The International Herald Tribune has the story:
It may sound like the escapist indulgence of a well-fed man fleeing the misery around him. But when Jawdat Khoudary opens the first ever museum of archaeology in Gaza this month, it will be an act of Palestinian patriotism, showing how this increasingly poor and isolated coastal strip ruled by the Islamists of Hamas was once a thriving multicultural crossroad.
Now only if there was a way for non-Palestinians to get there. If he’s depending on revenue from Palestinians interested in history, he is going to be a poor man.
The exhibit is housed in a stunning hall made up partly of the saved stones of old houses, discarded wood ties of a former railroad and bronze lamps and marble columns uncovered by Gazan fishermen and construction workers.
And while the display might be pretty standard stuff almost anywhere else – arrowheads, Roman anchors, Bronze Age vases and Byzantine columns – life is currently so gray in Gaza that the museum, with its glimpses of a rich outward-looking history, seems somehow dazzling.
“The idea is to show our deep roots from many cultures in Gaza,” Khoudary said as he sat in the lush, antiquities-filled garden of his Gaza City home a few miles from the museum. “It’s important that people realize we had a good civilization in the past. Israel has legitimacy from its history. We do too.”
Someone’s going to have to explain this one to me. I’m not sure how Roman or Byzantine antiquities have anything to do with the legitimacy of Palestinian Arabs.
It’s a good article with a nice photo. I recommend reading the whole thing, and I hope the venture is successful.
HT: Joe Lauer