Since 1948, refugee camps have been home to nearly one third of all displaced Palestinians. When we think about refugee camps, we typically picture rows of tents. However, after more than 70 years since their establishment, Palestinian refugee camps today are far more… concrete, in a literal sense. Each tent, not lasting more than a few years, steadily would be replaced with concrete walls and rooftops, as Palestinian families learned to face the indefinite, enduring prospect of their expulsion.
Dheisheh camp is one of those communities. Hosting around 13,000 people, the camp residents are widely renowned for their resistant spark and expressive wit when it comes to dealing with the reality of their occupation. Despite being under full Palestinian control (Area A), the Israeli military still conducts frequent incursions and arrests inside the camp, to put down regular protestors. With countless arrests of Dheisheh residents in the first & second intifadas, and even attempts to completely fence off the entire camp, the Israeli Military sees Dheisheh as a black spot, a bugging reminder of its criminal and illegal occupation.
The wall on the entrance to the camp serves as a ‘wall of honor’ to those residents of the camp who have been killed by the Israeli military. Names of the villages where camp residents have been displaced cover the wall, this is so their roots and where they came from is not forgotten or lost in the displacement. As homage to its history, Dheisheh residents even erected a literal Concrete Tent as a monument. An expression of the paradox of the Palestinian Refugee Tent, a home meant to be temporary and mobile far from so. The Concrete Tent has become a symbol of the camp, and a site of exchange, debates and self-reflection. Similarily, we dedicate the Dheisheh Kufiya to the everlasting fortitude of the people of Dheisheh.