The Palestinian Museum's emptiness is a fitting metaphor

Published May 20th, 2016 - 05:20 GMT
A Palestinian farmer watches over his olive trees, flanked by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank on October  28, 2014. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
A Palestinian farmer watches over his olive trees, flanked by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank on October 28, 2014. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

There will be no objects in the museum  

Absence is the crucial feature of our Palestinian-ness. No matter who we are and how we end up being called - West Bank, Gaza, 1948 Palestinians, refugees inside or outside, diaspora kids, third-generation Americans, we all carry absence like a yoke. We slouch. It defines the way we perceive our love lives, our families, our friendships, our cities, and our nation. Whatever the reason was that the museum opened with no exhibition, it seemed a fitting opening.  There is nothing to see. It is a moment in time, a space where we can feel both proud and sad. It is a celebration and a dirge. It is our exile made manifest.

Continue reading on Miniscules 


In Kurdish 'capital of culture,' the art must go on 

Despite the financial crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan and the security crisis in the rest of Iraq, that affects the semi-autonomous northern region too, the city of Sulaymaniyah is hanging onto its title as the most arty and cultural place in the country.

In 2012, Sulaymaniyah was named the cultural capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, which has its own borders, government and legislation and operates semi-independently of the rest of Iraq. And although there’s been some criticism of the title, the city’s leaders and artists are proud to say that they’re continuing to run cultural events, festivals and exhibitions, despite obstacles. One of the most recent was the second European Union Film Festival, which started on May 15 and will run until tomorrow. The film festival features European films and a selection of local offerings too.

Continue reading on Niqash   


Five films that will help you understand the modern Arab World  

Recently, I was preparing the programme for a new season on contemporary film from the Arab world at The Mosaic Rooms in London. I have been privileged to watch incredible short and feature length films from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt. I believe these films make visible what is often invisible to the rest of the world – people’s everyday struggles.

Filmmakers in the region are in a unique position to counter preconceptions fostered by mainstream media. They have persisted in their desire to tell their stories, against the odds. Their creativity attests to their imagination, courage and resilience, and how they respond creatively to crisis is a source of inspiration to all of us.

Continue reading on Your Middle East


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