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Land Day
Artist: Abdel Rahman Al Muzain (Palestine)
Dimensions: 18” x 24”
Circa 1984

This poster is dedicated to Land Day (March 30), a modern memorial day originally marked by Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories but now observed across the entire spectrum of Palestinian society.

The origins of Land Day are as follows:

In 1976, Israel’s practice of expropriating Arab land in northern Israel to build Jewish settlements provoked Arab residents in the Galilee town of Sakhnin to protest. On March 30 they marched to repudiate the Israeli Defense Ministry’s confiscation of a parcel of farmland on the outskirts of the town. Six Arabs were killed during the violent protests. Since then, Israeli Arabs have commemorated March 30 as “Land Day” and turned the day into a general protest against what they view as discriminatory practices by the government.

Source: Virtual Jewish Library


The graphic depicts a Palestinian fellah (Arabic: peasant or farmer) wearing traditional clothing, carrying a pickaxe and standing in a determined, heroic pose. An organic row of traditional homes climbs a hill in the background, symbolizing not only the historic presence of Palestinians on the land but also the national determination of the Palestinians to rebuild villages damaged or destroyed under the Israeli occupation. The ham'aim (Arabic: doves) seemingly walk with the farmer in step, symbolizing that peace and reconstruction will occur simultaneously.

The graphic structure of this poster owes much to the Soviet socialist-realism school of poster design, while the content quotes other citizen-soldier movements such the Minutemen of the American Revolutionary period. It is also uncannily similar to early Zionist posters dedicated to the theme of land reclamation.

Muzain’s works are deeply metaphorical. The rays swirling outward from the sun, a symbol of hope, weave seamlessly into the surface of the land linking the two and hinting at the centrality that the land plays in the Palestinian struggle for national self-determination.

The exaggerated physicality of the farmer and the way the pickaxe is held echoes similarly structured posters of Palestinian militants bearing rifles, yet this poster is devoid of all overt military or political symbols. One could interpret this poster as a projection to a time in the future when military and political conflicts have been resolved and Palestinians have returned to their lost homes and villages and have turned their energies to rebuilding and replanting. This dual objective is reflected allegorically in the two different sides of the axe; the pointed one for breaking up the soil for planting and the broader one for breaking and shaping stone into building blocks.


Behold, the storm too calls upon us: dare!
The people volunteering to redeem the land
The Jewish National Fund
- 1950


Muzain is without question one of the most prolific contemporary Palestinian poster artists. His works have been widely reproduced by Palestinian agencies and international solidarity groups around the world.

Questions for A New
Democratic Discussion

1) How does the Palestinian struggle to regain lost lands compare with other contemporary land reclamation efforts such as the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, or the Landless Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil?

2) Zionists claim that Palestine was promised to them, as an exclusively Jewish homeland, by divine ordination. Do all Israelis subscribe to this claim? Do Americans? Are there any alternate interpretations of this covenant between God and the Jewish people? Are Palestinians obliged to acquiesce to the religious beliefs of Israelis and passively surrender their homes?

3) During the American Civil War, the Confederacy interpreted its early victories against the Union as a sign that God was on its side. When Israeli troops captured Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967, Israelis and Jewish communities around the world celebrated the retaking of the Wailing Wall as a clear sign that God was on their side. Does God take sides? What risks are there to claiming God’s favor?

2003 Liberation Graphics. All Rights Reserved.


The Jewish National Fund
Circa 1950


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