'Open House' postcard protest
Sir, – This weekend Dublin Civic Trust is hosting an Open House event, sponsored by the embassy of Israel, entitled “Postcards of Our City”, in which Dubliners are encouraged to send postcards to residents of Tel Aviv, Israel.
The invitation to this event which is to be opened by Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, references Tel Aviv as a city “emerging from the sands”. In fact, while some of Tel Aviv may have been built on sand, much of it was constructed over the Palestinian villages of Sheikh Muwanis, Jammusin, Salame and Summmeil. The residents of these villages, like some 750,000 other Palestinians, were ethnically cleansed from their homes in 1948. What little remains of these, or the 500 or more other villages erased at that time, are not afforded any protection by the state.
As architects and academics, we find it regrettable that the Dublin Civic Trust, whose stated aim is to generate awareness of the historic built environment and promote architectural heritage, would facilitate an event sponsored by a state that has erased and continues to erase indigenous Palestinian architectural heritage from the physical landscape and collective consciousness.
This is an occasion when cultural issues and human rights are inseparably linked, and thus we call on Mr Quinn to reconsider his decision to support this event and on the Civic Trust to withdraw its premises from the project. – Yours, etc,