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HERITAGE
Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation  
Volume 10,  No. 2                             October 2004

Palestinian Heritage Foundation

Seventeenth Anniversary Banquet

In Memory of

Edward W. Said

On Sunday, September 12, 2004 the Palestinian Heritage Foundation held its Seventeenth Anniversary Banquet in memory of the late Edward W. Said.

Four of Dr. Said's friends were invited to participate to honor his memory: Among those joining in the commemoration were Dr. Rashid Khalidi, professor of History at Columbia University, Mrs. Naila Asali, former Chairwoman of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, Dr. Clovis Maksoud, Head of the Department of Global South at the American University in Washington DC, Dr. Ziad Asali, President of the American Task Force for Palestine and renowned composer and musician Dr. Simon Shaheen.

Mariam Said

The most heartwarming aspect of the banquet was the presence of many friends and supporters.  There were 250 attendees, several traveling considerable distances to be there.  The evening also featured displays of artwork by artists Jihan Tannous, Duha Khaddash and Rajie Cook. The mood of the evening was that of a family party, which is not surprising, since PHF’s supporters share a concern about their common heritage as members of a larger Palestinian family.   

The Arab American Medical Association, New Jersey Chapter co-sponsored the Banquet in honor of their late friend Abu Wadi.

 

The speeches of the contributors to the Banquet are below:

Naila Asali

With the passing of Edward Said, his family, friends, colleagues, students, readers and critics suffered a loss.  Yes, even his critics, for he challenged them in ways that commanded respect and appreciation of his perspective.  But loss is a single event and every death is a loss.  What lingers with the loss of this man is the continued absence, the wide, deep nothing where a single man once stood.  And we are left with a great nothing where there once was a rare figure who spoke for us and to us and about us while now there is silence. In French, I miss you is tu me manques. You lack to me. I am lacking you. I am diminished by your absence. I am less because you are not here. I believe that we miss Edward Said in precisely that way.  We are now lacking.

Naila Asali

But Edward was a teacher and he has taught us enough to fill even his own absence. As a result of his deep, probing, incisive thought, we have the tools to speak for ourselves in the way in which we had depended on him to do on our behalf.  I do not expect that there will be another Edward Said. No such man will ever again exist but we can hope that there will be men and women of brilliance and discipline who can take his work and provide their own voices to the discussion of what it means to be an Arab in America. Someone to describe what it is to be so thoroughly immersed in two cultures that one is no longer simply a product of either but a new, strange and ultimately wonderful thing that is whole and plural. 

Edward and his generation of Palestinian Americans suffered tremendous loss. Country, identity, homes, family, history and the attendant material representations of each. I believe that Edward Said did as much as a single man can to chronicle, analyze, and redress the individual loss. Furthermore, he strove to redress the loss on behalf of the Palestinian people. His entire professional life was spent in service to this cause. Now, those who lost so much have had to learn to live with the loss of Edward Said

But history persists and our story is still being told. Edward Said spent a lifetime teaching the world what it means to be slighted by history. He taught the world the toll that losing takes but he also redefined the stakes of victory. Triumph which diminishes the vanquished also depletes the victor. We must believe in the promise of a history in which injustice is met with justice and not retribution. We must learn that loss is not the defeat. Betrayal of the legacy is defeat. Silence is defeat. Accepting to lack, that is defeat. Edward was not defeated. He has simply stepped aside so that others may receive the laurel of victory. Who of us who remains in the fight will take up the challenge?

 

Dr. Clovis Maksoud

Needless to say, I am frustrated and disappointed that I am unable to be with you tonight. Concerns about our forthcoming UNDP Arab Human Development Report 2004 on freedoms and governance has delayed my return. My regret for my absence tonight is surpassed only by the overwhelming pain in the memory of Miriam’s phone call almost a year ago to inform me that Edward wants me to know that he cannot attend and speak—a tribute you honored me with one year ago.

I was so moved by the fact that Edward even thought of the event at that moment! That gesture, amidst his trying hours, demonstrated a thoughtfulness that truly defined his unique blend of sensitivity, elegance and consciousness; which vividly explains Edward’s enduring and indeed ennobling impact on his wide spectrum of friends, admirers, peers and students. It also helps us comprehend his guiding role and exemplary leadership that emboldened the constituency of conscience in the United States, the Arab world and throughout. It, once again, has emboldened us to face the difficulties and the widespread challenges we, and coming generations, are confronting and will continue to face.

