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) format:
- 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, . . . etc.
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 Museum.
- 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 :
- 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, ... etc?
- 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?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?
- 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:
- Conducted over 730+ interviews, click here to view a listing of all oral history interviews. The average interview length is between 250 -300 minutes, however, there are many that took over 450 to 600 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.
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 the following:
- 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 possible.
- 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 PayPal.
2. 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.