Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sakakini home in Katamon in film - "Two Houses and a Longing"

Dorit Naaman, an Israeli professor of film and media at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario, has been working on a project about the history and current situation of Katamon.
An ongoing multimedia project hopes to bring to life the diverse histories of homes in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Qatamon. 
A team comprised of professors and students from Queen’s and Simon Fraser University (SFU) will work closely with families displaced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
Dorit Naaman, a professor of film and media at Queen’s, said the project has many steps, including an interactive website, digital media workshops for youth and a video installation. 
The video project “Qatamon in Colour” will encourage Qatamon families to recall their memories and experiences. These video installations will then be projected onto the houses. 
“I’m very interested in letting people tell their stories about their homes, but in a way letting the houses speak their history,” she said. “The idea of this installation is kind of letting the houses … focalize these different histories.” 
.....Families involved in the project will include not only those displaced by the conflict in 1948, but also current residents and individuals who have lived in the neighborhood since, including Israelis.

Naaman said the installation will likely be completed by 2014 and will include guided and self-guided tours. Work is set to begin this summer....

Dana Olwan, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, is a co-applicant in the organization of the project with Naaman. The process of finding the Qatamon families, Olwan told the Journal via email, is complicated and involves intricate local and global networking. 
“We are relying on already established contacts but will likely require a use of variety of tools to locate people, including archival research, email, and word of mouth,” Olwan said. 
While locating the families is one step, there are other barriers to consider, she said.
“Identifying and locating the Palestinian families does not necessarily mean that they will want to take part in this project,” she said. “The Israeli occupation has had long and lasting damaging effects on our communities and some people may prefer to not participate.” 
It’s important to understand that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hasn’t ended yet, Olwan said. “Palestinians are being dispossessed from Jerusalem right now through the building of apartheid walls, the expanding of settlements, and the confiscation of Jerusalem identification cards,” Olwan said. “Understanding and challenging the contemporary nature of the occupation is a key aim of this project.”
In 2008 Naaman made a film through the "Jerusalem Moments" project of Ir Amim about two Palestinian houses in Jerusalem, one of them the Sakakini house.

Two Houses and a Longing / שני בתים וגעגוע from Ir-Amim on Vimeo
This is the tale of two houses in Jerusalem. The first was owned by Khalil Sakakini who was forced to leave his house in the neighborhood of Katamon in April 1948. Khalil passed away in Egypt, but his daughter, Hala, returned to Katamon after 1967 and found that the house now serves as a WIZO kindergarten. The second house, which serves today as the Museum on the Seam, belonged to the Baramki family who fled at the height of the battles for East Jerusalem. After 1967 Andoni Baramki, the father, asked to return to his home, but the Israeli authorities refused his requests. From then until the end of his life Baramki visited his home every day. 
Directed by: Dorit Naaman

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