it tells his life story. In the final chapter Beavis goes to speak at a pacifist meeting in the face of death threats.

It is not my intention to do political art, rather to convey the sense of hopelessness—the ‘eyeless’ face of our current times.

I guess that I am hoping for a miracle cure for self-induced blindness.

———————————COMMENT and I THINK, SPOT ON——————–

Joyce Ellen Weinstein

With all due respect…….Gaza has NOT been occupied by Israel since 2005 and Hamas broke the cease fire that was in place until Oct 7 when they attacked Israel by slaughtering over 1200 people and taking hostages. It is Hamas mission to destroy Israel no matter what. I do not believe Israel is pure by any means but…Yes this war is a big nightmare but if you tell a story it needs to be the whole truth not one sided and is incredibly complicated.
Half truths and misinformation only add fuel to the fire.
Aside from that your painting is wonderful.

Essay “Eyeless in Gaza” ©Roland Salazar Rose 2003  The paintings in this series (9) on Stonehenge paper are arranged three across. The series was painted in Mexico in 200; the series exhibited in the UMVA Gallery at the Portland Media Center, Maine.


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