We all have a story to tell, a land to live in and a cultural heritage. But the memory of Palestinians and Palestinians supposes something else. Preserve your identity is a one of a kind survival, dignity and resistance. “When we open the history books we feel the soul of past generations. We who were expelled from our cities and towns must document and write our history so that it is not lost”, says Samir Elshereef.
Samir Elshareef, 63 years old, is a Palestinian refugee born in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza. Samir is passionate about searching for Palestinian heritage. He owns around 400 unique and different antiques used by previous generations of Palestinians, as well as clothing and accessories. This passion led him to investigate more and more about his identity and his origins in Almajdal, the village where his family lived before the Nakba.
The Nakba it is the historical episode in which the Palestinian population was forced to abandon their lands by the Israeli army in 1948. More than 700,000 people were expelled from their homes after the Arab-Israeli war and became refugees. This catastrophe, as the Palestinians call it, continues to perpetuate itself after almost 75 years.
Today they are more than 5.7 million who are still waiting for a fair and definitive solution to their situation.
“My parents went through a very difficult time when they were forced to leave their homeland in 1948. I was looking for details that would comfort my nostalgia and I remembered my grandfather’s traditional kerosene lamp and now I keep it in a corner of my house,” he says. Samir.
The Nakba is alive in all the boys and girls who live under occupation in the West Bank or under the blockade in Gaza and in all the Palestinian refugees sentenced to life in a camp in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. But the occupation threatens not only the Palestinian territory, but also its culture and therefore your identity.
Culture talks about who we are, where we come from, and how we behave. It is part of our DNA and constitutes our identity from the moment we are born. It is necessary to identify us with an origin and, when living outside your country, it represents a letter of introduction that allows us to remember, share and feel at home. Even when there is no home to return to.
Thus he also began to document the histories of his family and of Palestine itself from approximately the year 1680 to the present day. As a result of his research, he published his first book in 2019 entitled ‘Sharif Family History and Men’.
“This book is for the Sharif family, but also for the AlMajdal community who had to leave their home and for all the towns and cities of Palestine”, says a proud Samir who has mainly documented himself with the Palestinian civil registry.
“In the year 2000 I made a commitment to translate documents and records into Arabic. In this way, he offered the Palestinians and the new generations the possibility of knowing their origins”.
Currently, Sameer has finished 24 posts creating a valuable record of historical memory of his people. Remembering the origins is the way to reaffirm an identity. In the case of Palestine, it is decisive, in a territory under occupation, the defense of culture and identity is a form of resistance.