Message From The Editor

Spring seems to be late in arriving this year. April has been unseasonably cool and wet at times, to the point that homes continue to require heating, especially in the early morning and at night. The bright side to this – not that I am complaining – is that the country continues to look lush and green for a little while longer, before the onslaught of the scorching summer heat that will dry everything up. Not a drop of rain will then be seen from May till October or even later.

On the political horizon things seem to be looking brighter as well. The newly-formed national unity government is gaining wider acceptance by the day. More and more European countries have declared their willingness to recognise and deal with the new government. Sanctions are being gradually lifted. Heads of state and high-ranking officials are streaming in to visit. But most still do not meet with ministers from Hamas. Maybe the other ministers ought to impress the idea that they are part and parcel of the same government – take it or leave it.

The ongoing abduction (as of this writing) of British journalist Alan Johnston is a shameful episode that I hope will be favourably resolved soon. Not only is it giving us a bad name, it is also having an adverse effect on foreign news coverage of the Gaza Strip as fewer and fewer foreign journalists, if any at all, are willing to venture into the Strip.

As this month’s issue shows, Palestine produces a wealth of handicrafts that reflect the traditions and culture of the land and its people. These range from working with olive wood and mother of pearl to weaving, glass blowing, ceramics and embroidery. The famous Palestinian village embroidery has in fact caught the attention of international fashion designers who have incorporated the traditional cross-stitch into their designer garments and accessories (read the interesting article on the subject).

With a Mozart festival that has just ended and an international dance festival under way, who says Palestine is a dull and boring place? Go out and enjoy what is being offered.

Tony A. Khoury


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