Keys to the past

The Masri family in Amman, Jordan
The Masri family in Amman, Jordan, shortly after their displacement from Jerusalem in 1948. Aida Al-Masri is second from the left.
Source: Museum Victoria Palestinian Community Photographic Collection

Many Palestinians left their homeland carrying keys in their pockets. Once, they unlocked the doors of homes in Palestine where generations of families had lived. Through years of upheaval and displacement, locks were changed and houses destroyed, but the keys remained. They became a symbol of the hope that Palestinians would one day return to the land of their people.

Today, keys represent memories of grief and happiness, and the determination to be recognised. They also symbolise the right of future generations to open their own doors.

Young Palestinians in Australia are negotiating their own identity whilst sharing the grievances of their forebears. Living in a tolerant and multicultural society gives Palestinians the freedom to express their heritage, and the generations that follow to choose how their heritage will be preserved.

Image Gallery

Aida’s family in Melbourne, 2003 The Mashni family in Melbourne, 2006. The Mughrabi family in Jerusalem, c. 1930.