The Ramallah Syndrome
14’50”, 2009

A project by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti
Sound Installation by Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas
In conversation with Nasser Abourahme, Yazeed Anani, Reem Fadda, Yazan Khalili, Laura Ribeiro, Omar Jabary-Salamanca


The sound installation is the result of a series of informal discussions that attempted to reflexively explore and articulate the contemporary and particular spatialization of power(s) and its ensuing contradictions in this city – a paradoxical arrangement and design that we are calling ‘Ramallah Syndrome’.

The Ramallah Syndrome is the side effects of the new spatial and social order that emerged after the collapse of the Oslo ‘peace process’.  It is manifested in a kind of ‘hallucination of normality’, the delusion of a co-existence of occupation and freedom. It is as if the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state – in effect, indefinitely postponed – will be achieved through pure illusion.

From these discussions, many urgent questions were raised, they include: what does the rise of Ramallah as to de facto capital of the Palestinian national project mean? And what are the consequences for Jerusalem? How does the project of Ramallah connect – implicitly or explicitly, consciously or unconsciously – to the wider colonial imperative of Bantustanisation and substituting Jerusalem with Ramallah as a capital of the Palestinian state? In other words, does Ramallah help in strengthening and co-producing a colonial project that tends to fragment and isolate Palestinians cities? And, does this relate to the unprecedented securitization of the city? Is the Ramallah syndrome the objective of the peace process, or the result of its failure? In either case, can the bubble burst?