Earlier this summer I shared reflections on my journey to Ibdis, where my father introduced my brother and I to the ruins of our grandparents’ village, now a nameless cluster of debris on a commercial Israeli farm. It was a haunting homecoming, my own bittersweet “Birthright” voyage.
And this is truly the experience of our people—whether in the Diaspora, under occupation, or living out our days as lesser members within the racist structure of the Israeli state, to be a Palestinian means to bear a very unique burden. It means to grow up with ghosts, shadows of what could have been, and the constant horror of what continues to be.
Yet I dare to say that the overwhelming spirit of our people is one of beautiful, improbable hope. It is a spirit that, even in the face of violence, theft, oppression, humiliation, and denial, has stoutly refused to be destroyed.
In this film, also dedicated to the village-that-was, Ibdis, several young and talented artists (two of whom I am proud to call my siblings!) have captured some of that spirit. Recently awarded “Best Music Video” by the now-international Mosaic Student Film Festival, this film was filmed in Palestine, Israel, and Jordan. As the creator Dana Shihadah writes in her intro, “the beautiful hearts of my Palestinian friends and family have inspired me to speak out…and to seek beauty even in hideous darkness.”
It is a message to Palestinians everywhere to remember where they come from. History is a weapon, and a wellspring of hope. As the lyrics, written by Tariq Shihadah, remind us,
stories are crowns
ornamented rings on our fingers
they who hold fast