Friday, October 17, 2008

Local salad and identity spoliation

Wikipedia reminds us that the famous “Israeli salad” is also named sometimes an “Arabic salad”! Indeed, the borders of gastronomy do not always fit with the political frontiers and the (famous) Kefraya wine, from the Lebanese Bekaa, could become, according to this article (arabic) in al-Akhbar, an Israeli brand in the US States!

Obviously enough, people in the Middle East are quite upset to see that the recently born Israeli state has a tendency to phagocyte anything it could. For instance, air hostesses on El Al Israeli aircraft carriers wear a so-called “national dress” whith embroideries, a tradition which can be traced back to the Kanaan people who have been expelled from their original land by the Hebrew tribes according to the Bible.

During the last Olympic games, the Israeli state participated in the Beijing international garden by a symbolic donation: a “gazelle horn” -- as this flower has been referred to in Arabic for centuries – and, even more offensiveg, an olive tree, although thousands of them have been uprooted by the caterpillars of its alleged “Defense army”!

Not so long before, the publication of “Palestinian Art,” a book by Gannit Ancori became a sort of scandal when famous Palestinian artist and Art historian Kamal Boullata complained about the plagiarism of his own works and ideas by the author, professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

However, Bilal al-Shubaki, professor of Political sciences in the West bank is probably right when he understands (article in arabic) the spoliation of the Palestinian memory as a consequence of Israel lack of national identity.

As usual, the link to the more developed post in French. Photo : Mémoire de soie, costumes et parures de Palestine et de Jordanie, Paris, IMA-EDIFRA, 1988, from the Widad Kawar's collection.

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