Saturday, November 13, 2010


Reclaiming History

After losing homes and businesses, land and families, it may not seem like much to lose libraries, but for the Palestinians it’s part of reclaiming history. The cultural heritage embodied by the Palestinian libraries, confiscated by the invading Zionists in 1948, constitute a documentation of their intellectual life despite the invasions by Romans, Turks, British and Israelis.

As an expression of their experience leading up to the Nakba, the looting of their libraries is now the subject of The Great Book Robbery, a documentary film project by an Israeli filmmaker and Palestinian journalist. As some of the collections were destroyed by Israeli archivists as unsuitable material, much remains stored and catalogued, and as such has the potential to be restored to their rightful owners.

As a corollary to the restitution to Jews dispossessed by the Nazi bureaucracy, the act of returning these properties could become an important moment in reconciling the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.


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