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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