The Language of Palestinian Tatreez

September 8, 2017

PSN is thrilled to host a presentation and two hands-on workshops on the history, meaning, and story behind the Palestinian traditional art of tatreez.

The Language of Palestinian Tatreez
Presentation by Wafa Ghnaim and Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim
Friday, September 29 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 2-190
Corner of 114 St & 87 Ave, University of Alberta (map)

RSVP for this free presentation on Facebook or Eventbrite.

For generations, Palestinian women have gathered together with their daughters to work collectively on traditional Palestinian tatreez embroidery projects, bonding with one another over a cup of tea. Over time, and after the exodus of Palestinians from Palestine in 1948, embroidery has become an endangered art that has been subjected to decades of cultural appropriation.

But embroidery represents more than just a village craft of old Palestine — it became the primary form of communication for Palestinian women who used needlework as a way to express their opinions, share their stories, and document their protest of occupation, war and violence.

In this presentation, Wafa Ghnaim and her mother Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim will decode and discuss the meaning and history of traditional tatreez embroidery patterns, bringing traditional Palestinian embroidery to life by revealing the profound depth in meaning, inspiration, and storytelling power that is encapsulated in each motif.

This event is free and open to the public.

PSN is a working group of the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG), and their support has made this event possible.


Palestinian Tatreez Workshops
With Wafa Ghnaim and Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim
Saturday, September 30
$20 regular | $12 low-income/student

Morning workshop: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Afternoon workshop: 2:00  pm – 5:00 pm
University of Alberta campus

Space is limited! Registration to both the morning and afternoon workshop is required.

Participants will learn how to embroider a traditional Palestinian embroidery motif, using the cross-stitch technique, to create a small wall-hanging to frame. The workshop will be hosted by Wafa Ghnaim and Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, who will provide a hands-on tutorial to participants on how to embroider using traditional Palestinian techniques, focused on the preservation of the indigenous, endangered art of Palestinian embroidery.

The workshop is centered on Wafa’s book, Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora, which attempts to preserve the craft of embroidery as well as the art of storytelling that is encapsulated in each traditional Palestinian motif.

Wafa and her sisters grew up learning the time-honored folk art and tradition of embroidery from their mother, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim. Researching over thirty years’ worth of oral history interviews, recorded demonstrations, lectures, journal entries and photographs from her and her mother, Wafa documents, decodes and preserves the patterns, meanings and oral history of over a dozen traditional Palestinian embroidery designs passed on for generations between women in her family.

For generations, Palestinian women have gathered together with their daughters to work collectively on embroidery projects, bonding with one another over a cup of tea. Over time, and after the exodus of Palestinians from Palestine in 1948, embroidery has become an endangered art that has been subjected to decades of cultural appropriation. But embroidery represents more than just a village craft of old Palestine — it became the primary form of communication for Palestinian women who used needlework as a way to express their opinions, share their stories, and document their protest of occupation, war and violence.

All materials will be provided. Due to the preparation required for the workshop, we cannot offer refunds for cancelled registrations.

Register online for the morning workshop.

Register online for the afternoon workshop.

About the presenters

Wafa Ghnaim is an American born Palestinian businesswoman, writer and artist. Her father’s side of the family is from Yaffa, Palestine, though they now reside in Amman, Jordan. Her mother was born in Safad, Palestine, twice displaced — first, to Damascus, Syria and then to Amman, Jordan. Wafa and her two sisters began learning Palestinian embroidery from their mother when they were each about 4 years old.

Wafa is the author of Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora, which is based on over 30 years’ worth of oral history interviews, recorded demonstrations, lectures, journal entries and photographs from her and her mother. In the book Wafa documents, decodes and preserves the patterns, meanings and oral history of over a dozen traditional Palestinian embroidery designs passed on for generations between women in her family.

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim was born in Safad, a northern city in Palestine. During the 1947-48 war, her and her family fled Palestine for refuge with the intention of returning after the war was over. Her family first fled to Damascus, Syria. Then to Manbej, a town in Northern Syria near Aleppo where they resided until 1952 when they moved to Irbid, Jordan.

Feryal learned embroidery from her mother and grandmother in Syria. Palestinian women have gathered together for generations with their daughters to work collectively on embroidery projects, bonding with one another over a cup of tea, and Feryal found solace in continuing the tradition with her own daughters.

Feryal has dedicated her life’s work to teaching young women of color the traditional art of Palestinian embroidery and fabric art, and still leads workshops and classes at all educational levels in public schools in Oregon, and is a four-time grant recipient of the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program through the Oregon Folklife Network.

For full bios of Wafa and Feryal, visit tatreezandtea.com.

PSN is a working group of the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG), and their support has made this event possible.


Souls by Aksam Alyousef at the Edmonton Fringe

August 16, 2017

Souls at the Edmonton Fringe
August 18 – 27
Venue #4 – Academy at King Edward
8525 101 St

Souls, a play exploring the situation in Israel-Palestine is part of the 2018 Edmonton Fringe Festival.

