Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive

Embroidery: From Palestine to the World

Just when the Israeli Occupation intensified its systematic colonial attack to erase, steal and distort our national identity, and with the attempts and endeavors to isolate and seize components of the Palestinian heritage, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization “UNESCO” listed Palestinian Embroidery within the Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as one of the Palestinian national elements during the sixteenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO held on Wednesday, 15 December 2021 in Paris. This serves as an important step to perpetuating and strengthening the presence of Palestine and empowering the united national identity in international and local forums, as well as averting all obliterating and forging attempts against the practices and social rituals of Palestinians and their civilizational and cultural heritage, wherever they are. It also affirms the depth of the connection of Palestinian heritage to its wider scope and its Arab and regional surroundings, extending from Sinai in the south, to Lebanon and southern Syria in the north, and the Jordan Valley in the east.

Since the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive has been concerned, since its launch in 2018, with approaching various patterns of behavior and indigenous practices and accompanying customs and traditions, embroidery has been present therein among many archived models of the daily life of Palestinians and the photographs and documents PMDA documents in support of producing a parallel Palestinian narrative, far from the exclusion imposed by metanarratives, power relations and their elite social and political networks. The Palestinian Museum has also recently succeeded in restoring and retrieving about 245 heritage pieces, including 90 embroidered Palestinian thobes, donated by their owners to the Museum, which worked to collect and settle said pieces within its flanks, forming an important part of the PM’s permanent collection. This monthly highlight constitutes a main and essential component of approaches targeting the need to preserve and protect the contents of Palestinian identity, defend it and pass it on to future generations, and respond to every claim that would target it with obliteration, marginalization, forgery and pollution. The highlight displays a collection of photographs documented by PMDA, showing many models of embroidered thobes that reflect the permanent presence of embroidery in various contexts and occasions.

0001.01.0042 A Photograph from the Ali Kazak Collection, PM’s Collection Room
“We Have Our Heritage and Civilisation”, a Poster Published by GUPPA, 1984

A poster published by the General Union of Palestinian Plastic Artists (GUPPA) in 1984 for the 17th session of the Palestinian National Council, features an artwork by Palestinian artist ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Muzayyen. The piece depicts a woman, in a thobe bearing names of Palestinian cities, carries a hand-shaped vase over her head engraved, “Palestine” and “al-Quds”.

0159.01.0086 A Photograph from the Musa Allush Collection
Butrus el-Abed and Shafa al-Khoury, 1920

Taken on 20 October 1920, this photograph shows Butrus Issa el-Abed and his wife Shafa Khaleel al-Khoury where el-Abed is seen wearing a Tarbush and the traditional Qubmaz and associated belt, while al-Khoury is seen standing next to him in embroidered Palestinian thobe and headcover. 

0097.01.0018 A Photograph from the Ramallah Friends School Collection
A Studio Portrait of Ellen Audi, 1930

Taken in 1930, this portrait shows Ellen Audi seated at a studio while carrying hay made basket and wearing the Ramallah traditional embroidered Palestinian thobe and associated headcover.

0162.01.0025 A Photograph from the Najeh Burbar Collection
Musa Awwad and Jamila Burbar, Jifna, 1933

Taken in 1933, this photograph shows Musa al-Khoury Odeh Awwad and Jamila Ayoub Hana Burbar from Jifna, where Awwad is seen seated and wearing the traditional Qumbaz and associated belt, while Burbar is seen standing next to him in the embroidered Palestinian thobe and headcover. 

0159.01.0228 A Photograph from the Musa Allush Collection
Musa Sa’d and Hilwa Dawood, Birzeit, 1939

Taken in 1939, this photograph shows Musa Soliman Sa’d and his wife Hilwa Mitry Saleh Shahin from Birzeit, where Sa’d is seen seated and wearing a suit, a necktie, and a Tarbush while Shahin is standing next to him wearing the embroidered Palestinian thobe and headcover while holding a flower bouquet.

0159.01.0127 A Photograph from the Musa Allush Collection
Radi and Aziza Burbar on their Wedding Day, 1944

Taken on 13 August 1944, this studio portrait captures Aziza Bshara Burbar carrying a bouquet and wearing the Palestinian thobe and the traditional headcover standing next to her husband Radi Ibrahim Burbar in a suit and a necktie on their wedding day.

0161.01.0001 A Photograph from the Nadia Qatato Collection
Ibrahim Qatato and Nadia Kayleh in Palestinian Traditional Clothing, 1949

Taken in 1949, this photograph shows Ibrahim Qatato “Abu Issa” and Nadia Kayleh “Umm Issa” from Birzeit in Palestinian traditional clothing on their wedding day, where Kayleh is seen in the Ramallah embroidered thobe and headcover while Qatato is seen in the traditional Qumbaz and the Hatta and Agal.

0096.02.0001 A Photograph from the INAASH Association Collection
A Palestinian Embroidered Piece Handmade by Women of the INAASH Association, Lebanon, the 1970s

This photograph shows a handmade piece embroidered by Palestinian refugee women; members of the INAASH Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps in the 1970s. Following 1968, INAASH has come to the fore at the hands of Huguette Caland el-Khoury; daughter of the Lebanese President Bechara el-Khoury, and other Lebanese women to break the isolation of the Palestinian refugee camps and empower the Palestinian refugee women to help their husbands in the face of the Lebanese law that casts a veto over the Palestinian refugees in the Lebanese labour market. At a later stage, INAASH gained the support of Sirin al-Husseiny and other Palestinian women.

