al-Nakba's Oral History Project
Briefly, Nakba Oral History Project aims to document and retain the Palestinian
refugees' experience and memories before, during and after al-Nakba. Live
interviews or testimonies are conducted with the refugees who witnessed al-Nakba
first hand at ages of 12 years and above.
The goals of the project is retain the following in digital video (visual)
- To make the best effort to painting a picture of the refugees' towns
before al-Nakba, such as description & location of the neighborhoods,
neighboring villages and Zionist colonies, springs and wells, gardens, major
roads, public places such as schools, mosques and churches, shrines, coffee
houses, archeological sites, major roads and valleys, ... etc.
- Capture local accents, traditions, folklore and social events
- Document events leading to Nakba, such as clashes with the Israeli gangs
and the British Mandate, building defenses, buying arms, the impact of Dayr
Yasin massacre, UN GA proposed partition of Palestine, ... etc.
- Description of the refugees' experiences as they were being attacked,
ethnically cleansed-expelled, migration routs (including methods of
transportation), and their life in the temporary and terminal refugee camps,
such as schools, housing, water, health care, employment training, . . .
The motives of the project is as the following:
- Since the refugees who survived al-Nakba are getting older, it is
essential to save their experiences and memories for future generation.
- To increase sense of community among all Palestinians by connecting them
back to their roots.
- To publish the collected interviews and other materials via the website,
and to make it available to researchers, historians, concerned refugees and
human right activists.
- To build a centralized database about Palestine before, during, and after
Nakba. We are attempting to encourage all group in this subject to cross
link the collected materials, we hope that would evolve into on Online Nakba
- To provide the outside world with the Palestinian version of events surrounding
Nakba events. Unfortunately, the Israeli version has dominated the media scenes
since inception, and we hope this work and others will put an end to this farce.
- In our opinion, this project, along with the website, shall retain and enhance
Palestinians' sense of community and belonging. As it has been already
proved at the website, it will enhance the current and future generations'
connection to their roots in Palestine.
- To let refugees know that the Palestinians on the outside cares about
their plight and concerns, and to emphasis that we are one people regardless
of the place of residence.
- To find out first hand the concerns of the refugees and what issues they
are facing on daily basis.
Currently, the project is being managed and funded by PalestineRemembered. com,
which is a privately funded not for profit organization dedicated to retaining
Palestinian refugees' memories before, during and after Nakba.
- We were able to train the team the following :
Documenting and streamlining the process, from the the point the candidate is identified,
introduced to the project, prepared, all the way to the point the interview is being conducted?
How to conduct interviews? From setting up the environment, the tune of
questions asked, sequence of questions, & the follow up questions ?
What questions to be asked?
How to use the technical equipments, such as the laptops, digital camera, scanner, printer,
How to scout for new good case to do an interview with? This is one the most
difficult problems we are facing.
How to evaluate candidates?
- We kept a keen eye to document everything
we are doing (including lessons learned) in a training manual, which will
help us and others on duplicating the process in other places. Point your
browser to the following location to download the update to date Arabic
version of this questions and the training manual: http://www.palestineremembered.com/OralHistory/General/OralHistoryArabicV2.doc
- Conducted over 130+ interviews, click
here to view a listing of all oral history interviews. The average
interview length is between 180 -200 minutes, however, there are some
that took over 250 minutes. Our current budget allows us to make 3-4 interviews a week, depending on the availability and the location of the
potential cases. Our policy is to allow the individual to talk as much as
he/she can as long we decide that he or she is providing quality
information. From our limited experience such individuals with quality data
could offer more information than a regular persons, and as long he/she is
willing to make the effort, we'll match that effort in return.
- Setup an office with a mobile phone, desk, cabinet, printer, fan, chairs,
Since our current budget is barely enough to employ and train one single
individual, we are unable so far to evolve and develop the project to accomplish
- To expand the project beyond Jordan borders to Syria, Lebanon, West Bank,
and the Gaza Strip.
- To coordinate with other groups working in this subject to minimize
duplication of work and effort. It is essential to cover as many towns as
- Transcript the interviews to Arabic and type it in a text format. We found
out that this task is the most time consuming portion of the whole project,
and on top of that it needs an incredible amount of concentration to
rephrase from Arabic slang to traditional written Arabic. On average, we
have found that every minute of recording could take up to 6 minute of
writing and type.
- Translating the Arabic transcript to English.
- From our experience, two or three interviews are enough to build a picture
of the town before al-Nakba. We believe it is would be a great idea to hire
an individual with a history, social or political sciences degree to analyze
the interviews about each town and to write an article or an assay to
reconstructs life in the town before and during the Palestinian Nakba.
- To edit the produced movies per town to produce with a short and brief
movie, which could be used educational and mass distribution purposes.
- To open an office, with a land line, P.O. Box, several computers,
conference room, ..etc. in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza.
How You can Help?
PalestineRemembered.com, a non-patrician privately funded
Palestinian organization, incurs a lot of expense to present you this interview.
Currently, we are in serious need to maintain and expand the Oral History
project to other countries beside Jordan. It is imperative to retain in audio and visual forms our indigenous way of life
and history for our future generations. Click below to make you secure online donation via
2. Finding Potential Cases
If you are aware of any potential refugees from other towns whom we can
interview in Jordan, please contact Fawwaz
Salameh (PalestineRemembered.com's representative and legal advisor in
Jordan) at +962-79-661-5275 with your information. Currently, we are pressed hard to interview people from
towns that we have not yet covered, your help is CRITICAL since time is our main
3. Conducting Interviews
Help preserving our history and culture for future generations. To make it
easier on you, we have authored a training
manual and a list of
questions. We suggest studying these two documents carefully, then use any
available technology (such as video camera, digital recorder, or even regular
tap recorder) to retain Nakba Oral History as much as you can. Once done, we
will be more than happy to post your work at the site after crediting you completely
for your work.
We are in need of people who have the time and patience to carefully listen to what is spoken in the interviews, and to rephrase it to traditional Arabic (Fus-haa). Then the manuscript has to be typed in Arabic text, which later should be translated to English.
It should be noted that you will be COMPLETELY credited and your work shall be published next to
each transcribed interview.
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