Tanya Zabaneh

Displaced Palestinians around the world are forced to reconcile their memories of a once vibrant homeland with today’s reality of military occupation. For later generations like myself – born after our parents were forced into in exile – Palestine represents a symbolic homeland to which identity is tied only by the memories passed down to us through stories. These stories are often riddled with the abject pain of loss and trauma.

The idea for My Olive Roots began with my own personal journey of connection to Palestine in a meaningful way. I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and like most children of immigrants; I questioned my cultural identity and clashed with my parents about the rationale for upholding the traditional values of a land that seemed so remote.

Over time, I grappled to forge a bond with Palestine that went beyond experiencing this intrinsic part of my heritage with sadness on the one hand, and helpless nostalgia on the other. Since I had only heard stories about my ancestral homeland from my family, I didn’t know what it meant to be Palestinian, or even Palestinian-Canadian.

By talking to others from a similar background, I have discovered that I am not alone in my desire to shed light on a crucial part of my identity that risks being erased by a systematic policy of political expedience. The countless Palestinians in the diaspora, who seek to honor their past by keeping it alive today, so that it can somehow flourish tomorrow, reflect this same yearning.

My Olive Roots is a platform for people the world over to share their experiences around Palestinian art, history, culture, heritage, food and so much more. It offers one special portal to learn, connect and share; where questions of identity merge with traditional meals, inspirational art and the plethora of stories of generations gone by.

My Olive Roots is about strengthening community and laying the foundations of heritage.

Please contact me to share your story.