0028.01.0307 A Photograph from the Emile Ashrawy Collection
Fatima Yousef Sewing a Palestinian Thobe, Kobar-Ramallah, the 1970s

Taken in the 1970s by Emile Ashrawi, this photograph captures Fatima Yousef from the village of Kobar- Ramallah, seated on the ground with her back to the wall wearing a Palestinian embroidered thobe while sewing another with two girls standing next to her.

Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive

The Muhammad Fahd Hammoudeh Collection

1927-1980

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive has been, from the outset, responsible for retrieving historical realities and representing the marginalized beyond the social dominance theory, traditional knowledge structures, and metanarratives. All by reexamining the relations of power and control, the system of values ​​and perceptions, the networks of social relations and the interaction between the different groups of society and through allowing the “ordinary” people to contribute to the production and formulation of narratives about Palestine, its culture and society through lived experiences, models of daily life, customs, traditions and self-patterns of behavior- also known as history from below.

Since this approach allows the study of the biographies, events, places and interactions of individuals and groups from the point of view of those whose behavior is not followed by researchers and scholars, and do not have the freedom to define their daily lifestyle and the distinctive and different history of their societies, this blog sheds light on an archival material that includes a report written by Muhammad Fahd Hammoudeh, born in 1927 in the village of Lifta in Jerusalem. In his report, Hammoudeh referenced many features of the social history of the Dayr Dibwan village in Ramallah and their patterns of behavior, all after he returned to the town as an immigrant, where he continued to write until he fell ill and stopped his work on the report until his death in 1980.

Handwritten between the late 1950s and early 1960s, this report follows the financial and social habits and norms of the Dayr Dibwan citizens and their professions during the period of documentation, in addition to their activities and lifestyle in the country side. The report also follows their traditional clothing, such as the Qumbaz, Kufiya and Agal for men and embroidered silk thobes for women. On the other hand, the report examines the new generation where men started wearing suits; and following the close geographical distance to the city of Ramallah, ease of transportation and the widespread of education among girls, the report states that women started wearing dresses and modern garments. As for agriculture, poor families depended on olive trees in their livelihoods along with other kinds of seeds while others survived on bread made with pure wheat and olive oil; baked in the Taboon or ovens, before food varied due to the development of the village.

Families of Dayr Dibwan naturally consisted of the father, mother and children, and either the father or the elder brother is considered the one responsible for fulfilling the duties of the family along with his wife. Women, on the other hand, were second to their husbands in responsibility besides their work in tidying and cleaning the house, and cooking. The report shows that relationships between families were based on blood before the relations of marriage and social integration. It also discusses marriage where most men were satisfied with one wife, but some would “have to” marry a second or a third for familial or infertility reasons. Moreover, the report mentions the habit of “exchange”, where a man would marry off his sister or female relative to a man, who in turn would do the same as a sort of marital exchange. Hammoudeh sees that this habit causes some of the worst issues in the village, where if one of the men had a dispute with his wife and sought a divorce, the second man would have to follow suit and divorce his wife even if they were on good terms.

The report also sheds light on many social habits and behaviors, such as the celebration of Mawlids, considering them spreading widely in the village, specifically when a villager moves into a new house, where he does not move until he invites the “Dervish people” to beat their drums as he sacrifices sheep, makes feasts and celebrates until after midnight, which Hammoudeh detests and wishes it stops. He also mentions that villagers would hold “luxurious” celebrations for the Mawlid and bring sweets, as well as another custom like the Mawlid which involves the fulfillment of vows where if a vow comes true, sheep are sacrificed, and people are invited to feast.

The report details the rituals of funerals and their customs, where when a notable person in the village passes away, the neighboring villagers are invited to the funeral, which is attended by men and women, as the deceased is carried to the mosque for prayer after being washed and shrouded, then the men would walk at the beginning of the funeral march and the women would follow, after the burial, another family prepares the food for the mourning family and those who offer condolences from other villages. After the funeral, women start weeping for a month while wearing black silk clothes. The custom is that the family of the deceased does not cook for one or two weeks, where food is sent to women at home while men are invited to dine at a different house every time. The report clarifies that these rituals only apply to deceased men, but not women, where they would just be buried.

Another custom deemed good is the “Aqd” or “house Aqd”, which is finishing the construction of the house roof, where villagers offer to help the homeowner as some of his relatives sacrifice sheep and help him with food, and the rest of them would offer rice and juice or help with finishing up the work. Usually, a white flag is held on top of the house to signify ending the construction of the roof. The report also mentions that the “construction chief” is served a plate full of bread chunks and meat. Another good custom is the “Qowad”; known in Dayr Dibwan and neighboring villages, which is hospitality, where sheep are sacrificed, and food is served on many occasions including death, Hajj or diasporic return. It also points another good custom known as clan courts, where clans aid in resolving most internal issues.

As for education, the report mentions that there is a school for boys in the village which was built as per modern standards with the financial support from the village’s residents and those abroad. Housing eleven teachers, the school teaches all grades up to the third secondary grade (high school). Hammoudeh also says that there is a school for girls, built one year prior to writing this material, from a loan from the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Restoration (PECDAR). Housing six teachers, the school is surrounded with a big plot of land; of which a block was used as a park and another as a basketball court.

