Doha News took a stroll through Palestinian culture and collective imagination.
With the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their lands by Israel in 1948 and as the illegal occupation of the land continues, many generations have been raised far from their homeland.
Seeking to depict a free Palestine without the restrictions placed by the apartheid state, students at Qatar University’s Aelia student club brought the atmosphere of Jerusalem to Doha.
Titled “Palestine’s Streets”, the three day event, which ended on Tuesday, displayed different cultural elements of the Palestinian culture as well as the forms of resistance against the ongoing Israeli occupation.
Upon entering, visitors received a ticket granting them the ability to “freely roam the lands of Palestine”, providing them with a sense of freedom that Palestinians living under the occupation have grown strange to over the past seven decades.
The Palestinian keffiyeh and colors of the occupied land’s flag decorated the event’s venue. For decades, the keffiyeh, a black and white scarf, has been used as a key symbol of resistance by Palestinians, dating as far back as the 1936 Arab Revolt.
With poetry also serving as a form of resistance, a “Poets Cafe” was set up at the event where images of renowned Palestinian poets, including Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani, were displayed.
“It is meant to depict how in the past, poets and educators used to gather around and discuss topics that were in debate at the time, like politics, tradition and culture or even literature,” Noor, a member of Aelia club, told Doha News.
Visitors were given the space to write their thoughts and feelings towards Palestine at the Poets Cafe. One message a person left was: “You will remain Palestine. Forever and always.”
Further down the hall, a worn out classroom with broken walls was installed to depict the places left behind since the Nakba. The same area has a wall plastered with the images of children who were killed by Israel over the past years.
Between 2000 and 2021, Israel has killed 2,198 Palestinian children, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine. Last year was the deadliest year for Palestinian children, where 86 were killed by the occupation’s forces.
Moving from the cultural section, people were able to enter a traditional Palestinian souq, or market, where fresh Palestinian goods were available for visitors to touch and taste.
Amongst the products displayed was the Palestinian olive oil, a gift from trees that have been seen as a symbol of resistance. Olive trees are known to be drought-resistant and are able to grow despite poor soil conditions.
The characteristics of the tree are used to describe resistant Palestinians facing more than 70 years of occupation. Palestinian olive trees are as old as 4,000 years, making them some of the oldest olive trees in the world.
Due to the symbolism they carry, Israelis would constantly uproot the trees and disrupt Palestinian farmers during the olive harvest season, which takes place every October.
Since no market is complete without fashion, traditional Palestinian dresses embellished with embroidery were available for people to admire and try on.
In December last year, the United Nations Cultural Agency (UNESCO) listed Palestinian embroidery on its Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
“The Palestinian thobes [dresses] are an important part of our tradition. They are not merely stitches as each pattern represents a city, a story, an entity and an important event in Palestine,” Dua Hussein, founder of Ibret Samaa, a store for Palestinian fashion, told Doha News.