“Do you see an end to this struggle?” asks Hannah, the protagonist of Syrian playwright Aksam Alyousef’s new play Souls. This daring and sensitive play explores the notions of justice, guilt, redemption, and the complex emotions and opinions that swirl around the ongoing conflict in Israel-Palestine.

It tells the story of Hannah, a Canadian lawyer who moves to Israel with her husband, and into the home of a displaced Palestinian family. Hannah’s conscience is shaken when she meets the soul of the previous resident – a woman killed by a settler’s bullet.

Venue #4
Academy at King Edward
8525 101 St

Showtimes:

Friday, August 18 at 9:30 pm
Monday, August 21 at 3:45 pm
Wednesday, August 23 at 2:15 pm
Thursday, August 24 at 8:45 pm
Friday, August 25 at 12:00 pm
Sunday, August 27 at 8:00 pm

Tickets $13 – Students/Seniors $10. Tickets go on sale at noon on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. You can purchase tickets in advance on the Fringe Festival website or call (780) 409-1910. Tickets can also be purchased in person at any of the Festival Box Offices.

If you can’t make it to the play, you can also make an online donation to support the costs of the production of Souls.

Presented by Multicultural Theatre
Written and directed by Aksam Alyousef
Featuring: Sarah Spicer, Shawn Prasad, Amena Shehab and Gnin Alyousef
Stage managed by FengYi Jiang
Stage design by Sarah Kostaska
Poster art by Aboud Alsamlan
Dramaturgy by Morgan Norwich


Al-Quds Day 2017 Rally

June 22, 2017

Al-Quds Day 2017 Rally
Saturday, June 24 (6:00 pm)

Alberta Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue NW, Edmonton
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event!

The International Day of al-Quds is an annual event, supporting a just peace for Palestine, and opposing apartheid Israel’s control of Jerusalem (al-Quds in Arabic: القـُدْس), the international city that stands as a powerful symbol to three of the world’s great religious traditions. It is held each year at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

On June 24, 2017, organizers in Edmonton will host the 6th annual Al-Quds Day rally. On this day, all across the planet, a commemoration is held to honour the Palestinian plight for justice. With the current series of bloodshed, torture and injustice, we cannot afford to remain silent.

Remember, you don’t need to be Palestinian to care, you simply have to be human.

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Ghada Ageel (editor of Apartheid in Palestine) and Carmen Jarrah (author of Smuggled Stories from the Holy Land).


May 25: Join the global one-day hunger strike for Palestinian prisoners

May 24, 2017

International solidarity activists have issued a call for a global one-day hunger strike on Thursday, May 25 in support of more than 1,500 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners who have been participating in the Strike for Dignity and Freedom for more than month.

The strikers’ demands are for basic human rights: an end to the denial of family visits, proper health care and medical treatment, the right to access distance higher education, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

Pledge to take part on May 25

If you are in Canada, please make a pledge to join the Palestinian prisoners in a one-day solidarity hunger strike on May 25 (or another day)

You can connect with other Canadian participating in the day of solidarity and share your story on the Canadians in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners Facebook page.

Other actions you can take

Stay up to date and share widely on social media the daily updates on the hunger strikers from the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network (read the latest update from May 23, Day 37 of the hunger strike) and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

If you are in Canada, use this online tool from Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University to call on the Canadian government to support Palestinian prisoner demands

Sign the Americas-wide petition in support of the hunger strikers.

Participate in and share the #saltwaterchallenge to show your support:

Update your social media profile pics to the image below:

Follow and share tweets with the hashtags #FreedomAndDignity, #DignityStrike, and #PalHunger.

Respond to the calls from Palestinian civil society to grow support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. (Read BNC support statements from April 17, May 9, and May 24).


Join the Open Shuhada Street Campaign

February 21, 2017

The Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements has launched its 8th Annual Open Shuhada Street Campaign, which runs February 19-27, 2017.

Shuhada Street, once the main thoroughfare in Hebron has been almost entirely closed to Palestinians since 1994 when American-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in the Ibrahimi mosque killing 29 in worship and wounding over 100 more.

While Israeli settlers roam freely on the streets and carry arms, Palestinians homes and shops are sealed shut and families must pass through checkpoints to reach their homes. Roads in Hebron are divided in half, one side for Jews, and one side for Muslims, and Palestinians face physical daily attacks by ideologically extreme and violent settlers and soldiers.

The Open Shuhada Street Campaign takes place in Hebron and around the world annually the week of February 25th in commemoration of the anniversary of the Ibrahimi massacre. In Hebron the campaign consists of a week of events culminating in a march that attempts to go down Shuhada Street. Internationally, the 2017 campaign will focus on stopping global financier Goldman Sachs from funneling money to the Hebron Fund.

What you can do to help Open Shuhada Street

Join the international Thunderclap taking place on Friday, February 24.

Sign and share the petition calling on Goldman Sachs to stop funding settlers in Hebron.

Sign and share the petition calling on UN Secretary General António Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad to pressure Israel to open Shuhada Street.

Like and share posts from the Youth Against Settlements Facebook page to let your social media networks know about what is happening in Hebron.