Finally, the report mentions that many poor people acquired their livelihoods, while most of the youth immigrated during the last ten years (prior to writing the report) to the United States of America (USA) along with other neighboring villages. This, the report states, participated in increasing the standards in the village, aided the construction of tall buildings, and led the village to be among the richest In Ramallah. Accordingly, several literary works focused on the financials of immigrants, their impact on the socio-economic changes and urban transformations that the villages and cities of the region have witnessed). It also points out the generosity the village was known for, still up until the writing of these very lines; however, it has been noticeably fading away due to the development and sprawling of the Dayr Dibwan village towards the city.

Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive
Vaccination Certificates: The Living Archive

It is certain that the sudden and rampant spread of the emerging coronavirus, since early 2020, has turned the tables and opposed expectations on various levels. Plus, the ambiguity surrounding the management of the pandemic, the acceleration of its transformations, and the uncertainty of its elimination raised many questions, the most urgent and interactive of which are the questions about the nature and origin of the virus, about the feasibility of vaccines, and the extent to which all of this is related to the conspiracy theory and the integrity of the various policies of countries and institutions. All due to the pandemic affecting daily life, penetrating social, economic and cultural boundaries, contributing to the reconfiguration of class structures and affecting many human and institutional practices and behaviours, so much so that vaccination certificates; issued by the competent authorities of any country, became a required necessity for many daily life activities, up to the point that such certificates started to hold control over the freedom of movement, transportation and travel.

Given that the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive, since its inception, has held the responsibility to recovering historical facts and contributing to the production of narratives about Palestine, its culture and society by reviewing lived experiences and retrieving models of daily life, customs, traditions and self-patterns of behavior – known as social history from below, this blog highlights a set of vaccination certificates and cards issued in Palestine, or to Palestinians by different authorities since the Ottoman rule of Palestine.

Ottoman Certificate of Vaccination Against a Contagious Disease, 1911
The Yaffa Cultural Centre Collection

Dated on 1329 Ah, corresponding to 1911, this document shows a certificate of vaccination, against a contagious disease, issued by the Ministry (Nazaret) of Interior and the Department of Royal Medical Affairs and Public Health in Palestine during the Ottoman rule. It is noteworthy that the cholera epidemic had swept the region in that period and caused heavy losses.

Farid Azar’s Vaccination Certificate Issued by ICRC-Nablus, 1949
The Ghassan Abdullah Collection

Issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nablus on 21 September 1949, this archival material documents a vaccination certificate for Farid Yusef Azar, stating that he is from Haifa and holds a refugee card bearing no. 19011, and that he was vaccinated for Smallpox and Typhoid.

The Abdullah Affaneh Collection
Smallpox International Vaccination Certificate for Abdullah Afaneh, 1953

Issued on 25 August 1953 by the Ministry of Health in Nablus, this document shows an International Health Certificate confirming that Abdullah Abdelqader Affaneh was vaccinated for Smallpox on 17 August 1953. Bearing the Jordan Red Crescent Society stamp and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan import stamps, the certificate states that it is valid for three years.

The Omar al-Qasem Collection
Smallpox Vaccination Certificate for Omar al-Qasem, 1962

A certificate issued by the Ministry of Health in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stating that the shaheed Omar al-Qasim; residing in al-Sharaf Neighborhood in Jerusalem, has received the vaccine against smallpox on 27 May 1962 at the age of 21 years. The bottom of the certificate bears a note stating that it is a local certificate- not valid for travel outside the Kingdom.

The Jawad Hiwwary Collection
Cholera International Vaccination Certificate for Jamal Hiwwary, 1966

Issued by the Ministry of Health in Nablus, this document shows a Cholera International Vaccination Certificate for Jamal Abdelaziz Yasin Hiwwary, stating that he received two shots of the vaccine on 24 and 31 August 1966. Bearing the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan import stamps, the certificate states that it is valid for six months.

The Nakhleh Qare Collection
International Certificates of Vaccination for Khamis al-Qare, 1969

Issued by the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), in accordance with the sanitary regulations of the World Health Organization, this international certificate of vaccination shows that Khamis Nakhleh al-Qare, a resident of Ramallah, was vaccinated against Smallpox on 16 October 1969, at the Ramallah Central Health Department at the age of 23. 

The Deya Misyef Collection
International Certificate of Vaccination Against Cholera and Yellow Fever for Jamal Misyef, 1970

Stamped by the Health Directorate of Health in Jericho and printed on 19 August 1970 in English and French and filled in with Arabic, this document shows an international certificate of vaccination or revaccination against Cholera and Yellow Fever in the name of 32 years old Jamal Hasan Misyef.

The Abdelhamid al-Hiwwary Collection
A Vaccination Card for Jihad al-Hiwwary, 1970

Issued by the Ministry of Health in Nablus 1970, this document shows a vaccination card against communicable and infectious diseases, including Smallpox, Poliomyelitis and Measles for Jihad Abbas Yasin Muhammad al-Hiwwary; born in Sebastia-Nablus on 1 December 1969.

The Jawad Hiwwary Collection
International Vaccination Certificates Against Smallpox for Fatima Hiwwary, 1972

Issued by the World Health Organization on 10 December 1972, this document shows international vaccination certificates against contagious diseases including Smallpox and Cholera for Fatima Rafiq Hiwwary.

The Arab Development Society Collection
International Certificates of Vaccination for Mousa al-Alami, 1978

Issued by the Deutsche Lufthansa, in accordance with the sanitary regulations of the World Health Organization, these international certificates of vaccination show that Musa al-Alami was vaccinated against Smallpox at Palestine Hospital on 1 June 1978. 

Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive
Prison Notebooks and Movement’s Archive

When colonizers exclude the colonized indigenous memory from the historical record, it is inevitable that other fields of inquiry are affected, causing a gap between the hegemonic authority and knowledge production, which enables colonial powers to dominate and loot the archives of colonized countries, consolidate control, and obliterate the identity and historical narratives of the indigenous.

In this context, this blog post highlights the experience of the Palestinian Prisoners Movement by manifesting its presence in the archive as one of the most prominent components of the Palestinian historical narrative and its emancipatory content, apart from contexts of theoretical coercion.

The colonial authority persists in suffocating Palestinian prisoners in various ways, such as by denying them family visits and preventing them from taking souvenir photographs with their families. However, prisoners managed to obtain this right after conducting numerous strikes in the mid-nineties, whereby they became authorized to take photographs with their relatives once every five years after they reached the age of fifty. In 2019 however, the Israel Prison Service withdrew this right in response to pressure from some Zionist organizations following the publication of a photo showing prisoner Omar al-Abed; accused of murdering three settlers, smiling with his mother on a prison visit. Photographs were then taken by the Israel Prison Service photographer and were restricted to relatives suffering from terminal diseases, provided that the prisoner pays for them and that they are kept with prisoners inside the prison.

Zakaria Zubeidi and Yasser Arafat in Jenin, 2002
Joss Dray Collection

Taken in 2002, this photograph shows Zakaria Zubeidi with Yaser Arafat at the Jenin Municipality during Arafat’s first visit to the city after the end of the Israeli siege of the Presidential Headquarters in Ramallah, the ” Mukata’a”. 

Clippings from ash-Shaab Newspaper on the Arrest of Bassam Shakaa, his trial, and hunger strike, 1979
Bassam Shakaa Collection

This archival item shows a paper with three glued clippings from ash-Shaab Newspaper, two of which are dated 21 November 1979. The first mentions Bassam Shakaa, the former Mayor of Nablus, continuing his hunger strike at Ramla Prison, while the second mentions the Israeli Occupation Forces imposing restrictions on the movements of resigned mayors. Dated 29 November 1979, the third clipping included a title pointing out the beginning of Shakaa’s trial. 

Prisoners Abdel-Alim Daana, Ribhi Haddad and Badran Jaber before the Supreme Court of Israel, 1989
Abdel-Alim Daana Collection

Taken in 1989, this photograph shows three leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Abdel-Alim Daana to the right, Badran Jaber to the left and behind them in the middle is Ribhi Haddad, while two Israeli soldiers walk behind them in front of the Supreme Court of Israel during one of their court sessions. 

A Letter from prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi to “Umm Assef”; wife of his brother Omar, 1998
 Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Handwritten on 4 April 1998 AD corresponding to 7 Dhu al-Hijjah 1418 AH, this decorated card shows an Eid greetings letter from prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi to “Umm Assef”: wife of his brother Omar, and her children, during his imprisonment in room 9 of section 2 in Askalan Prison. 

Brothers and Prisoners Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi at Askalan Prison, 2004
Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Taken at Askalan Prison in 2004, this photograph shows prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi from Kaubar village in Ramallah with his brother prisoner Omar al-Barghouthi. They were jailed as a result of an operation they conducted that ended with the killing of an Israeli soldier, through a military cell they formed with Fakhri al-Barghouthi in 1978. Omar was released within the prisoner exchange deal carried out by the General Command of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1985, after which he was re-arrested multiple times. Nael was released in 2011 within the prisoner exchange deal known as the “Gilad Shalit Exchange” to be re-arrested in 2014. 

A Clipping from al-Quds Newspaper Documenting Palestinian Prisoners Led to the Courtroom, 1998
Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Issued on Wednesday 16 September 1998 AD corresponding to 25 Jumada I 1418 AH, this document shows a clipping from al-Quds Newspaper featuring a photograph of Israeli soldiers leading Palestinian prisoners; of the Abu Mousa Group dissident faction (from Fatah,) to the courtroom in the Bet El settlement. The group members were arrested in Hebron in July 1998 on charges of conducting operations against Israelis. 

Prisoners Marwan al-Barghouthi and Ahmad Sa’adat at Hadarim Prison
Marwan al-Barghouthi
Collection

Undated, this photograph shows prisoners Marwan al-Barghouthi, a Fatah leader, and Ahmad Sa’adat, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), during their imprisonment at Hadarim Prison, where al-Barghouthi was arrested on 15 April 2002 and sentenced to five life sentences and 40 years.  Sa’adat was arrested on 14 March 2006 and sentenced to 30 years. 

Prisoners Nasr Jarrar and Omar al-Barghouthi with Cellmates at Megiddo Prison
Omar and Nael al-Barghouthi Collection

Undated, this archival item documents a photograph; the top right corner of which was cut. Likely taken between 1994 and 1998, this photo shows Nasr Jarrar, killed on 14 August 2002; to the right, and Omar al-Barghouthi, who passed away on 25 March 2021 of Covid-19, seated on the ground and having a meal with their cellmates at Megiddo Prison. 

A Wreath from the Askalan Prison Prisoners Raised at the Funeral of the Shaheed Omar al-Qasem, 1989
Omar al-Qasem Collection

A wreath from the “Prisoners of the Palestinian Revolution at Askalan Prison” raised at the funeral of the shaheed Omar al-Qasem who was killed on June 4th, 1989.

Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive
Poet Abdulrahim Mahmoud Collection

Since its launch in 2018, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive continues to discover personal and familial archives and put together the pieces of the Palestinian archive in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon. The project deals with different archival items including photographs, documents, and audio-visual records which shed light on personal experiences, behavioral patterns and social practices during the last two decades.

This blog highlights the Abdulrahim Mahmoud Collection, which the PMDA team succeeded in finding and acquiring – in addition to the many diverse archival collections of Palestinian poets, writers and artists. Work is currently underway to complete the digitization, archival and translation of the collection, so that at a later stage it will be displayed and made available to the public of researchers and those interested on the PMDA website, to complete the material published on the “Palestine Journeys” website – a joint project of the Palestinian Museum and the Institute for Palestine Studies.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud was born in 1913 in Anabta-Tulkarm where he completed his elementary school at the al-Fadiliyah School before moving to an-Najah National School in Nablus where he completed his secondary education and met poet Ibrahim Tuqan. He then worked at the same School as a teacher of Arabic Literature, up until his resignation in 1936 to join the ranks of the freedom fighters before emigrating to Iraq, where he joined the Iraqi Military Academy, graduating with the rank of lieutenant, then returned to Anabta and resumed work at an-Najah School.

In 1947, Mahmoud joined the Arab Liberation Army and fought several engagements against the Zionist forces before he died a martyr in the Battle of the Tree on 13 July 1948. Buried in the city of Nazareth, Mahmoud is considered one of the most prominent Palestinian poets and a pillar of Palestinian resistance literature. Mahmoud left a massive legacy of patriotic poems, of which is a poem titled “The Shaheed (The Martyr)”, starting with one of his most celebrated verses that read “I shall carry my soul on the palm of my hand and toss it into the pits of death”.

A Studio Portrait of Abdulrahim Mahmoud, 1943
Taken in 1943 by Studio Rashid in Tulkarm, this studio portrait shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud wearing a Tarbush, a suit, and a necktie.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with the Anabta Sports Club Football Team, 1928
Taken in 1928 by Cairo Studio in Nablus, this photograph shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud with his colleagues at the Anabta Sports Club Football Team in their uniforms which represent the Palestinian flag. Mahmoud is seen (second to the right; first row) laying on the ground with the ball next to him.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with His Teacher and Colleagues at an-Najah National School, Nablus, 1931
Taken in 1931, this photograph shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud with his teacher and poetry enthusiast colleagues in the Arabic Language Club at an-Najah National School. Seen in the photograph in the first row, seated right to left, are Tayeb Bennouna from Morocco; as it was common for students to come from Morocco to study at an-Najah School, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Nuweihid-al-Hout; High school Arabic language teacher following Ibrahim Tuqan, seen in a Tarbush and seated on a different chair, Dawood abu Ghazaleh, and Burhan ed-Din al-Aboushi from Jenin. Standing in the second row, right to left, are Wasif as-Saliby, unknown, Rouhy al-Ahmad, unknown, Muhammad Sa’ed as-Santarisy, Muhammad al-Fasi, Hamad Benjelloun from Morocco, and Shaher ad-Damin from Nablus.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with His Teacher and Colleagues at an-Najah National School, Nablus, 1931
Taken in 1931, this photograph shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud with his teacher and colleagues at an-Najah National School in Nablus. Signed by Dr. Saeb Erekat; Director of the Public Relations Department at an-Najah National University for four years between 1982-86, the photograph was gifted to the family of Mahmoud as a souvenir from the ANNU. Seen in the photograph in the first row, right to left, are Musa al-Khammash, Jawdat Tuffaha, Qadri Tuqan; the mathematics and physics teacher at the School, Thabet ad-Dabbagh, Nasuh Haidar, and Jawad abu Rabah. Standing in the second row behind the table are, right to left, Poet Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Muhammad al-Adham, Hussein Khoury, Adel Abatha, Taj ed-Din Arafat, Samih an-Nabulsi, As’ad Hashem, Subhi al-Azzouni, Burhan ed-Din al-Aboushi, unknown, Muhammad Sa’ed as-Santarisi, Sadeq Bushnaq, a man from the al-Budairy Family, and Dawood abu Ghazaleh.

A Letter from Abdulrahim Hanoun to Abdulrahim Mahmoud, 11 March 1933
Handwritten in Arabic on 11 March 1933, this archival document shows a letter from Abdulrahim Hanoun to Abdulrahim Mahmoud addressing his gratitide upon receiving a previous warm-hearted letter from Mahmoud. In the letter, Hanoun wishes Mahmoud success and safety from the envious, as well as reporting brief familial news from Anabta and Tulkarm. He also clarifies that the letter was written in a hurry and that a detailed letter will follow.

