Archive for month: May, 2018
“Come on, let’s knock at the door,” urged my Israeli friend, Dan*, “it looks like someone’s in the garden.”
I was in Jerusalem working on our interactive documentary, Jerusalem, We Are Here. That day Dan and I were strolling down a public trail, which used to be the original Jaffa–Jerusalem railroad tracks. He had requested that I show him my mother’s house in Lower Baq’a, a West Jerusalem neighborhood.
Then I saw the blue gate and walled-in garden of my mother’s house. I had seen the house from the outside many times before, always with a tightening in my heart. Once I even toured the garden while the current owners were on vacation, thanks to the upstairs neighbor, who had a key to the garden gate.
“But Dan, what if they don’t let us in?” I asked, hesitating about going further, worrying that my request would be turned down, anticipating the same pain of rejection many Palestinians have experienced at the front door of their ancestral homes.
“But Mona, you won’t know unless you try.” And Dan was right.Read more
In 2007 I rented an apartment in Katamon for a six-month sabbatical from my university in Canada. I grew up in a different part of Israeli Jerusalem, but my parents had moved to a new development in Katamon (over the old soccer field), and as I had a one-year old baby, I wanted to be close to them. When I arrived, I could tell that the house I rented had been built before 1948 in the International architectural style common in the 1930s-40s. The staircase exuded spaciousness, but the apartment itself was small and entirely remodelled. In fact, what was once a two-family duplex, was now subdivided into seven or eight apartments.
I knew very little about Katamon, but I did know that it was Palestinian before 1948. A few years earlier I read Ghada Karmi’s memoir In Search of Fatima and while the book left a deep impression on me, her Katamon and the one I was wandering with a stroller in tow did not quite align. For one thing, there were no markers for any of the landmarks, such as the Semiramis or Bellevue family-owned hotels, the Lebanese and Iraqi consulates, or the perimeters of security zone A, which the British set up when the “troubles” (to use an imperial euphemism) started. How could I find out where those places were?Read more
We are excited to introduce this new informational website to supplement the main Jerusalem, We Are Here project website. It will serve as our main platform for all project-related information. (We will continue to cross-post on Facebook.)
More importantly, this website will host our blog – a space to represent all our voices and a vehicle for continuing to tell the story of Palestinian Jerusalem. We hope that these voices will include not only those of our team members but also some of the many contributors to this project as well as other guests’.
We invite you to take a few moments to browse the site. You will find details on how the project came to be and who made it happen by contributing in different ways, big and small (About); how the project has been received in the media and in academia, and the awards it has earned (News); where it has been screened so far and is scheduled to be presented in the future (Events); and a slew of resources (books, articles, films and websites/social media pages) we recommend that relate to the subject (Resources).
If you would like to be notified of new events and blog posts, please use the Subscription form at the bottom of the page to sign up for email updates.
We look forward to continuing the conversation!
The Jerusalem, We Are Here Team