© Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing, 1995
After making two trips to the West Bank twenty years apart, Belgian photographer Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing has collected his photographs into a book, titled "Lueurs d'espoirs / Glimmers of Hope." The book shows de Bellaing's travels through everyday life in both 1995 and 2015.
The book includes an essay by Leila Shahid, Palestine ambassador in France and then Belgium for the last 20 years.
Here is Frédéric's own statement:
"When I present this project, the same question comes back again and again: "Why Palestine?" Of course there is my indignation against oppression but, rightly, some respond to me that the Palestinians are not the only ones suffering. As often in this case, it is the personal journey that makes the difference.
The first intifada broke out in 1987. I was 16 years old. TV screens fed me up me with pictures of teenagers fighting with stones against heavily armed soldiers. I was shocked but the media release their floods of dramatic images all day long drowning indignations in an ocean of bad news.
Two years later when I began high school, I met Mina Shamieh. He was Palestinian and student like me. He was a warm person and his smile was disarming. We quickly became good friends. Until then, the Palestinian issue was but a media abstraction. Through my friendship with Mina, it took human shape.
The media feed us with pictures which are sometimes sensational but generally disconnected from human touch and identification to the Palestinian people has, for too long, take shape through empathy for their suffering.
To overcome this cathodic anesthesia, we must awaken the sympathy and empathy, in other words, we must become human.
With "Glimmers of Hope", I hope to convey the warmth and the desire to live which inhabit the Palestinian people.
To you, Mina, my old friend, with whom I have enjoyed sharing the small pleasures of everyday life."
Above: images from 1995. All © Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing
Images from 2015. All © Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing