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Book Sections Year : 2009

UNRWA Photographs 1950-1978: A View on History or Shaped by History?


The establishment and the content of the photographic archive of UNRWA, and more broadly, of the audiovisual branch, are to be understood within the historical and political constraints that have shaped the Palestinian and refugee issues and UNRWA’s role, programs and activities since 1950. History and images are here more than ever inextricably linked, as the former has also been determined, to an extent, by the latter. At the same time, recent Palestinian history has also been the story of an ongoing struggle for historical visibility starting from a void, an absence (following the 1948 war and the creation of only one of the two states provided for in the 1947 United Nations Partition plan). From the denial of belonging to the land of Palestine of the first two decades—as expressed by the Zionist slogan “a land without people for a people without land” or Golda Meir’s statement in the 60’s, “Palestinians, who are they? They do not exist”—the Palestinians have gone through a slow process of presence within history. UNRWA’s humanitarian images display the specificity of the Palestinian refugee history, for they are the place and in a sense already the result of a political, cultural and historical confrontation on an international level.
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hal-02320135 , version 1 (18-10-2019)
hal-02320135 , version 2 (29-04-2020)



Stephanie Latte Abdallah. UNRWA Photographs 1950-1978: A View on History or Shaped by History?. Issam Nassar; Rasha Salti. I would have Smiled. Photographing the Palestinian Refugee Experience (a tribute to Myrtle Winter-Chaumeny), The Institute for Palestine Studies, pp.43-65, 2009, 9780887283093. ⟨hal-02320135v2⟩
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