Sahera Bleibleh | Cultural Heritage Lost: The Impact of War on Palestinian Identity and Memory

This is an Archive of a Past Event

In times of war, Palestinian cultural heritage faces dire threats, deliberately targeted under the Israeli occupation. This intentional destruction aims not only to distort Palestinian identity but also to erase national memory and deform history. While the human cost of war is challenging to quantify, the destruction of historic buildings and sites remains largely overlooked. Against the backdrop of the ongoing devastating war in Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip, this talk presented by the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity focuses on the profound implications of targeting cultural heritage. It emphasizes the severe repercussions for Palestinian history, identity, and very existence. By stressing the critical importance of preserving both human and cultural legacies, it explores avenues to secure justice and safeguard Palestinian identity amidst the ongoing war. However, while focusing on cultural heritage, it’s crucial not to overlook the direct impact on Palestinian people. Therefore, this presentation also aims to shed light on the humanitarian toll of the war alongside the destruction of cultural heritage.

Ultimately, the objective is to raise global attention to the precarious state of Palestinian cultural heritage. Its importance extends beyond local significance, as it is an integral part of the world’s shared heritage. Preserving Palestinian cultural heritage is a collective responsibility, inseparable from its history context, and requires universal compliance. Despite the protective measures outlined by Hug and UNESCO, which are often disabled in Palestine by the Israeli occupation, the heritage legacy is exposed to additional intensive risks under continuous war, leading to irreparable losses. This presentation aims to amplify awareness of these risks and advocate for proactive measures to safeguard Palestinian cultural heritage for future generations.


Co-sponsored by Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Archaeology Center, Department of Anthropology, Department of Art and Art History, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, Program on Urban Studies, and Stanford Humanities Center

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