Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Tunisia Photos Showcased

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Tunisia Photos Showcased

Article excerpt

The Jerusalem Fund and the Embassy of Tunisia jointly hosted a Jan. 15 reception at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC to mark the opening of an exhibition of Michael J. Keating's photographs of Tunisia. The pictures, which were taken on assignment with this magazine (see December 2003 Washington Report) depict scenes of Tunisian life.

The already beautiful Palestine Center had a somewhat different look during the show, with the blacks and reds and greens of much of Palestinian art giving way to the blues and whites and tans of Tunisian landscapes. The crowd of about 50 enjoyed Tunisian food as they viewed the photos, then heard remarks by Tunisian Ambassador Hatem Atallah, photographer Keating, and Washington Report news editor Delinda C. Hanley.

Atallah first thanked Keating and Hanley (who reported on the North African country in the December 2003 issue) for their work in portraying Tunisians of every sort. In both the written and visual images there is life, the ambassador noted, and Tunisia is a country of life. According to legend, he told the audience, Tunisia was founded by a woman, Princess Elissa-Dido, who was told by tribal leaders that they would accept anyone settling there, but that no foreigner could buy more land than could fit in a cow's skin. Legend has it that the princess cut a cow's skin into a long thread and stretched it in a circle around Carthage.

The ambassador explained that he stressed this story about a woman because the American view of women in the Arab world was often skewed. In fact, he said, the Arab world relied on its human resources, both male and female, not only in its heritage but in "looking ahead to the future," with the same hope and enthusiasm as any region in the world. Atallah described Keating's photographs as a testimony to the legacy and heritage of what the Arab world has been, what it is going through, and what it has "embarked on achieving. …

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