Friends, the memorial tonight is a celebration of his enriching legacy, and an opportunity to remember how lucky we were to have lived with him. And more importantly for us during our collective quest for the peace of anchored security provides; to remember the excitement of national and human liberation and the delight in the struggle for justice. For Edward, these were viable and achievable commitments. This is why he remained uncompromising and why he often expressed anger—so stimulating and elegant in his outbursts—so inspirational.

While Edward was disdainful of compromise, this disdain was matched by the intensity of his efforts at genuine reconciliation. For Edward, compromise weakens the integrity of our common humanity and reconciliation animates it. This is how Edward Said was able to render the function of culture an enhancement of the quality of life for all. From his perspective, Palestine was not only his patrimony of origin, but it was where justice and injustice had an arena of confrontation. In this respect, there was no room for compromise under the pretext of realism, but reconciliation to heal the wounds and stop the bleeding, not only of humanity, but the bleeding of mutual commonalities.

To Edward, this was not an “Arab-Jewish” conflict, but an Arab conflict with the Zionist project that inflicts untold suffering on the Palestinian people, and eventually on the Jews themselves. Edward’s powerful breakthrough into this eventuality rendered him an apostle of reconciliation rather than the so-called “realist” that opportunist pragmatists wanted him to be. His joint musical appearances with Berenboim and the intellectual engagements with many of his Jewish counterparts in academic and progressive circles made him insistent that the Palestinian struggle should always take the “moral high ground.”

To you, my friends gathered tonight—Edward Said’s friends—please revel in the immense wealth of his legacy and celebrate Abu Wadi, the potential contagion that his set of ideals can become;  namely the new reality that has long eluded the Arabs and particularly the Palestinian people.

To Miriam, the family: However much we celebrate Edward and Hala, and how genuine our pride and appreciation for the warmth that has enveloped us through them, there will always be a nagging lump that inextricably links us to the extended family they have provided us and the very special bonds that have rendered their memory integral to whatever remains of our lives.

To you Farah and his family, the Palestinian Heritage Foundation: We all realize that your investment in this cultural enterprise will be a principal contribution to the Arab and Muslim American communities and hopefully to the American community at large that Palestine lives.

 

The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music 

The National Conservatory of Music (NCM) was established in 1993 in the city of Ramallah, Palestine. Since then, two more branches have been established in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The three centers, with a total enrollment of 440 students, teach performance of Oriental and Western instruments such as the Oud, Qanoun, Buzuk, Nay, Flute, Cello, Piano, Guitar, Percussions and Violin, as well as theory and musical history.

At the NCM’s 2004 Graduation Ceremony, Mrs. Rima Tarazi, Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors, announced that as of September 2004, the Center’s name would be officially changed to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM), dedicated to the memory of the late giant and honorary Board Member of the Center.

The ESNCM music curriculum is designed to give its students a broadly structured instrumental and theoretical musical education.  It consists of three levels: Preparatory, Elementary and Intermediate. Upon completing the three levels, students are in a position to apply to any university or music academy.

The ESNCM has published a series of four books called Sharqiyat for students in the Department of Oriental Music, and a Piano Book for Beginners consisting of 40 Arabic folk tunes. The Center is also working on the formation of a full-fledged Palestinian Orchestra of 120 musicians within the next five-year. Six musicians who have graduated from the Conservatory are now on their way to complete doctoral degrees in music.

 

PHF Donates to Edward Said National Conservatory of Music

The Palestinian Heritage Foundation has donated $4,000.00 to the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah, Palestine. The donation will help the ESNCM acquire badly-needed musical instruments for students attending the Conservatory.

In a letter addressed to the Foundation, the ESNCM General Director, Mr. Suhail Khoury wrote:

On behalf of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, I would like to thank you and convey to you our deepest gratitude for your decision to make a donation to the Conservatory. It is such wonderful gestures and donations like that of the Palestine Heritage Foundation that keeps us going and keeps us able to make a difference in the lives of Palestinian children. To see those children and teenagers flocking to the conservatory every day with their musical instruments on their backs or in their hands with a proud smile on their face makes all the difference for us and makes us very happy.

I hope that all the people who made donations would feel very proud and happy themselves having participated in such a wonderful and successful project.

We agree to use your donation towards buying musical instruments.  We will let you know what exactly has been bought as soon as we receive your donation and make the purchase . . . .

