Al Jazeera World

Palestine Sunbird: A Stamp of Defiance

In a creative act of dissent, a Palestinian artist makes a postage stamp symbolising freedom from Israeli occupation.

Palestinian protest against Israeli occupation has taken many forms in the past seven decades – from all-out Arab-Israeli war, to the Intifadas and the Great March of Return.

On a global level, Palestinian leaders continue to lobby for increased international recognition of the State of Palestine.

Meanwhile, on a smaller scale, other forms of self-determination are emerging.

In his own form of dissent, artist Khaled Jarrar designs postage and passport stamps for the State of Palestine, using the Palestine sunbird as the motif.

His stamps have been officially recognised by the postal services in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and the Czech Republic.

Jarrar’s is a protest in an artistic context, one that began in his home town of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

There, he designed a Palestinian visa stamp saying ‘State of Palestine’ which he began offering to international visitors, including a Jewish American woman with dual US-Israeli nationality. He stamped both her passports with the Palestine sunbird, but when she later went through Israeli immigration, officials interrogated her and cancelled her passport.

In this Al Jazeera World film, we watch as Jarrar achieves a major breakthrough when Germany’s Deutsche Post accepts his design. An initial print run of 4,000 postage stamps quickly sells out, and he soon sells more than 28,000 German Palestine sunbird stamps, while also stamping hundreds of passports of tourists on the streets of Berlin.

This is one man’s story of a peaceful Palestinian protest – but with a difference. It is the journey of a charismatic artist’s creative yet provocative way of promoting the Palestinian cause across the world.