Follow Youth Against Settlements on Twitter and retweet their posts throughout the campaign using the hashtag #openshuhadast

Share information specifically about the baseless charges against Youth Against Settlements human rights defender Issa Amro. Read about Issa’s case from Amnesty International here and here, and on the Electronic Intifada. Tag @issaamro and use the hashtag #IssaAmro

Plan an action in your city! For campaign materials and additional information, visit the 8th Annual International Open Shuhada Street Campaign page

Additional background information

Read the Mondoweiss article, Why you should join the 8th annual International Open Shuhada Street Campaign

Read the New York Times op-ed, Who’s Afraid of Nonviolence?

Read the Electronic Intifada article, Israel indicts “Palestinian Gandhi” and view the photo essay, Israel’s war on nonviolent resistance in Hebron


Palestine: Paving the Path from Occupation to Justice

January 16, 2017

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Palestine Solidarity Network is pleased to be part of the University of Alberta International’s International Week 2017, which runs from January 30 – February 5.

PSN-U of A is presenting the following session:

Palestine: Paving the Path from Occupation to Justice
Monday, January 30 (3:00 – 4:30 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy 1-182
South Corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street, U of A Campus
(Click here for map)

2017 marks the 50th year of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. This panel features Palestinian and international solidarity activist voices, who will introduce the reality of the situation in Palestine and explore the various forms of nonviolent resistance that Palestinians and international solidarity activists are undertaking to bring an end to the occupation and ensure a transition to a peaceful co-existence between Palestine and Israel.

About the speakers:

Mohammad Othman (via Skype from Palestine) is a Palestinian non-violent activist, community organizer and film producer with over a decade of experience working for and founding various NGOs across Palestine and traveling around the world speaking on behalf of Palestinian rights. As youth coordinator with the Stop the Wall campaign, Mohammad worked with students all over Palestine leading community building and leadership programs. As a tour guide, his clients have included former American President Jimmy Carter and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mohammad is now the Executive Director of SkateQilya, a youth empowerment program that uses skateboarding as a tool to teach art, community building, and leadership skills to Palestinian girls and boys in the West Bank.

Eoin Murray is an Irish author who lived in Gaza during the Second Intifada. In late 2016, Eoin travelled on his latest trip to Gaza, the West Bank, and Occupied East Jerusalem.

Fatme Elkadry is a first-generation Canadian with familial roots in Safed, Palestine. She is currently studying Human Geography at the University of Alberta and is particularly interested in food deserts and social housing within cities. In her spare time, Fatme enjoys drawing, playing the ukulele, and advocating for Palestinian human rights.

Scott Harris is a member of Palestine Solidarity Network. During Israel’s 2008-09 attack on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead), he volunteered in the West Bank with the International Solidarity Movement.

***

We encourage you to check out the other great sessions taking place throughout the week. You can get full session information on the iWeek website or by downloading the program guide. One additional session of note to those interested in Palestine is:

Muslims and the Middle East in a Post- Trump Era
Friday, February 3 (1:00 – 2:30 pm)
Telus Centre Room 134
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Featuring Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi, ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies and the Department of Political Science

What does a Trump presidency mean for the current crisis in the Middle East? Many in the world are anxious to learn about Trump’s policies on Syria, Iraq and ISIS, as well as his plans for addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Iran nuclear deal. This session will shed light on how US President Trump’s policies will affect Muslims around the world, particularly those living in North America.

 


Gaza Calls: Canada Answers

November 7, 2016

gaza-calls

Gaza Calls: Canada Answers
Live Canada-wide video conference with Gaza
Saturday, November 26 (10 am – 1 pm)
Southminster-Steinhauer United Church 
10740 19 Avenue (map)

Help us spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

PSN is pleased to be one of the Edmonton sponsors of Canadian Friends of Sabeel‘s Canada-wide live three-hour video-conference on Gaza, with Q&A and opportunities to take collective action.

On Nov 26th, three Palestinians will connect with over a dozen locations across Canada for an in depth discussion on current medical, social, and legal issues in Gaza! The three panelists are:

  • Suhaila Tarazi (director of Al Ahli Arab Hospital, Gaza)
  • Sami El-Yousef (regional director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association – CNEWA)
  • Raji Sourani (lawyer, recipient of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and director of Palestinian Centre for Human Rights – Gaza)

Nearly 2 million people in Gaza live in an open air prison, under a severe blockade imposed by the government of Israel. According to a recent UN report, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 if things continue along the current trajectory. Please join us for this vitally important opportunity to hear voices from Gaza.

This is a free event, but donations will be accepted, with all proceeds going medical relief projects in Gaza.

Free parking is available.

Local sponsors:

Edmonton Interfaith Centre
Edmonton Presbytery, United Church of Canada
Garneau United Church
Independent Jewish Voices
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta
Palestine Solidarity Network
Southminster-Steinhauer United Church

National sponsors:

Anglican Church of Canada
Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA)
Presbyterian Church of Canada
United Church of Canada
United Network for Peace and Justice in Palestine/Israel (UNJPPI)