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Hareth Yousef: Stoic Terraces of Palestine -- Grandmother’s Memories

Rubenstein Arts Center Film Theater Premiere: March 24, 5:30pm Encore: April 17, 6:00pm Growing up in a Falahi (farmers) family nestled within the mountains of Kobar, Ramallah, I developed a deep bond with the landscape that cradled my childhood. This connection was tested when I returned to Palestine in 2018, only to find the landscapes of my youth transformed. The castles-summer houses of farmers that dotted the mountainsides-were disappearing, some destroyed, others removed. Driven by a desire to capture the essence of these vanishing relics, I embarked on a project to document the remaining castles in the mountains of my village. This journey was more than a mere archival endeavor; it was a voyage of rediscovery through parts of the mountains I had never explored. With every hike, my attachment to the land deepened, as I walked through the history etched into the stone terraces and olive fields, a testament to the labor of our ancestors. In 2019, as illegal Israeli colonial settlers began to encroach further, taking over more of the mountains for themselves, my mission gained urgency. Fearing the loss of access to these lands, I sought to document them not only through photographs but with video and sound. My goal was to preserve this heritage as proof and tribute to the generations that shaped it. Parallel to this, I aimed to capture the memory of my grandmother and the life she knew before the village's transformation. This transformation from an independent farming community to one predominantly of workers and civil employees was imposed upon our community, not a natural shift. It marks a significant departure from our history, underscoring the forced alteration of our lands. This film serves as a homage to that past, a record of this imposed change, and a celebration of our enduring connection to them. It highlights Kobar's story, reflecting the plight of many Palestinian villages forced to adapt to post-Israeli occupation.