UN marks Palestinian Solidarity day with refugee photo exhibition
As UN announces Year of Solidarity with Palestinian People, UNRWA opens Jerusalem exhibition of photographs of Palestinian refugees. 'Collective memory is a vital element of identity,' UNRWA head says of digital archive which symbolically portrays 1948 images
The project, which coincides with the UN's International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People being marked Friday, is part of the agency's larger project of digitizing and archiving some half a million pictures and films of Palestinian refugees.
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Symbolically, as of publication, 1948 pictures have been uploaded to the website.
Filippo Grandi, head of UNRWA, said that “Collective memory is a vital element of communal identity and this rich archive documents one element of Palestinian identity: The refugee experience. Digitization was our only option for preservation."
Answering claims that the agency perpetuates the plight of Palestinian refugees by preserving their impermanence, UNRWA's spokesperson, Christopher Gunness, who spoke to Ynet, said that the body works to allow the refugees to enjoy their full human rights, including the right to end their suffering both in the past and the present.
"The exhibition's message is clear: It says 'these people exist, they have a history and they deserve a future in which they and their children can live in honor and enjoy full rights."
According to him there is an attempt to erase the refugees from the historical narrative, but, he says, the fact that this archive is being digitized saves it from destruction. And has now become an inseparable part of the Middle East's intellectual landscape.
The exhibition has already registered its first 'narrative' success when it was on the FrontPage of the New York Times news-site.
The UN has named 2014 as the Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – beginning Friday which marks the UN vote on the partition plan of British Palestine. On Monday the UN will observe International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (which was postponed from Friday because of Thanksgiving."
On Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke about the UN’s solidarity with Palestinians, and commented on peace talks currently underway.
“We cannot afford to lose the current moment of opportunity,” Ban Ki-moon.
“The goal remains clear – an end to the occupation that started in 1967 and the creation of a sovereign, independent, and viable State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders, living side by side in peace with a secure State of Israel.”
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