In the autumn of 2020 the Netherlands based magazine MacGuffin teamed up with Disarming Design from Palestine, filmmaker Alexandre Humbert and emerging Palestinian designers Rawan Bazbazat, Khalid Ladadweh, Dalal Odeh and Lara Salous to investigate the production and use of rugs in Palestine. The resulting series of short movies is a poignant ‘unweaving’ of the rug and its personal stories, taking place under the surface of mainstream narratives. Lost crafts, barbed wire and poisoned sheep: the movies portray not so much the presence but the absence of the rug in the occupied territories, underlining the complexities and modern-day realities of the Palestinian diaspora.
MacGuffin magazine is a platform for fans of inspiring, personal, unexpected, highly familiar or utterly disregarded things.They attempted to portray the complexities and modern-day realities of the Palestine diaspora through rugs — bringing together previously unheard voices and giving them resonance.
The participants made a field trip to the Jordan Valley to visit Bedouin communities, whose Palestinian rug industry was an essential part of their lifestyle. The first visit was to the Bedouin community in the Aqbat Jaber Palestinian refugee camp in Jericho. The Bedouin community consisting of the Arab Jahalin tribe, which was subjected to two forced migration, the first from their home in the southern Hebron Mountains to the Khan al-Ummar area, and then they were forced to seek refuge in Aqbat Jabr camp.
Due to the scarcity of grazing lands and the conditions for their residency in the camp, they have had to adapt and live just as refugees live in the camp under the conditions of the Palestinian Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Despite this, the Jahalin Arabs are still trying to preserve their heritage represented in their folkloric production despite the difficult conditions of production and marketing.
The second visit was to the Arab Aljahaleen in the Khan al-Ahmar area, who migrated from the hills south of Hebron in 1955, after being terrorised by the Israeli army and after they lost 7 members of the tribe. At first, they migrated with their homes and subsistence items made of got skin and hair and lambs’ wool. They were forced to replace their original homes and used wooden, iron and plastic bags instead of wool, not because it is easier and better, but because the Israeli occupation made it difficult for them to graze their livestock by forcing them to raise them in limited areas. The siege of the Israelis narrowed the way for them to graze their livestock, and consequently the number of livestock decreased dramatically, until the production of wool became very insignificant, and it was not sufficient for them to spin wool and weave homes, forcing them to use the available materials in building their homes.
In these two visits, we witnessed how the Israeli occupation is besieging the Palestinians in various ways and by means of terror, siege and force. They do not only occupy the land, but also force the Palestinians to forcibly change their way of life in order to completely evacuate them. It is a kind of systematic ethnic cleansing.
After investigating the historical, cultural, and emotional aspects of rugs, participants investigated this object as a starting element to create a short film, where the rug is the structural element in which a personal approach was integrated.
facilitation: Kirsten Algera & Ernst Van Der Hoeven & Alexandre Humbert
coordination: Alia Alrosan
participants: Lara Salous, Rawan Bazbazat, Khalid Ladadweh, Dalal Odeh