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Photo essay: Susya's women share their life through a lens

The women of the Palestinian village of Susya tell their stories through the lens of a camera. A participatory photography project coordinated by Activestills. 

By Activestills

Around 400 people from 45 shepherds’ and farmers’ families are living in the Palestinian village of Susya, located in Area C (which is under Israeli military and civil control) in the South Hebron Hills. They have lived in this region on a seasonal basis since at least the 19th century. In 1986, the Israeli Civil Administration expelled the residents of Susya from their original village and declared the zone to be an archeological site on which they built the Jewish settlement of Susya. The families re-established residence on agricultural lands they own, near their previous homes. In 2001, the Israeli army expelled the villagers from their lands for the second time.

In 2011, the women of Susya documented their lives as a part of a participatory photography project conducted by Activestills photographer Keren Manor and guest photographer Mareike Lauken. Every week, an individual photography workshop was held with one of the women participating in the project. Through learning how to use cameras, the women of Susya tell the stories of their daily life routine in their small village, surrounded by illegal Jewish settlements and the ever-present Israeli army.

This project was one of many activities of the village’s Creative and Learning Center. During the one-year celebration held for the center, every family tent became a photo exhibition space in which each woman presented her photos, showing the life of the family. The people who came to celebrate with the village were invited to visit the families and see the photo exhibitions.

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Israel’s Civil Administration distributed demolition orders to over 50 structures in the village. There are also demolition orders pending for a shop, a clinic, a community center and solar panels. If the demolition takes place, this will be the third time Israel has tried to expel the residents of Susya from their lands.






Click here to see more photos from the project.

To read more and get involved:
Susya Forever blog
B’Tselem report: Civil Administration threatens to demolish most of Susiya village

Images of Susya’s women photographers documenting their daily lives:



Examples of the photos on exhibition in the tent homes of the participating photographers:





Activestills is a collective of Israeli, international and Palestinian photographers, united by a conviction that photography is a vehicle for political and social change. To stay updated on our latest images, like Activestills on Facebook  or follow @activestills on Twitter. You can also visit our flickr photostream.


+972 coverage on Susya:
Save Susya Campaign: Defense Ministry annoyed by 12,500 faxes jamming their machines
Hundreds protest plan to demolish entire Palestinian village
Call to action: Protest the demolition of entire Palestinian village
Palestinian from Area C describes a life in constant need of rebuilding


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Illustrations: Eran Mendel