Putting Palestinian embroidery on the world stage – Middle East Monitor


An official United Nations organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has finally added the art of Palestinian embroidery to its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is certainly good news. In addition to the appreciation, recognition and distinction of this national art, this step adds to the inscription of Palestine in the world as an identity with characteristics, marks and a long history. This helps the battle for survival in the face of the continued fierce attack by Zionist colonialism and its supporters to abolish the Palestinian identity and its symbols.

One of the latest manifestations of the theft of Palestinian embroidery by the Israeli occupation was to dress the Miss Universe candidates, who were hosted by Israel, in traditional Palestinian clothing and use their photos to promote tourism, on the grounds that this dress is an Israeli symbol. Israel’s theft of everything Palestinian, from land and houses to dishes, fashion, art and even monuments and architectural styles, is an attempt to give identity and heritage to a made nation. by appropriating the identity of a real people. We remember Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev wearing a dress at the Cannes Film Festival with the Old City of East Jerusalem occupied with the walls of Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock painted on it.

In fact, there is hardly any national dress in the world as beautiful and distinctive as the dress of Palestinian women. It is not completely uniform like most people’s national costumes are, but it is also considered one costume. It is a very diverse composition within the framework of the unit. Its versions differ in colors, details and shapes of embroidery in order to identify the region of origin of its owner. There is the Nablus robe, Ramallah robe, Jenin robe, Jerusalem robe, Bethlehem robe, Beersheba robe, etc., but these are all Palestinian robes.

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The Palestinian dress, or thobe, is not made by simply cutting the fabric and sewing it together, like most dresses in the world. It was not bought ready-made on the market. Girls learn embroidery from their mothers as part of their education and life skills. Most of the strong Palestinian women made their own thobes and it took them a long time to embroider and miraculous precision. The size of a rose, stem, bird, or any shape in dozens of these artistic units repeated in the garment will not differ from each other, not even by a single point. Thus, Palestinian women are natural artists when it comes to creating and wearing these distinctive works of art.

Palestinian women around the world still keep traditional dresses in their closets as part of their Palestinian needs. These dresses not only have sentimental and heritage value, but they can be worn on any occasion and are a fashion for all occasions and eras. The traditional forms of the Palestinian dress have developed and embroidery is used on various patterns and modern designs of women’s dresses. Palestinian embroidery is also used in paintings, bedspreads and ornaments that decorate homes and objects. Palestinians cannot be confused with anything wearing the unique Palestinian art of embroidery.

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Sadly, the generation of mothers who wore the hand-embroidered Palestinian dress all the time is gradually disappearing, especially outside occupied Palestine, while the daughters only wear it for special occasions. However, this garment deserves to be put back on the world stage and worn wherever possible as a sign of the strong and enduring Palestinian presence in the world. In fact, despite all the modern Palestinian dresses and the various “embroidered” designs of designs or sewing machines that emerge, the dresses of the original mothers who embroidered them with their own hands have that particular spirit that distinguishes manual labor and is organically linked to Palestinian history.

Recognitions of the elements of Palestinian identity continue, and it becomes clear that it is impossible to ignore the Palestinian people and expel them from existence, as the sponsors of the Zionist colonization project had hoped. As gloomy as the Palestinian scene may seem, the history and legacy of Palestine triumph over the global erasure factors and stand out from the turbulent, anhistorical and artificial formation of the Zionist enemy. The long decades of conflict have proven that Palestinian identity cannot be erased because of its authenticity and the richness of its components. It is a struggle in which the fragile and cowardly competitor who is perpetuated by money, guns, injustice and the power of external supporters will not resist, nor will be perpetuated by the self-qualifications that he does not possess. not. Everything human or natural in Palestine will continue to resonate with its Palestinians and remind foreigners that they do not belong to things there and not to Palestine.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Ghad December 22, 2021

The opinions expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.


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