When a dress becomes an act of Resistance


The Vibrant Colours of Palestine

When I was  young, I was fascinated by the beautiful dresses of my grandmothers, their intricate colourful embroidery, their comfort and modesty appealed to my taste. It became a ritual for me to “borrow” such dresses from both my grandmothers, whenever we went to visit. My happiest and most exciting were the times I would wear such a dress and run outside to play, or to walk to the apple and grape orchard of my grandfather.

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As I grew older, my fascination grew, to the delight of my grandmother, who was overjoyed to see one of her granddaughters taking a liking to something she likes and wearing her embroidered dresses and coin-decorated hat. Filled with pride and happiness and with her usual huge grin, she would always choose the best of her dresses and help me put it on.

Several years later, I was able to produce some of my own embroidered dresses, and wore them with passion.

Until one day, my sister  told me a story that made me not only want to wear my Palestinian dresses out of love for the artwork and the beauty they represent, but also for a totally different reason.

My sister who lives in Australia, told me that she was shopping one day, and was enthralled to find one of the shops displaying some of these Palestinian embroidered dresses and crafts.

She ran into the shop in utter joy and excitement. She told the shopkeeper how wonderful these pieces are, and was about to tell her that she is a Palestinian herself and this is her Homeland’s traditional costume.

But before my sister could say a word, the shopkeeper made a shockingly false statement: “oh, this is our “Israeli” traditional dress and embroidery” ! ! !

My sister was left gobsmacked, outraged and fuming with anger!

“These people have no decency

They have no shame

Not only that they ROBBED our Homeland,   waterbooks organs, trees,  stones, homes,  property, food and native dishes, including hummus and falafel, but even our embroidery and traditional dress.

A disparate gang of rootless, disconnected robbers who have NO homogeneous culture, so they invent one by stealing ours !!”

The theft of Palestine became the greatest robbery in the history of mankind, a robbery of millennia old heritage and the attempted destruction of a superbly refined  and peaceful agricultural culture.

Caressed with the same gentle hands that tended the land, painted with love and embroidered with tenderness, one stitch at a time, a visual poetry exquisitely echoing the vibrant breathtaking beauty of the landscape, my Palestinian dresses became since that day, more than the beautiful traditional dress of my grandmothers, they are no longer mere functional and durable garments;

 Since that day, wearing my Palestinian dress, became a Historic Statement to set the records straight.

My Palestinian dress became an act of RESISTANCE.

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11 Responses

  1. Palestine (The Holy Land) and its wonderful people will always remain in my heart!

    Basheer Ahmad

    Like

    • May your heart be always filled with love, light and iman
      May your heart blossom with joy, peace and contentment

      Like

      • Dear Nahida

        A purified heart is always filled with love. Despite all the misfortunes that I have personally endured (and still enduring), I am quite a happy fellow!
        The light is all over the place except in the hearts of most of us and we indeed live in the Kali Yug.
        If my imaan is not what it should be, whatever I hold is never to go away, insha’Allah.

        Thanks for your kind words and wishes. I wish you the same and much more.

        Miko Peled, the General’s son exposes Jewish/Zionist lies.,

        Basheer Ahmad

        Like

  2. What wonderful cloth and such intricate artwork, made with love and pride..

    Remember this, Nahida; Nothing and no one can ever take away who you are or your rich heritage. It belongs to you and you alone, for all time. No one can steal your thoughts, your identity, your very soul. Least of all, those who never possessed one in the first place. No better than grave robbers, cheap fakes. But you and yours are ‘the real deal’. Woven into every precious thread of those beautiful dresses that have seen so much, stood. the test of time. And so will you.

    Like

    • Thank you Miss Costello for such encouraging and uplifting words.
      May you live to see the day of liberation of Palestine
      and may your heart rejoice and find peace that day

      Like

      • Better still, hope I’m there (liberation) when it happens. Thank you, Nahida. x

        Like

  3. I love your dresses, especially the little alterations to the traditional style, with the looser sleeves ending in closed cuffs and the gathers under the yoke. Did you embroider and sew them your self?

    Like

    • Thank you Carol, I sew and embroider some of my dresses not all, because of the amount of time it needs, but I design them, choose the colours and the pattern. I pay for the embroidery work, and usually my lovely and very kind auntie put the dress together.
      Since my childhood, I loved comfortable wide clothing, I could never put a tight thing on. When I became an adult I just experimented and discovered that I can make my own clothing which I could never find anywhere, because my taste is not common and not many people would wear such loose garments.

      The design is simple, I don’t need a patten, I just draw on the fabric and cut. It’s a bit like 3D drawing.
      One of my dresses I just made the design of the embroidery as I went along, I enjoyed doing that very much.

      Like

      • We definitely have the same tastes! I always wondered why you couldn’t add a little fullness under the yoke, and now I see you can. The green one is my favorite.

        Like

  4. Beautiful clothing modeled by an obviously modest woman with a beautiful mind. The child is adorable.

    Like

  5. When a dress becomes an act of “Resistance”?

    Funny how the focus is on the dress and not on the resistance!

    Having said that, Sister Nahida, the embroidery is simply MAGNIFICENT!

    Regards
    Basheer

    Like

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