“The Shaheed”, a Poem by Abdulrahim Mahmoud, al-Amali Magazine, 1939
Printed in Arabic, this archival document shows a poem by Abdulrahim Mahmoud titled “The Shaheed (The Martyr)” that read “I shall carry my soul on the palm of my hand and toss it into the pits of death” published in the Okaz Column of the 21st issue of al-Amali Magazine; a weekly culture magazine. Published in Beirut on Friday 20 January 1939 corresponding 29 Dhu al-Qidah 1357 AH, the issue sold at five Syrian piastre and featured another poem titled “Qalbi (My Heart)” by Abdelqader Hasan from Marrakesh.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with Students and Colleagues at an-Najah National School, Nablus, 1942-43
Taken at an-Najah National School in Nablus, this photograph shows students with their teachers, including Abdulrahim Mahmoud during the school year 1942-43. The teachers seen seated right to left in the second row, behind the students seated on the ground, are Aladdin an-Nimry, Abdelwadood Ramadan, Muhammad Ali al-Khayyat, Adel Tuffaha, Sheikh Zaki abu al-Huda, Adib Mihyaar; seated on a different chair as the Principal of the School, As’ad Sharaf, Khalil al-Khammash, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Muhammad Bushnaq, and Qadri Tuqan. The teacher seen in a Tarbush standing to the far right is Muhammad Rushdi al-Khayyat, while the one on the far left in a Tarbush, a suit and a necktie is Muhammad Sa’id as-Santarisi.

“Palestine Poetry Festival”, an Invitation, 14 November 1946
Printed in Arabic, this archival document shows an invitation to the biggest poetry festival titled “Palestine Poetry Festival” held by the Dajani Scientific Committee and sponsored by Judge Aziz Bek ad-Dawody; Dean of the Dajani Family Council. Held at 04:00 PM on Thursday 14 November 1946 corresponding 19 Dhu al-Qidah 1365 AH at the Young Men’s Christian Association in Jerusalem, the Festival featured teachers; the names of which are either printed or handwritten on the invitation, including Sa’ed al-Isa, Kamal Naser, Meneh Khoury, Muhammad Hasan Aladdin from Jerusalem, Muhammad al-Adnani and Ahmad Yousef from Yafa, Hasan al-Buhairy from Haifa, Seif ed-Din Zaid al-Kilany, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Waheeb al-Bitar, and Abdelqader as-Saleh from Nablus.

The Palestine Poetry Festival, Jerusalem, 14 November 1946
A photograph taken during the Palestine Poetry Festival held on 14 November 1946 by the Dajani Scientific Committee at the Young Men’s Christian Association in Jerusalem. Featuring Palestinian poets, the festival was broadcasted live by al-Quds and the Near East radio stations. Seen seated to the right are Amin Hafeth ad-Dajani; Secretary of the Dajani Club Cultural Committee, Hasan al-Buhairy, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Waheeb al-Bitar, Abdelqader as-Saleh, Ahmad Yousef, Mustafa ad-Dabbagh, Muhammad al-Adnani, Sa’ed al-Isa, Seif ed-Din Zaid al-Kilany, Meneh Khoury, Muhammad Hasan Aladdin, Kamal Naser, and Musa ad-Dajani; compere of said Festival. Aziz ad-Dawody is also seen in the photograph delivering a speech on behalf of the Dajani Family Council. Appearing in the background is the Flag of Syria with the flags of Lebanon, Kingdom of Iraq, Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Kingdom of Syria to its left.

The Nablus Municipality Official Letter to Name a Street After Abdulrahim Mahmoud, 12 August 1976
Printed in Arabic on 12 August 1976, this document shows an official letter from Bassam Shak’a, Mayor of Nablus, to the Nablus Municipality engineer requesting that he abides by the Municipal Council’s resolution no. 6 put forward during the 10 August 1976 session regarding naming the offramp street leading to the Hamzeh Toqan’s house through Rafedia Main Street after the shaheed Abdulrahim Mahmoud.

The Migratory Cactus

Today we mark the sixty-ninth anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba through the life of an aloe vera plant currently bursting with verdant vitality at Salma Al-Khalidi’s home. Through this plant’s travels out of Palestine and back to it, we retrace the journey of a family displaced by the Nakba, and join them as they embark on their return. This cactus plant not only represents one chapter of a personal history, says Salma, but also narrates the history of an entire generation.

The Palestinian Museum was not the only entity to be granted the opportunity to delve into a story that began at the clinic of a literature and plant loving physician in Jaffa. The threads of the story split and spread out, eventually coming together again in a clay pot on one of the verandas of the family house in Ramallah. Just as Salma shares the story of the cactus plant with every guest visiting her house, she also happily gives whoever of her guests desires it a seedling from it, affirming that that is the very essence of this plant. As the plant propagates and spreads, Salma hopes that the spiritual elements of the story the plant narrates will similarly multiply and propagate its significance. Today we dig into the soil of the cactus plant once again and invite you to enter into the narrative and share the dream.

Salma Khaldi- image

When the [Haganah] gangs intensified their violence and the war became oppressive, Salma’s grandfather had to leave his Jaffa clinic towards the end of 1948. He was keen not to part from his memories and chose to take with him his dearest possessions. He told his wife, who was frantically packing their belongings, to include seedlings of the house and clinic plants. Thus the aloe vera plant reached Nablus. Several years later nostalgia transported it once again, this time with Salma’s uncle, whose desire for a spiritual extension that would intensify the meaning of his existence impelled him to carry a seedling of the plant with him to his new home in Amman. Her father, with his passion for plants, continued this natural legacy and carried a seedling of the plant with him to Kuwait. Years elapsed between one travel destination and the next, with the cactus growing in exile until it was repatriated to Palestine.

In 1990, Salma’s uncle on her mother’s side took 36 cactus plants with him on a journey from Kuwait to Amman, but all the plants perished from heat with the exception of this aloe vera. After five years of residency in Amman, Salma decided to return to Ramallah. She could think of nothing better than this cactus plant to symbolize the strong ties that bound the family together, and to guard its members against the feeling of alienation during their displacement. Thus, she carried the plant with her as she moved back to Palestine.

