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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Documenting the Palestinian holocaust

The Palestinian Holocaust photography exhibition, held last week at the Al-Sawy Cultural Wheel in Cairo, is part of a set of activities initiated by the Palestinian Holocaust Memorial Museum Team, whose aim is to create a museum dedicated to Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.
Immediately before the exhibition's opening there was also a celebration of the first anniversary of the team's formation, which included a screening of a documentary film setting out the aims of the proposed Palestinian Holocaust Memorial Museum (PHMM), as well as testimonies by photographers from Gaza and music by Ahmed El-Hagar.

The idea of setting up such a museum, the main aim of the Memorial Museum Team, was inspired by an announcement by Israel's deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, who told Israeli Army Radio on 29 February last year that the Palestinians "will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah." Shoah is a Hebrew word meaning "catastrophe", and it is sometimes used to denote the extermination of Europe's Jews by the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II.

As a reaction to this provocative statement, the idea of creating a Palestinian Holocaust Memorial Museum, modelled on the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, was put forward in March 2008. Provoked by Vilnai's words, Dalia Youssef, a young journalist and political activist, decided to promote the idea of the museum in order to draw attention to Israel's crimes against the Palestinians.


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