Cultivating Hope: Thoughts on Gaza amid the Ongoing Nakba
Gaza siege
Gaza resilience
ongoing Nakba
heritage restoration
context-based design
design as ethnography
post-war reconstrucyion

Khaldun Bshara uses architectural restoration to examine the wellspring of hope and optimism within the Palestinian people, especially in the challenging context of Gaza. The author’s involvement in heritage restoration projects in Gaza offers a view of the significance of preserving historic buildings in a region rich with history despite the process of design and planning being heavily circumscribed by the context of occupation and conflict. These restoration efforts, even in an the uncertain future, highlight the hope, resourcefulness, and determination of the Palestinians in Gaza to overcome limitations imposed by Israel’s blockade on essential construction materials. Bshara notes that the cost and time efficiency of projects in Gaza, compared with those in the West Bank, underscores the adaptability, creativity, willingness, and resoluteness of practitioners to address daunting challenges. The author finds Gaza to be a symbol of resilience and resistance, where hope may not be able to undo past loss, but can continue to inspire the pursuit of an alternative future, devoid of oppression and colonialism.

Author biography: 

Khaldun Bshara, architect, restorer, and anthropologist, has a PhD in sociocultural anthropology. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Birzeit University and serves as a senior advisor for Riwaq Centre, Ramallah, where he has worked since 1994 in documenting, protecting, and restoring built Palestinian heritage.