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Media Coverage of the Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival
submitted by Artas Folklore Center

Media Coverage of the Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival

(Links to articles follow below)

Many camera crews and journalists from Palestine and members of foreign media were spotted in the crowd at the Thirteenth Annual Artas Lettuce Festival. Given the ephemeral nature of radio and television—and more to the point, the fact that we were too busy with other festival matters to catch it all-- we will omit those in our media roundup. Aside from standard articles, the Lettuce Festival was mentioned in blogs, a Wikipedia article, a site selling lettuce posters—(maybe they would like ours?) and the
Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal. The Festival also was featured on Birzeit University's Virtual Gallery Community Projects page. As for print and electronic media, the early bird was Maan (English) who approached us for some pre-festival coverage. It was the only paper to solicit this information, and though there were no pictures, it managed to quickly turn out a lively and meaningful article from the printed materials we provided. This turned out to be fortunate, given the large number of sites replicating or deriving articles from it. The first of these was YNET, which basically changed the article from future to past tense on opening day. Heavy use was made of the talkback feature, primarily for hateful or facetious remarks. Some Arab media did not publish the original Maan article but took the YNET one instead! If the photos taken by the French press—who came more than once—ever found their way into a French article, we have not found it: they did turn up, however on this YNET article. The Festival was covered by several Arabic dailies, but the treatment of the festival was often rather superficial, confined to an account of speeches made or an enumeration of exhibits and performances. Little attempt seemed to be made to explore the many facets of the festival, and there was little probing of the significance and context of the festival, the incredible number of obstacles faced on the way, or its meaning for Artas or Palestine. Some did not even include a photograph, and when they did they were unimaginative. One internet paper had a picture featuring onions next to the announcement of the Lettuce Festival. Otherwise, those that used photos tended to use the same ones—the same as the YNET article. One leading Arabic-language newspaper had a short but nice article about the festival. However there was not even one photo of the festival. Immediately above the article was an unrelated photo of an old man peering through a fence, as though in a cage! What a missed opportunity to show something else, to gladden a heart or two. One does rather wonder where all the photos snapped at the festival ended up. The comments of readers of Jazeera Talk were rather disappointing as well—mostly of the same type of facetious jokes that we saw on YNET! Surely better use could be made of the talk-back feature. Aside from the heartfelt wish in the blog of a boy in Amman who wished he could accompany his relative to the festival, even the blogs were disappointing. Like so many of the reports, they were not based on personal experience. For the most part they took the Maan—or YNET article. The Artas Lettuce Festival also received tangential coverage in articles mentioning one of its exhibits or activities, such as the article in the Palestine Times about Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi by Turkish Ambassador Dr. Ergan Ozer. However, some other festival participants which were heavily covered in the press, neglected to mention Artas or the Artas Lettuce Festival. An article about the visit of the Minister of Culture to the Governor of the Bethlehem Governorate to discuss means of preserving the tangible and intangible heritage of Palestine, showed a picture of the Minister at the Artas Lettuce Festival, but failed to mention the festival in the text--nor its contribution in just that. It was the English medium Palestine Times which most approached the type of nuanced, multi-stranded approach to the festival it surely deserves, and which brought Artas, the festival, and the Artas Folklore Center to life in a full page article with photos—though none showed any people. Another English language ezine, did in fact ask just those questions one would wish to have asked, but we were late in providing the information, and by the time we did, the journalist cited other commitments and financial problems of the paper, suggesting we write our own article. But we have done better than that. We have tried to provide a way for people around the world not only to discover Lettuce Festival, but to discover all of the rich history, heritage, landscape, food, stories, performances and more not only of Artas, but of all the towns and villages of Palestine that never make it into mainstream media, and to discover the website that makes it possible: Palestine-family.net. And so we come full circle to
our own website,


a subsite of Palestine-family.net.

There is no place like home after all.

Meanwhile, we are considering having what seems to be a much needed seminar about Media and Heritage.

Below is a sample of results from our internet search

April 10, 2007 Maan (English)

Artas village, near Bethlehem, to hold its 13th 'Lettuce Festival' this week http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=21075

April 12, 2007 Wafa (Arabic)
بيت لحم: انطلاق مهرجان ارطاس الثالث عشر للخس " نداء الجذور"

April 12, 2007 Al Watan (Arabic)
مهرجان الخس// يحيي تراث قرية ارطاس الفلسطيني

April 13, 2007 Mediterranean (Arabic)
فلسطين/ انطلاق فعاليات "مهرجان الخس" في قرية ارطاس

April 13, 2007 Al Ayam (Arabic)
انطلاق فعاليات مهرجان الخس الـ13 في قرية أرطاسِ

April 16, 2007 Al Quds, page 16

Al Jazeera Talk (Arabic) ِApril 16, 2007
الفلسطينيون يختتمون مهرجان الخس التراثي رزق عروق - الجزيرة توك - غزة

Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal
(Powerpoint presentation of play St. George and the Dragon, performed by the Arab Education Institute Drama Troupe at the Artas Lettuce Festival)

April 16, 2007 Artas: Where beauty and culture meet
Artas: Where art and culture meet by Jacqueline Chimera http://www.times.ps/printnews.php?id=5113yoiyio

May 2007 Birzeit University Virtual Art Gallery

(Note that some of the pictures are of previous festivals)

April 17, 2007 Lettuce Wall Posters

May 23, 2007 "The High Master" Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi;
http://www.times.ps/etemplate.php?id=6467&x=1&arch=1&year=2007&month=05&day=23 The Palestine Times.

June, 2007 Palestine-Family. Net (English) The Artas Lettuce Festival in a Lettuce Leaf, Artas Folklore Center
. http://www.palestine-family.net/index.php?nav=91-105&cid=146&did=2944&pageflip=1

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