“It’s So Berlin!” 6: Tight Angle

The sixth installment in our series of photographs and cartoons about Berlin and Palestine.


Following last week’s contribution Soli-Ceasefire, here is the latest in the series of works by Berlin-based Palestinian artists Rasha Al Jundi and Michael Jabareen.

Photo: Rasha Al-Jundi

If the State wants to spy on you, it will do it, whether on Signal or WhatsApp and whether it is a wide or tight angle.

Cartoon: Michael Jabareen

There seems to be a general public belief in the system imposed by the State, specifically the one designed and promoted to ensure “data protection” and “individual privacy”. The assertions we have been confronted with when questioning it include: “they limit surveillance using long bureaucratic procedures to make it difficult for anyone to put up a security camera”; or, “they use very “tight angles” so not everyone is included in the frame.”

While those statements may be true, this does not absolve Germany in general, and Berlin specifically from, actually, employing close surveillance activities against the public. Other than surveillance cameras, which are usually defended with statements like the above, secret service agents are crawling all over the city. Since October 7th 2023, their heavy presence has been usually spotted among pro-Palestinian demonstrators and within Arab or migrant majority spaces or cafes.

In this image, the abandoned item is a black coat, left hanging on building door handle.

Titled “Tight Angle”, the image depicts another common urban wildlife dweller in the city, the crow. Considered among the smartest birds on the planet, they are still caught in a meaningless conversation about which mobile phone application to use to protect their privacy.

Although activists are aware of the way the State system, bullshit aside, actually works, they seek other means to protect themselves and their chats through technology or app options out there. After Edward Snowden’s revelations, hundreds of media reports on governments employing private spyware and surveillance companies, even in the so-called “free and democratic world”, these conversations stand out as clear contradictions. If the State wants to spy on you, it will do it, whether on Signal or WhatsApp and whether it is a wide or tight angle.

Living in fear is not an option. Fear is the weapon these State agents in all their shapes and forms employ to silence activists. Their empty words and privacy promises don’t matter. Real actions do. Especially in tight angles.

Image taken in Schöneberg, Berlin (2023).