Palestine is an ancient land. Many people have lived there, many have died there. Traces of this diverse cultural heritage are everywhere to be seen, preserved in its soil and stones. Scratch the surface of any patch of soil in the Galilee or Judean desert and expose a strata of lives and cultures, Greek, Roman Jewish, Arab, Christian who at one time or another lay claim to its history.
From the beginning of the 20th Century two peoples have fought for the right to call this land home, the Palestinian who had lived on the lands without interruption for centuries, and the Jewish populations of European, Arab and African countries who dreamed of a homeland in the land of David.
For Zionists, the history of the Land of Israel is written deep within the stones and soil of Palestine. Archaeological excavations are used to construct a link between contemporary Jews and an ancient tribal territory; in an attempt to rebuild Jewish Identity as Israeli identity. For the Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish, stones encompass the very substance of Palestinian life, the roof and walls that form an unspoken, existential bond between people and place. The former Palestinian villages of Kafr Bir’im, Iqrit, and El–Ghabsiya, located in Northern Israel, are featured in this photographic study.
This “struggle over stones” of the ancient land of Palestine is part of a wider rhetorical battle about the meaning of land, home, and place, perceptions of homeland, and the struggle between two memories.
And, memories are long here.
The project ‘Stories in Stone’ is an attempt to give a voice to these memories.