Palestinian teens in Gaza are doing parkour off the Banksy mural of an Israeli army watch tower in Beit Hanoun, the town where Israeli bombers took out a school used by the UN as a refugee center during Operation Ethnic cleansing last July. Fifteen, mostly women & children, were killed & 200 were injured, including disfiguring & disabling shrapnel damage. It’s only a few miles across the border from Sderot, Israel where residents pulled up easy chairs to get a front row seat to genocide.
There’s an irony here that should not be missed & was almost certainly intended by the teens. Parkour grew out of military obstacle-course training. It’s something of a rejection of formalized gymnastics training, has no formal moves, no equipment, & requires no dedicated space like a gym but uses public space. According to the Frenchman who helped develop it, parkour is a training method for “warriors” to help overcome physical barriers & mental & emotional obstacles.
The most important part of parkour is not the gymnastics but the philosophy which rejects competition & rivalry. The point is not to show off movements or feel superior over others but “to touch the world & interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it.” That philosophy would strongly suggest its roots in working class culture & certainly explains why it is so popular among working class youth in Palestine.
This video by the teens doing parkour around Banksy graffiti throughout Gaza shows the irony is very much intended & very politically astute.