Guest contribution by Rana Nazzal
Tatreez, or embroidery, is a Palestinian tradition deeply rooted in the history and culture of Palestine. It is a form of art and a language of expression. If we study the symbols and patterns of each area of Palestine, we can witness the connection of the Palestinian people to their land. Tatreez depicts not only the surrounding nature but also rites of passages and historical events. It is deeply historical but has also evolved as Palestine has been colonized, ethnically cleansed, divided, and occupied.
For me, preserving our embroidery is congruent with preserving our identity and telling our story. I live in the diaspora only because my father was forcefully evicted from his home in Tabaria in 1948. Although I am denied my homeland I maintain my identity through our traditions, including the practice of tatreez. Through each stitch I feel closer to what has been denied to me and I embed a deeper hope to one day return.
Rana Nazzal is a Palestinian-Canadian completing her undergraduate degree at Carleton University. She is an active member of Students Against Israeli Apartheid-Carleton, and photographs and blogs at zaytouni.wordpress.com.