Kawar Signs "Threads of Identity"
Mrs Layla Sharaf has described the book Threads of Identity as a humanitarian and artistic piece of work on civilization, which aspires to preserve the national memory of a people. In the speech she delivered during a book signing ceremony under her patronage in the evening of the day before yesterday at the Orthodox Club in Amman, Senator Sharaf said that the writer of the book, Widad Kawar, was one of the leading figures in Palestinian and Jordanian work on culture and civilization. This is clearly evident through her heritage journey that extends beyond half a century of time.
Mrs Sharaf affirmed that such a concerted work as the one Mrs Kawar has carried out no longer qualifies as only a work of culture and art, but acquires a political dimension also through the researcher's travels in a large number of countries over a period of more than 20 years to present her national project to the West in the form of this beautiful heritage.
She pointed out that within its pages, the book carries many messages that have an artistic, cultural, political, and civilization dimension, by underscoring the role of Palestinian women and the stories of their lives and the life of their homeland.
On her part, the researcher Widad Kawar said in an exclusive interview with Al-Dustur on the sidelines of the signing ceremony that she spent over two years working on this book. She wanted it to be published in English in an attempt to address the West and present a picture of the life of Palestinian Arabs before the Nakbah, in order to refute the Zionist story which alleges that there was a vacuum in the culture and civilization of Palestine before it was occupied. She affirmed that the book tells the real stories of Palestinian women from various regions of Palestine. The women narrated these stories themselves about the Nakbah, their exile, and their lives. She described her book as representing "the work of the soul for the soul," thus making use of embroidery terminology to describe the women and their costumes.
In the speech she delivered during the ceremony, Kawar added that the book no longer talks about the story of the costumes, but goes beyond to become stories of women and homeland. She noted that her interest in documenting the robes of the Palestinian villages prompted her to pay attention also to the costumes produced in the cities and the social life of the people who wear them, as well as picking up an interest in Jordanian costumes, which along with others like them are exposed to the danger of extinction due to the changes in social life.
On her part, the founder of Rimal Publications in Cyprus, Nora Shawwa, who published the book, said in an interview with Al-Dustur that a large team of specialists worked to accomplish this book, which is a document directed primarily at the western reader. The house has received many orders from the United States and European countries for the book, which is considered the first of its kind in this field. Shawwa added that the positive reaction to the publication of the book, Threads of Identity, confirms that the question of Palestine is still at the top of the list of priorities of people in the Arab countries and elsewhere.
To conclude the ceremony, the Palestinian singer Rim Banna, who came especially from Nazareth for the ceremony, sang some of her songs consisting of subject matter that befitted the subject matter of the book itself.
The ceremony, which was delayed for one whole hour, was very well attended by many people who are interested in the heritage, including a large group of the women whose stories the book narrates. They attended the ceremony wearing their traditional costumes.
Review by Hisham Awdah - Amman
11 December 2010