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Is it as important as the Taj Mahal?UNESCO World Heritage Site Palestinian Refugee Camp | Architecture

NShe Dheisheh refugee camp The area near Bethlehem is not very similar to the usual UNESCO World Heritage Site. First of all, there are no souvenir stalls or herds of accessory stores. Instead, a cracked concrete wall covered with Arabian graffiti surrounds the entrance to the corner store. There, an old copier stands next to some few grocery shelves. While the electrical cables and phone lines hang unstable overhead, Taxi roams the perforated streets between the mountains of broken breeze blocks.

However New exhibition in the Mosaic Room in London This awkward place of mass migration was set out to argue that it should be considered worthy of the same protected position as Machu Picchu, Venice, or Taj Mahal. “We want to destabilize the traditional notion of Western heritage,” says Alessandro Petty. “How do you record the heritage of asylum culture? How do you value the heritage of a stateless population when a world heritage can only be nominated by a nation-state?”

Since 2007, Petty has been working with Sandy Hiral, who heads DAAR. Architectural arts research group decolonizingWalk agilely between the worlds of architecture, politics and development. For the past seven years, they have worked with Palestinian refugees in the Dheisha camp to put together documents that are unlikely to be submitted to UNESCO, and the “universal value of excellence” of the place as the longest and largest refugee location in the world. I have insisted.

“How do you rate the heritage of the stateless population?”… Dheisheh refugee camp. Photo: Luca Capuano

In the process of describing them as “taking it seriously,” they used the UN Heritage Agency’s own esoteric nomination criteria to overturn the idea of ​​international heritage protection and make assumptions about this perhaps temporary camp situation. Asked the question. “Is the camp just a miserable place?” They ask. “Or is it creating value that needs to be recognized and protected?”

The exhibition begins with setting the scene in a large cluster of free-standing lightboxes in the gallery on the ground floor, shining with the atmospheric shots of the Dheisheh camp. They were photographed by Italian photographer Luca Capuano, formerly commissioned by UNESCO. Record Italy’s famous World Heritage Site.. The purpose of Petty and Hilal was to bring some of his carefully constructed night shots of his carefully constructed night shots to the makeshift mix of refugee camps in the Venetian alleys and Tuscan hill town squares. .. The scene is of captivating cinematic quality, with a pool of light half-opened from the doorway and a charming alley just around the corner. Squint and you may be in Venice-the shots are included for comparison and remind you of the city’s own beginnings as a haven. It is a world away from the usual image of refugee camps and is forever portrayed as a desperate place of tanned despair.

Founded in 1949 to accommodate more than 3,000 Palestinians expelled from the village by Jewish militia during the Arab-Israeli War, Dheisha subsequently expanded to accommodate 15,000.It started as Tent campIt is located on a military grid next to undulating land leased to the United Nations Relief Agency (UNRWA) by the Jordanian government (which still technically owns the land). In the 1950s, as there were no signs of conflict relief, UNRWA began building small concrete shelters with a rule of 1 square meter per family per person and sharing bathrooms with every 15 shelters. .. Over time, the family added more rooms and the parcels were consolidated, expanded, and built on the fly.

Now, more than 70 years later, Dheisheh is little like the way you imagine a refugee camp. When I visited in 2018, I found a winding street of high-rise concrete houses, not a line of tents and shelters, but a densely built-up city location that has evolved little by little over decades. rice field. There are shops, schools, mosques and community centers, all packed in an area of ​​less than 0.5 square kilometers. The only giveaway in that status is the occasional UN-branded garbage truck that patrols narrow lanes.

The walls remain bare and the rebar sticks out from most rooftops, but there’s good reason for everything to look unfinished. Dheisheh says Petty and Giral “Permanent temporaryness”.. According to the refugee home villages, the neighborhood is still loosely populated, with families dreaming of returning to ancestral lands just a few kilometers away beyond the inaccessible concrete walls of Israeli security barriers. I’m sticking.

“Permanent Temporary” … Stateless Heritage Exhibition.

“There is widespread belief among Palestinian refugees that thinking of a camp as their own home would endanger their right of return,” says Hilal, who grew up in the nearby town of Beit Safour, a hotbed of political activity. .. “People try to improve their buildings and living conditions, but at the same time they are ashamed to own their home.” She said a man had a small pool in his yard. Explains that he encountered digging. When she asked what he was doing, he quickly became defensive, assuming she would blame her for making the camp his permanent home. “There is a stigma for being seen as too calm.”

It has not been helped by international recognition. Giral describes a “disastrous tour” taking place around Dheisha for foreign tourists. Banksy Walled Off Hotel In Bethlehem, all bedrooms offer views of graffiti-covered concrete security walls. “The only known history is the history of violence, suffering and humiliation,” she says. “How can I talk about the camp in a more positive tone?”

At the London exhibition, one room in the gallery was transformed into a living room, or “Madafe.” Here, Palestinian community organizer Omar Himidat will hold a rally every Sunday in connection with the parallel space of Dheisha linked via Zoom. From a collection of music tapes to Gaza textile coverings to Himidat’s own oud, donated by a local Palestinian expatriate, there are many items to choose from. “It’s a way to contaminate the idea of ​​a white cube,” says Petty. “We want the exhibition to be a lively place for gatherings and production.”

The third room downstairs Right of return of Palestinian refugees Forty-four villages near Jerusalem and Hebron are on display, from which Dheisha residents were forced to flee. The large-format booklet of Capuano’s photographs opens on pedestals with spotlights of various heights, creating an inspiring landscape of asylum seekers.

“Green is used to hide crime” … Israel’s picnic area now occupies the location of the former Palestinian village of Alkab. Photo: Luca Capuano

70 years after the Palestinian family evacuated, their village Can’t be recognized.. Some are now Israeli national parks and are equipped with picnic benches where Palestinian homes once stood. Other places are industrial sites, such as concrete silos and iron huts trampling fields and fruit trees. However, most are simply overgrown, planted with pine trees and eucalyptus. As Hilal says, “green is used to hide crime.”

In their accompanying book, Refugee heritageThe duo, which details the process of putting together a World Heritage recommendation, sees the village as a heritage site parallel to the camp, and exists as a direct product of the inaccessibility of one to the other. In UNESCO’s words, they point out that the outstanding universal value of a World Heritage Site depends on its ability to “cross borders.” What is a better example of them than a place with a dual existence that “transcends these boundaries through the living reality of statelessness, refugees, and asylum” than Dheisheh and its associated villages?

Their work is becoming more and more devastating due to the political impossibility of that goal. Of course, their nomination never reaches UNESCO – as a place of extraterritoriality cut out of state sovereignty, the home of stateless people, and no political party to present it.

Is it as important as the Taj Mahal?UNESCO World Heritage Site Palestinian Refugee Camp | Architecture

Source link Is it as important as the Taj Mahal?UNESCO World Heritage Site Palestinian Refugee Camp | Architecture

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