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Blog - Rachel Gadsden

A trip to the museum of Mahmoud Dawish and the Tower Restaurant

blurry photograph of a man inside a museum

Isra in the museum of the poet Mahmoud Dawish

After a good mornings work, Amani again provided a welcome lunchtime diversion, a ‘shwarma picnic’; Amani has been an irreplaceable support in organizing locally, and in making the group’s stay as comfortable and productive as possible.

We had planned today to drive to Bethlehem as a group, to visit sites of interest and inspiration for art; but, unfortunately, for safety reasons (brought about by the clashes relating to prisoner hunger-strikes) this trip has had to be postponed till a later time (hopefully on a return visit in the Autumn).

Instead, after lunch we set off on an inspirational trip to the museum of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Dawish, here in Ramallah. It Was Paradise takes it’s name from one of Dawish’s collection of poems and essays “Unfortunately – it was Paradise”, and the project will be peppered with Dawish’s inspirational and poignant words.

The museum serves as monument to the man who has documented in literary form the displacement of the Palestinian people in the post-war period, and as a focus for his writings and activism, and for his and related researches.

The filmmaker Isra met us there and filmed the event; and that evening we finished off by visiting the Tower Restaurant, a now famous landmark in Ramallah, completely accessible to disabled people. With stunning views of the city we enjoyed cold drinks and ice-cream there. Again Amani did the group proud by arranging for two friends of hers to meet us there, severely visually impaired brothers, who play and sing traditional Palestinian music. People may have seen this live-streamed on Facebook; and furthermore the manager of the restaurant has booked the brothers to return to entertain visitors during Ramadan iftars.

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