Yours truly,

Suhail Khoury
General Director
The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music

 

PHF Joins the Ibn Rushd Center Festivities in Richmond VA

On Saturday, September 18, 2004, the Palestinian Heritage Foundation participated in a program sponsored by the Ibn Rushd Cultural Center in Richmond, Virginia. Hanan Munayyer presented a lecture and slide show about the history of art, crafts and embroidery in the Middle East.  More than 300 people were in attendance, including Dr. Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi, the keynote speaker for the evening.

The afternoon program included a dabkeh troupe, an exhibition of Palestinian art and crafts and selections of antique costumes, pillows and scarves from the Munayyer Collection. Following the program, the audience enjoyed Arabic food prepared by the ladies of the Center.

PHF would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Jamil Abed of the Ibn Rushd Center for their kind invitation to participate in the program and for giving us the opportunity to meet the Arab American community of Richmond, Virginia.

 Note below Dr. Ashrawi's letter to PHF.

 

 

Hania Salam Osman Joins PHF Advisory Board 

Mrs. Hania Salam Osman of Washington DC, and sister of the late Dr. Hala Salam Maksoud, accepted PHF’s invitation to join the Foundation's Advisory Board. PHF’s invitation to Mrs. Osman was offered in appreciation of the generous donation made by Mrs. Osman and her brother Ousama Salam of their late sister Hala's collection of Arab costumes to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation.  

From left: Usama Sakam, Ziad Asali, Rashid Khalidi and Hania Salam Osman

Hania Salam Osman was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She is the daughter of Malek Salam and Najwa Karami. Hania graduated from Beirut College for Women in 1966.  She is married to Ghassan Osman and has three daughters: Ghida, Nayla and Maria and four grandchildren. 

 

 Rare Antique Doll Collection Donated to PHF

Former U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait William Stoltfuz of Princeton, New Jersey has donated to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation a rare collection of dolls wearing Arab costumes representing Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. The dolls were purchased by Ambassador Stoltfuz' parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Stoltfuz who went to Lebanon in 1917 as missionaries and within a few years had established the Beirut College for Women (BCW). Some years later, they established a similar institution in Aleppo, Syria.

The BCW later became co-educational and became known as the Lebanese American University (LAU).  These institutions significantly contributed to the education of thousands of women and men from the Arab world who today form the backbone of the educated and cultured personalities in the Arab world. 

Ambassador Stoltfuz

The dolls were purchased by the Stoltfuz from UNRWA camps in Lebanon in the late 1940s and early 1950s immediately after the Palestinian naqba, ending up in refugee camps in Lebanon under the auspices of the United Nations. Ambassador Stoltfuz is now retired and lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and is an active member of the Princeton Middle East Society. The Palestinian Heritage Foundation would like to thank Ambassador Stoltfuz for preserving these dolls and for his generosity in donating this collection to PHF. The Foundation was honored to host Ambassador Stoltfuz as its guest at the Seventeenth Anniversary Banquet where the dolls were on public display. 

 

 PHF Exhibit Collections at the Heritage Museum in PA

Selections from the Munayyer Collection and the Palestinian Heritage Foundation collection are currently on display at the newly-dedicated Heritage Museum at the Learning Center of the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Costumes from the Bethlehem and Jerusalem areas were included in this exhibit, which will extend through the Christmas season. An extensive Palestinian exhibit covering all regions of Palestine will be opened at the museum in early 2005 for a duration of six months, to be followed by a Syrian exhibit and, eventually, by a pan- Arab costume show.

The Foundation is currently raising funds to construct a platform for the display, and to purchase mannequins and other items to befit such a unique collection and a state-of–the–art museum.

Dedicated last June, the Heritage Museum inaugural exhibition included paintings and drawings by Gibran Khalil Gibran on loan from the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, GA, and original letters in Arabic from Gibran to then Archimandrite Antony Bashir who translated Gibran's book The Prophet from English into Arabic. 

 

ANTIOCHIAN MUSEUM ADDED HOLIDAY ATTRACTION FOR REGION

By Denise O’Neal

As the Christmas holiday season approaches, stop to consider how Mary and Joseph looked as they quieted their hearts in a stable for the birth of Jesus Christ.  Then, plan a visit to the new Antiochian Heritage Museum at Antiochian Village Conference Center to view “From Bethlehem to Jerusalem:  A Glimpse from the Past,” a new temporary exhibition providing samples of the traditional ancient dress and its symbolic heritage.

