World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish poet Mevlut Ceylan will be one of the renowned names to attend the Mamilla International Poetry Festival.
The festival, organized by ARCH (Alliance to Restore Cultural Heritage in the Holy City of Jerusalem), the Mahmoud Darwish Foundation and Museum, and the Campaign to Preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemeterywill take place in Ramallah and Jerusalem in October.
This year the festival's theme is “A Dialogue with Memory,”was conceived to protect the ancient Mamilla Cemetery from complete and final destruction by invoking poetry to promote it as a place of living memory and eternal sanctity. During a three-day period, poetic vigils, performances, and readings—both live and virtual—will invoke, imagine, invigorate, and illuminate the lives and memories of those buried in the cemetery.
About Mamilla Cemetery:
Resting just west of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, Mamilla Cemetery—ancient necropolis of shrines, of mausoleums, and of modest graves—is facing complete desecration and final destruction.
Mamilla’s venerable history is as rich as it is layered. Having first been adopted by the Byzantines, whose 4th century church and cemetery marked it a holy ground, Mamilla was then designated an Islamic burial site as early as the 7th century, when the remains of the very first Muslims, the Sahabah—companions of the Prophet Muhammad—were reputedly laid to rest in its sacred soil. Aside from a brief period as a Christian cemetery during the Crusades, Mamilla served without interruption as a Muslim burial ground over the course of a 1,400 year-period of Islamic rule over Jerusalem. Growing to become the largest Islamic cemetery in the city, it housed a diverse community of Muslims, from the respected soldiers of ruler Saladin to generations of Jerusalemites spanning a wide socio-economic spectrum. Tombs of emirs, muftis, Sufi shrines and Mamluk-era mausoleums—amongst other ancient monuments and gravestones—further attest to its hallowed history. So holy was Mamilla, in fact, that in the 14th century A’lam, interment there was likened to being buried in heaven.
Today, Mamilla stands not only as a symbol and vestige of Palestinian—and Muslim—cultural heritage, but also as a site of exceptional universal value. In light of its sacred nature and historical significance, the cemetery—and the memories and identities of those buried within it—deserves to be honoured, protected, and preserved.Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2013, 12:04