I I I have finally done some work with fabric such as it is- I have been rather aghast at the unfolding events in Gaza. I started looking at the number of Palestinian child deaths since 2000 but decided that in order to see the more complete picture i ought to also see how many Israeli child deaths there had been since 2000 as a result of non-peaceful activities as well . There is actually a website called Remembering the Children which records these statistics which I found on an American website which discusses both sides of the issues.
I also looked at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child part of the preamble which reads:
Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,
Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,
Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity,From the United Nations Convention ratified in 1989
I, and I imagine any other parent in the world would deplore the death of any child in non-peaceful circumstances , but i find the disparity in the figures alarming. For example since 2000, 121 Israeli children have died and 734 Palestinian children- so 6 times as many palestinian children have died as compared with Israeli children- and then when you look at the method of death - many Palestinian children die as a result of gunshots to the head or chest. In 2006 one Israeli child has died ( as a result of contact with an unexploded mortar shell) and 29 palestinian children have died- 31 if you count the two unborn children who died with their mothers.
So my fabric I made today is about the loss of children's deaths in palestine. I took a traditional cross stitch motif which i found in a book I was given when I was in Ramallah called "Palestinian Embroidery-Traditional Fallahi Cross Stitch" byWidad Kamel Kawar and Tania Tamari Nasir. I liked this motif as there were crosses within the crosses ( many palestinians are Christian so the straight crosses are a reminder of that, even armed as early christian crosses were) and then made a lino cut from a drawing I made of the motif. I then printed it onto muslin which is very lightweight and soft. I am sort of thinking that these might be more in the way of comforter as quilts origianlly were but at the moment and am not quite sure where I will go with it- maybe quilt with cross stitch. I did dye some crochet cotton in order to do this. I am still thinking at the moment as to how i will utitlise this. It felt good to finally do something.
There is a really interesting article about cross stitch being made in refugee camps called Hanging by a Thread at the Women for Palestine website. And an Australian photographer who is a volunteer, called Cassandra Mathie is recording the lives of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, she is also teaching the refugees to photograph their own identity- those who have no identity papers and some of whom are second generation non-persons