Visitors will enjoy a special life-size nativity scene comprised of Mary, Joseph and Jesus wearing authentic dress of this historic region. Noteworthy is the “Bethlehem Chestpiece,” a colorful, intricately designed and hand-embroidered garment accessory that was added to a traditional dress to cover a woman’s chest.  This “malak,” meaning majestic, was highly admired and was adopted by surrounding villages for its symbolism.  The embroidered ancient “tree of life” vine remained constant while later evolutions of the chestpiece included a cross for Christ and four medallions representative of the four evangelists from the New Testament Bible, Saints Luke, Mark, Matthew and John.

Variety in fabrics, colors and other accessories such as belts, scarves and cloaks, and headpieces are also shown.  Historically and traditionally, each village developed a unique combination of dress and accessory elements that became a badge of its identity.  Special explanations are offered relative to symbolism and origins of particular items and designs.  The costume displays are set amidst a variety of Eastern crafted cultural items.

The magnificent display of ancient Eastern dress is part of the Munayyer Collection of the Palestine Heritage Foundation.  Farah Munayyer, born in Jaffa and Hanan his wife, from Haifa, have spent the past 12 years developing the collection.  An outgrowth of the costumes, the Munayyers founded the Palestine Heritage Foundation in 1992 to preserve Palestinian arts and crafts and to educate people about the Middle Eastern culture. The antique costume collection, though still acquiring items, is the most complete collection in existence.

“We are delighted to show the Bethlehem exhibition for the holiday season in the Ligonier Valley and Laurel Highlands Region. It will remain on temporary display into the spring,” said Father Michael Massouh, Executive Director for Antiochian Village. “It has been displayed at venues such as the United Nations, the National Cathedral, the Fuller Museum in Boston, the Mingei Museum of Folk Art in California, Harvard University, and West Point Military Academy,” he added. 

In addition to the new exhibition, the Museum’s permanent exhibition, “Iconography, Religious Relics, Cultural Artifacts,” is comprised of religious relics, cultural items, and historical artifacts that demonstrate the rich cultural heritage of the Middle-Eastern people and Eastern Christianity. Part of the Antiochian Permanent Collection, this exhibition takes visitors on an enlightenment journey through the Middle Eastern ancestry of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Included are examples of artistic craftsmanship in metal work, woodwork, iconography, and various household and garment textiles.

Above from left: Man and woman from Bethlehem, costumes from Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Ramallah khirqa, evolution of Bethlehem chestpiece, 
Ramallah smadeh, Ramallah and Bethlem headpieces. Middle row: Brass tray, Bethlehem costumes, Jerusalem costumes, Jerusalem and Bethlehem 
costumes, straw tray, Below row: Close up of  Jerusalem and Bethlehem jackets, scarf from Jerusalem, Bethlehem chestpiece, Bethlehem shatweh,
Antique brass lamp and Jerusalem sleeve.

 

Randa Munayyer Receives Award from NJ State Council on the Arts

Dear Ms. Munayyer

Congratulations! The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is pleased to inform you that you have been awarded a Folk Arts Apprenticeship grant in the amount of $3,000.00. Your application was reviewed by a panel of folk cultural specialists and was determined to be among the best in meeting the criteria for this grant program.

The panel found Hanan Munayyer to be an excellent master of traditional Palestinian Embroidery and Craft and found you to be well prepared for and committed to developing your skills in this art form.

 

 

Letters to PHF.......

It was wonderful seeing you, Farah, and Hanan in Richmond, VA. Your work is impressive indeed, and Hanan's presentation was captivating.

Hanan Ashrawi

 

I would like to thank you for your kind invitation to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation Dinner last evening. Your gracious hospitality was extraordinary and well beyond any expectations. It was a privilege to meet you and to be seated with your distinguished guests, Mrs. Said, Dr. and Mrs. Asali, Simon Shaheen, Mr. Ousama Salam and especially Dr. Rasid Khalidi, with whom I had an opportunity to renew my friendship after so many years. All were most gracious and welcoming. Last night I felt proud of my Arab heritage and at home in your company.

Wishing you continued success in your important work of preserving the Palestinian cultural heritage and God's blessing on you and your family.

Kail C. Ellis College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  

Villanova University

 

As always, PHF's banquet is a highlight.  You Munayyers sure know how to organize excellent events! 

Jane Adas, AMEU

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