Deir Ghassana


Umm Talal is more attached to the fig tree than I am. Cutting it down must have been necessary at a particular moment that I do not recognize because I was there and she was here. It is that simple. Perhaps if it was I who had carried on living here I would have knocked down or built, or planted or cut down trees with my own hands. Who knows? They lived their time here and I lived my time there. Can the two times be patched together?

 – Barghouti, Murid (2000). I saw Ramallah—


The Deir Ghassana village rehabilitation project demonstrates that historic and architectural richness are merely part of the larger equation of the regeneration process. Equally important is an active civil society and institutions, which include residents and users of the historic center, all of whom, in effect, are the owners and protectors of heritage and are ultimately responsible for situating the village on the “cultural map.” Umm Talal resembles the Women’s Association of Deir Ghassana, and Palestinian women in general, who do not wait and take matters to their hand and contribute to their society and household economy.