Posted on January 27, 2013 by nahida the Exiled Palestinian
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 times 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.
As I grew older, my fascination grew to the delight of my grandmother, who was so happy to see one of her granddaughters wearing her dresses and embroidered, coin-decorated hat.
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 and passion 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 delight. She told the shopkeeper how wonderful these pieces are, and was about to tell her that she is a Palestinian 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, water, books , organs, trees, stones, homes, property, food, native dishes, including hummus, 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 culture.
Since that day, my traditional Palestinian dresses painted with love and embroidered with tenderness one stitch at a time, became more than beautiful yet functional and durable garments, they are no longer mere visual poetry;
Since that day, wearing my Palestinian dress, became a Historic Statement to set the records straight.
My Palestinian dress became an act of RESISTANCE.