In the sun, the red strands that adorn its leaves make the cactus glow like a flame, says Salma as she describes the beauty of her aloe vera. She hopes that the plant’s return to Ramallah will be the first step on the road to returning to Jaffa, a return bound with the return of all Palestinians to their homeland.

As the displaced move to their exiles, so this plant moved, and as they return home, so it returned.

Text: Malak Afouneh
Translation: Rania Filfil
Editing: Alexander Baramki
Interview by: Loor Awwad
Photographs: Ihab Jad

الصّبرة المهاجرة

 اليوم نُحصي عام النّكبة التّاسع والسّتين من خلال عمر نبتة الألوفيرا الّتي “تتفجّر” الآن حيويّةً وخضارًا في بيت سلمى الخالدي. ومن خلال سفرها من فلسطين وإليها، نتتبّع رحلة عائلة هُجّرت مع النّكبة، وبدأت مسيرتها نحو العودة. لا تكتفي نبتةُ الصبّار هذه بتمثيل مجرّد جزءٍ من تاريخٍ شخصيّ لفرد، تقول سلمى، ولكنّها تعبّر عن تاريخ جيلٍ بأكمله.

لم يكن المتحف الفلسطينيّ وحده من حظي بفرصة التّغلغل في متن الحكاية الّتي بدأت من عيادة طبيبٍ شغوفٍ بالأدب والنّباتات في حيفا، وتفرّقت وتشعّبت لتلقي خيوطها في إصّيصٍ فخّاريّ على إحدى شرفاتِ منزل العائلة في رام الله. فكما تشارك سلمى قصّةَ نبتة الصبّار كلَّ من يزور منزلها، ترحّب أيضًا بمشاركة النّبة ذاتها مع كلّ من يرغب، وتقول أنّ هذا هو جوهرها. ومع انتشار فسائل النّبتة، تأمل سلمى أن تتكاثرَ أرواحُ القصّة الّتي تنقُلها، والمعاني الّتي تحملُها. واليوم ننبشُ تربة الصّبارة مرّة أخرى وندعوكم للدّخول إلى السّرد، والمشاركة في الحلم.

Salma Khaldi- image

حين اشتدّت أزمة العصابات وضيّقت الحرب خناقها، اضطرّ جدّ سلمى لمغادرة عيادته في يافا أواخر عام 1948، كان الجدّ آنذاك حريصًا على ألّا يفارق ذكرياته، فاختار أن يحمل معه تفاصيله الحميمة، وأوصى زوجته المنهمكة في توضيب متاع الرّحيل أن تأخذ معها أشتالًا من نباتات المنزل والعيادة، وهكذا وصلت الألوفيرا إلى نابلس، لينقلها الحنينُ مرّة أخرى، بعد أعوام عديدة، برفقة عمّها الّذي دفعته رغبته بإقامة امتداد روحيّ يكثّف معنى وجوده لاصطحابِ شتلة منها إلى محطّة إقامته الجديدة في عمّان. والدها الشّغوف بالنباتات أيضًا استكمل هذا الإرث العفويّ واقتطع جزءًا من النّبتة في طريقه إلى الكويت. سنواتٌ تفصلٍ بين كلٍّ محطّةِ سفرٍ وأخرى، وها هي الصّبارّة الّتي كبرت في المنفى تعود إلى فلسطين مرّة أخرى.

عام 1990، حمل خال سلمى 36 نبتةَ صبّارٍ من الكويت إلى عمّان، لتهلك جميعًا في حرّ الطريق إلّا هذه الألوفيرا. بعد خمسة أعوام من إقامتها في عمّان، وحين قرَّرَت سلمى العودة إلى رام الله، لم تجد ما هو أفضل من نبتة الصبّار هذه لتعبّر عن ارتباط أفراد العائلة، ولتحمي أبناءَها من الشّعور بالغربة عند الانتقال، فكانت من بين الأغراض الّتي نقلتها معها إلى فلسطين.

في الشّمس تبدو الصّبّارة بالخصل الحمراء الّتي توشّح أوراقها كما لو أنّها شعلة من النّار، تقول سلمى وهي تصف جمال الألوفيرا، آملةً أن يكون وجودها في رام الله خطوةً في سبيل عودتها إلى يافا، عودةً مرهونةً برجوع الفلسطينيّين إلى بلادهم.  

وكما يسير المهجّرون إلى منافيهم سارت هذه النّبتة، وكما يعودون إلى أوطانهم عادت.

نص: ملك عفونة
أجرى المقابلة: لور عواد
تصوير: إيهاب جاد

The Family Album ألبوم العائلة

حضور لبنان في صور ألبوم العائلات الفلسطينية

من غير المستغرب أن نجد لبنان حاضرة في ألبومات الفلسطينيين وذاكرتهم على امتداد التاريخ الفوتوغرافي. فبالنسبة للعديد منهم كانت امتداد جغرافي طبيعي قبل الاحتلال الاسرائيلي وذاكرة لعلاقات عائلية واجتماعية. تستذكر سامية جبران إحدى المشاركات في مشروع ألبوم العائلة قصة زواج جدها الفلسطيني جورج خلف من جدتها اللبنانية أوديت خوري عام 1939، وكيف قام أخو جدتها بإهدائها ثلاث شجرات أرز، زرعت اثنتان منها في منتزه بلدية رام الله وواحدة في ساحة مدرسة الفرندز في رام الله ولا زالت شجرات الأرز موجدات حتى الآن. في صور أخرى تحضر لبنان كمحطة أساسية في حياة كثير من العائلات والافراد فالبعض يتذكر دراسته الجامعية هناك أو التوجه لقضاء الاجازات، والسفر بالسيارة إلى بيروت والسهرات المعتادة هناك ولا تغيب لبنان عن التاريخ السياسي الفلسطيني في وقت لاحق.  نعرض صوراً تعبر عن هذا الحضور مرفقة بشروحات على لسان أصحاب الصور

