The Christian-Palestinian Archive
An ongoing project by Dor Guez
For the last three years Guez has been building an archive of photographs and documents of the Christian-Palestinian minority in the Middle East. The starting point of the archive are his own family's albums, which include testimonies of life of the Christian minority, as a minority within the larger Muslim population. 1948 is a pivotal point in time, representing the changes that occurred in Palestine and the entire Middle East. The repercussions of these changes are obviously not only territorial, but also cultural, historical and national. The aim of the archive is to research and document the history of the diaspora communities of the Christian-Palestinian minority, spread out in the area referred to as the "Middle East", which will allow members of this community to explore their history through images.
The archive will be comprised of photographs dated from the early 20th century through the 1948 war, when Israel was established, and the following decade. The war is a pivotal point in time, representing the changes that occurred in Palestine and the entire Middle East. The repercussions of these changes are obviously not only territorial, but cultural, historical and national as well. In addition to the historical importance of this ongoing project, the archive will introduce the voice of the Christian-Palestinian community as an ethnic- religious minority.
In addition to the historical importance of this ongoing project, the archive will introduce the voice of the Christian-Palestinian community as an ethnic- religious minority. This minority challenges the validity of prevalent conventions in contemporary discourse as they encounter the human and the personal realms. In different places throughout the world, and certainly in the case of the Middle East, the categories classifying identities and cultures as autonomous chapters are dissolved and challenged. Not only does the opposition between "East" and "West," "Orient" and "Occident," become blurred, but a multi-faceted reality is enhanced. This constant transformation can reinforce the essence and nature of a given culture, rather than interfere with its "authenticity." Characterization and definition of the contexts in which cultural and social customs of majority groups are assimilated by minority groups are complex tasks, especially in the case of minorities which negotiate with several majority groups, such as the Arab Christian Community. Those who challenge the random, sterile assertions, such as minorities within minorities or ethnic groups foreign to the national identity of the state in which they live, manage to escape this dichotomous cleansing and social classification system.