The Tragedy Of Young Palestinians in Gaza

“We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?”

From The Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) Manifesto

Some years ago, an anonymous group of young Palestinians started the GYBO movement whose Manifesto — possibly a plea to the world community for help — took no side in the conflict, but simply stated the desire for a stable, peaceful future without their being the victims anymore. That desire for peace was a significant indication of indigenous Palestinian intentions as opposed to the ethnic cleansing policies of their Israeli occupiers whose rapacious racist views were reiterated by deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely when she claimed that “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.”

In spite of that bitch’s assertion — and former virago Prime Minister Golda Meir’s claim that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people . . . It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist” — the Palestinian people have been in existence for centuries and still are existing despite brutal air, sea, and land blockades that prevent freedom of movement and the import of essential foods, much needed medical supplies, and the materials necessary for reconstruction of the infrastructure that war criminal Israel had so barbarically destroyed.

Any hope for the continued existence of a Palestinian society in the future therefore rests with its youth. Gaza’s population for example is predominantly young with half of its 1.8 million people being younger than 14, and 20 percent being between the ages of 15 and 24. Like other regions in the Middle East, Gaza’s youth unemployment rate is among the highest in the world at a staggering 50 percent. The economy and job market in Gaza have been limited by the aforementioned restrictions and poverty plagues more than a fifth of its population. For young people, higher education and work opportunities are not easy to come by with the under-14 population bubble constantly increasing the influx of working-age youngsters for whom there are no jobs.

It is consequently heartening to see Young Palestinian taking the initiative and becoming involved with organisations such as GYBO and the Palestinian Youth Empowerment Program. One interesting enterprise, Hand Made, concerns Palestinian embroidery which is an important part of Palestinian identity. The Bethlehem Museum sums up this traditional Palestine craft as follows:

Among the turmoil and tragedy of present Palestinian existence, the beauty of Palestinian embroidery is like a ray of light that brings a smile to most people’s faces. Whether one is living in Palestine or anywhere else around the globe, it is a source of great pride and joy that one incorporates into one’s life, whether as pillows and wall hangings to decorate a home, a traditional dress to wear at special parties, an elegant evening jacket, or a priceless gift to give a friend. As old workshops and young designers find new ways to introduce Palestinian embroidery into elegant modern wear, the survival of this precious heritage is perpetuated and strengthened.

Although some individual features of Palestinian costume and embroidery are shared with aspects of textile arts of neighbouring Arab countries, the Palestinian style has its special uniqueness that is easily recognised by textile art enthusiasts all over the world. Most books on international embroidery present Palestinian traditional costume and embroidery as the prime example of Middle Eastern embroidery, affirming its worldwide fame.

How did this art form develop? Actually, a study of the development of the traditional Palestinian costume through the ages proves that this traditional costume contains historical data that documents centuries of textile-art development in the region, an art form that has somehow amazingly survived to this day. Whether one studies the ancient traditional simple cut of the thobe, the history of the headdresses and accessories, the amazing variety of styles of embroidery, the types of stitches, or the ancient origins of its patterns and motifs, one is deeply impressed with the historical richness of this legacy that dates back thousands of years, and which affirms the antiquity of Palestinian existence and roots, and the survival of its ancient heritage.

For more information on Hand made Palestinian embroidery email:

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