The Israeli–Palestinian Separation Wall and the Assemblage Theory: The Case of the Weekly Rosary at the Icon of Our Lady of the Wall
AbstractIn this work I analyse the ethnographic case study of the icon of Our Lady of the Wall as establishing a unique ritual landscape among the cement slabs of the Israeli–Palestinian Wall separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem. Although the Wall has been widely described as a technology of occupation on one side and as a device to ensure security on the other, through Latour’s concept of assemblages I unearth its agency in developing a Christian shrine. Through a decade of weekly recitations of the Rosary along the Wall near Checkpoint 300, the Elizabethan nuns of the Caritas Baby Hospital have been invoking Mary’s help to dismantle the Wall. This weekly ritual represents both political dissent against the bordering action enacted by the Wall, as well as giving visibility to the plea of the Palestinian Christian right to live in this territory in the face of their status as an ethno-religious minority.
- Figure 1. Map of the Rachel’s Tomb Area and Checkpoint 300 (ARIJ).
- Photo 1. Home of the Anastas family surrounded on three sides by the Wall. Photo by author.
- Photo 2. The Elizabethan nuns, Abuna M., EAPPI volunteer, and Christians recite the Rosary by the Wall next to the entrance of Checkpoint 300. The Checkpoint’s watchtower looms over it. Photo by author.
- Photo 3. Pilgrims conclude the recitation of the Rosary through the singing of the Salve Regina in Latin while standing in front of the Our Lady of the Wall Icon. Photo by author.
- Photo 4. Icon of Our Lady of the Wall painted in 2010 by iconographer Ian Knowles. Photo by author.
- Figure 2. Picture of Mary and Joseph blocked outside Bethlehem by the Wall allegedly painted by graffiti artist Banksy (2015).
- Figure 3. Mary and Joseph inspected at the Checkpoint before entering Bethlehem (Polyp).
- Photo 5. New icons added by Pilgrims next to Our Lady of the Wall. Photo by author.
- Photo 6. The San Luca Icon pushed in between the Wall’s cement slabs near the Icon of Our Lady of the Wall. Photo by author.
- Photo 7. Pilgrims shaking hands with the soldiers monitoring the Holy Mass at Our Lady of the Wall. Photo by author.
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