Palestinian Embroidered Shawl

In Attire

The Palestinian embroidery to me is much more than x-shaped stitches on fabric, than colorful designs of birds or flowers, than antique items bought and sold at souvenir shops. 

To grow up a wanderer – with multiple identities or none at all –  is to treasure the smallest of details that trace back to my origins: 

I was born in Damascus, Syria, to parents who were both born in Damascus, Syria. Yet, we have always been Palestinians. We lived in a city called the Yarmouk Camp that was built for the Palestinian immigrants of 1948, amongst whom my grandmother was a 3-year-old. 

When we escaped war-torn Syria in 2013 and came to the US, suddenly, we were renamed ‘’Syrians.’’ It felt strange. The Syrianness we never claimed nor had the right to claim haunted us; IT claimed us. The question ‘’where are you from?’’ became impossible to answer; I could not pin a place down and say, ‘’There! That’s where I belong.’’ 

‘’Where do you call home?’’ is the question I wish people would ask. Because to that, I can simply say my Palestinian embroidered shawl. As a Palestinian-Syrian-American now, I discovered what a joy it is to cherish objects as the idea of home – to say ‘’I live in the stitches, the threads, the colors, the fabric of a land I never visited.’’ 

Truly, we do not belong to places; places belong to us - to the things we keep in closets and drawers. 

Place(s): Palestine
Year: 2013

– Sara Abou Rashed

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child