SAN DIEGO: California’s Balboa Park is home to the House of Pacific Relations, a village of international cottages. Inside each one is a museum to the history and culture of a specific country. Recently, nine new countries were added including the House of Palestine.
“The addition and construction of the nine new countries was led by a group of Palestinian professionals: lawyers, engineers and architects,” said Susan Hamideh, the House of Palestine’s Cultural Event Coordinator. “We are very proud to be here to represent not only Palestine but every pan-Arab country.”
The House of Palestine joins The House of Pacific Relations as the only Arab country officially represented in the park. Here visitors from around the world can learn and experience these cultures with public festivals, food samples and museum-displays.
“We have on the wall photos from the national archive museum in Washington, D.C. from pre-1948. We also have documents that belong to community members of their families pre-1948 as well,” she told us.
“We have a cultural display as well we have Palestinian embroidery we have pottery from Gaza and we are still collecting artifacts from Palestine and from community members as well.”
The addition of Palestine to the House of Pacific Relations has been a slow process starting in 2002. But now the Palestinian flag joins the many international flags flying in the skies above California.
“As Palestinians, we always face obstacles and hurdles, but as persistent people, we always achieve what we want to achieve,” Hamideh said. “It took 20 years to get this far and this was with the help of people from around the world whether Palestinian Arabs or just friends of Palestinians from around the globe.”