My Palestinian Story

Exploring the Palestinian side of my family

Tag: Mona

It’s a Small World, Jamileh!

On 15 May Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, the anniversary of the 1948 catastrophe – the destruction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian lives brought about by the creation of the state of Israel. A few nights ago, a Palestinian friend posted on Facebook an Al Jazeera article regarding the Nakba. I started reading it until halfway through I was stopped in my tracks by the cover photo of an embedded video. It was a photograph of a band and I’d be damned if I didn’t recognise the man on the bottom-right corner playing the saxophone! It was a face I’d seen in photos more than once.

I gave up on the article and immediately started watching the video instead. A 50-minute documentary titled “Lost Cities of Palestine” made in 2011 by Ramez Kazmouz, it described the richness of urban life in Haifa, Jaffa and Nazareth in the 1930s and ‘40s, through interviews with old and some not-so-old Palestinians and lots of archival footage and photos. Fascinating and at the same time depressing as the history of lost homelands tends to be.

Lost Cities of Palestine – an Al Jazeera film by Ramez Kazmouz (2011)

Lost Cities of Palestine – an Al Jazeera film by Ramez Kazmouz (2011)

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Jerusalem 2015

I’ve picked up again The Club (Η Λέσχη), the first book of Stratis Tsirkas’ Drifting Cities trilogy (Ακυβέρνητες Πολιτείες, Στρατή Τσίρκα). I started it years ago but never finished it. Couldn’t appreciate it at the time and found it confusing. But after my last trip to Jerusalem, the book practically begged to be read.

Not only is the writing beautiful but I now have such a better sense of the place and even the time in which it is set: Jerusalem during World War II. And as one reviewer of the book has said, Jerusalem is the main character in the book.

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The Katamon Project

In August 2012, my aunt Cynthia from New York forwarded me an email  from a lady called Mona who in her turn was forwarding an email from a Dr Dana Olwan, at the time Assistant Professor in a British Columbia university (and currently at Syracuse Uni). Dana wrote:

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