 The Family Album of Abla Tubasi, Ramallah

الطبيب الفلسطيني إسحق ميخائيل أثناء عمله في بيروت.، وكان متخصصاً في جراحة العظام. توفي بعد سقوط الطائرة التي كانت تقله وكان يبلغ من العمر 44 عاماً.  1960- 1965. من ألبوم عبلة طوباسي. © المتحف الفلسطيني

Samia Jubran, Ramallah

حفل عشاء في مطعم الدلب يجمع فيروز وزوجها عاصي الرحباني وتجلس معهم دعد جبران من رام الله (الثالثة الى اليسار). بكفيا، لبنان، 15 تموز 1962. من ألبوم سامية جبران. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album of Nadia Abboushi, Ramallah

ناديا ميخائيل عبوشي و سلفيا دمياني حداد وهما فلسطينيتين أثناء أداءهما إعلان لشركة طيران الشرق الأوسط. بيروت، 1963 من ألبوم ناديا عبوشي. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album of Ghassan Abdullah, Ramallah

فهيم عبد الله من رام الله، في رحلة إلى بعلبك التقطت عام 1938. من ألبوم غسان عبد الله. © المتحف الفلسطيني

Samia Jubran, Ramallah

إكليل جورج خلف من رام الله وأوديت خوري من لبنان. لبنان 1939. من ألبوم سامية جبران. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album of Daoud Khoury, At-Tayba, Ramallah & Al-Bireh

عائلة كنعان خوري من رام الله في رحلة إلى لبنان، التقطت الصورة عام 1960. من ألبوم داوود خوري. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album of Nadia Abboushi, Ramallah

الطالبتان الفلسطينيتان ريما بطاشان وناديا ميخائيل عبوشي تدرسان في سكن الطالبات التابع لكلية بيروت للبنات (الجامعة اللبنانية الأمريكية لاحقاً) . بيروت، 1962- 1964. من ألبوم ناديا ميخائيل عبوشي. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album of Mohammad Abu Fraha, Al-Jalama, Jenin

محمد وفهمي أبو فرحة من جنين أثناء زيارتهم لابن عمهم الذي يدرس في بيروت. بيروت،1971. من ألبوم محمد أبو فرحة. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album of Nadia Abboushi, Ramallah

ناديا ميخائيل عبوشي في مشهد تمثيلي لمسرحية غنائية أثناء دراستها في بيروت. 1960-1965. من ألبوم ناديا ميخائيل عبوشي. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album of Mohammad Abu Fraha, Al-Jalama, Jenin

فلسطينيون في ساحة البرج  أثناء زيارتهم لصديقهم الذي يدرس في بيروت، التقطت الصورة عام 1974. من ألبوم محمد أبو فرحة. © المتحف الفلسطيني

The Family Album ألبوم العائلة

صور من البوم عائلة توفيق كناعنة – Pictures from Tawfiq Kananeh Family Album

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كانت جريدة الاتحاد هي التي دفعت توفيق كناعنة من عرابة البطوف في الجليل، للانخراط في العمل الوطني بدءا من العام ١٩٥٠، وقاد كناعنة نضال اسقاط ضريبة الرأس التي فرضتها سلطات الحكم العسكري على فلسطينيي الداخل عام ١٩٥٤، وبعد اعتقاله وخروجه من السجن، تقلد عام 1976 منصب سكرتير قطاع البطوف وشفاعمر في الحزب الشيوعي والذي كان له دور مهم في التعبئة الجماهيرية ليوم الأرض. نشكر المناضل توفيق كناعنة-أبو ابراهيم على شهادته التاريخية المهمة وألبومات الصور الرائعة التي زودنا بها والتي توثق جزءا مهما من نضال الشعب الفلسطيني في الداخل، ونشكره على كتابه الذي أهدانا اياه بعنوان: ذكريات ختيار لم تمت أجياله

Al-Itihad newspaper was behind the involvement of Tawfiq Kananeh, from ‘Arrabet Al-Batuf in the Galilee, in the political national movement from 1950 onwards. Kananeh led the struggle to get rid of the tax imposed by the Israeli military government on Palestinians living under the Israeli rule in 1954. In 1976, after imprisonment, he was appointed Secretary for Batuf and Shafaa Amr region in the Communist Party, which played a key role in organising mass mobilisation for Palestinian Land Day. We thank this enormously influential activist for his valuable historical testimony and the extraordinary albums of photographs that he kindly agreed to be digitised by the Palestinian Museum, which document an important part of the Palestinian people’s struggle under Israeli rule.

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The Family Album ألبوم العائلة

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عسكريان أثناء خدمتهم في قوة حرس حدود شرق الأردن، في منطقة جسر المجامع الحدودية والذي قامت عصابة البالماخ الصهيونية بتفجيره عام 1946. جسر المجامع، 1946. ألبوم عائلة ارشيد.
© المتحف الفلسطيني