The Key of Return: from Palestine to Berlin

The Organizing Committee of “The Key of Return: from Palestine to Berlin” and the Aida Youth Center have the honor of inviting you to join us for the departure ceremony of the Key of Return from Aida Refugee Camp. It will depart for the German capital of Berlin on Monday the 12th of March 2012, at 11:00 a.m. in front of the Gate of Return, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem.

The Key of Return will be exhibited at the seventh Berlin Biennale from April 27th until July 1st, 2012. The Berlin Biennale is considered to be one of the most prestigious, international art fairs in Europe with an expected attendance of two million visitors.

This event is part of the growing, international solidarity with Palestine and strengthens the Palestinian determination to assert their right of return to the cities and villages from which they were expelled in 1948. The Key is a national symbol of Palestinian displacement and a witness to their 64 years of suffering.

Your presence is requested, in solidarity with the inalienable right of return!

The Key of Return and Gate of Return:

One of Aida Youth Center’s most imaginative projects was the creation of the “Key of Return,” which now stands on top of the 12 meter high “Gate of Return” at the entrance to the camp. The Al Awada (Return) Key is a peaceful, symbolic and creative representation of the refugees’ right of return, and the dreams of many at Aida camp to one day return home. The “Not for Sale” sign on the key serves as a reminder that the right of return is not one that can be bought, sold or lost through negotiation.

The Key weighs two tons, and Aida Youth Center is currently trying to list it with the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest key in the world. The project was completed in 2008 to mark the 60th Anniversary of Al Nakba (the Catastrophe). On May 8th 2008, the key accompanied a march, which began at Dheisheh refugee camp. It then moved on to Azza, and finally reached the Aida camp where the key was erected on top of the Gate of Return in front of the whole community.

For tourists, volunteers and notable figures that visit the camp, the key stands as a provocative symbol. It has expanded awareness about the plight of Palestinian refugees and serves as a continual reminder of their right to return home, a right that is at once political, lawful and humanitarian.

For more information on the right of return, please see our “History of Palestinian Refugees” page.