Oral History

Some Personal Recollections: Sixty Years Since 1948

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 06.06.2008:

Dr. Bernard Sabella

From: mailing DSPR, Dr Sabella

Jerusalem

June 5th 2008

Often visitors to Palestine from abroad ask about personal stories to reflect on the realities and experiences of Palestinians living amidst an apparently interminable conflict. I usually hesitate to refer to my personal story, the story of my family because it carries such emotions and brin(...)

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History Repeats Itself

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Manar Atick

I made an interview with Nasri Ghattas, my uncle’s cousin. Nasri was born in 1936. He started talking about how life was in the past before 1948.

“At that time all the people were in a similar situation. They were sometimes poor, not so much financially but rather because their life was simple. There was no electricity and people took water from the well. Despite all(...)

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I Spent The Whole Night Coloring Eggs

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Reem Musleh

I decided to visit my grandparents who are living alone in their house. You could see the smile on their faces when they saw me coming into the house. They were so happy when I kissed them and sat down to have dinner with them. While we were eating, I saw the sad scenes of Palestinian suffering on TV, and some questions popped up in my head. I began asking my grandparents q(...)

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Will I Tell The Same Story To My Grandchildren?

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Rasha Dibis

I had an interview with my grandmother about her life under occupation. She started talking about her earliest memories, which were about the year 1936. “I was 13 years old and we were still under the British Mandate. What was special about that year was a strike that lasted for six months all over Palestine as a result of the killing of Izeddin Al-Kassem, a revolutionary l(...)

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From Very Rich To Very Poor

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Rana Juha

The new Intifada reminds the old people about their life when the Israelis occupied their land. Last night, after the electricity was cut off during the Israeli shelling, my grandmother recalled her memories of 1948 when the Jews came into Palestine and occupied it. I showed a keen interest in hearing her story so I brought her a cup of tea and sat next to her in the dark. He(...)

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The Exam Interrupted: Jerusalem 1948

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Sylvia Hazou

I asked my dad to tell me about some of the experiences he has been through. “I was born in Jerusalem during the [Israeli] ‘War of Independence’. As my mother was delivering me in the Assyrian Orthodox Convent, a priest was shot dead at the doorstep. There were clashes going on between Arabs and Jews within the walls. For that reason my father gave me the second name ‘Harb(...)

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Give Us Back Our Freedom: A Palestinian Odessey

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Rana Salman

Here are Palestinian memories. They are a present from me to anybody who is interested. Where shall I begin my story? Should I start from my birth? No, it’s older than that. Should I start from my father’s birth? No, it’s older than that too. I start with what my grandfather was told by his father.

My grandfather’s father told about the Turkish period: “The Turkish a(...)

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Even The Branches Of A Tree Were Separated

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Nadine ‘Ali

When I was a child, my dear grandmother used to live with us, and like many other grandparents, she told us many tales and stories. Some of them were traditional Palestinian ones, others were fairy tales and many came from her own imagination. But the most interesting were those which described her own childhood and life. In the summer she used to spend most of her time on (...)

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The Intruders and Saint Nicholas (Beit Jala)

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Micheline Atick

My grandmother started her story: “In 1948 our country had more Christians than now. Most of them emigrated because of the political situation. During the war people in Beit Jala stayed in their houses. Suddenly they saw many refugees coming to seek refuge. They didn’t have a place after they lost their homes, so they came to Bethlehem and Beit Jala to start a new livin(...)

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The Longest Moment (Jerusalem, 1948)

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Mary Hazboun

I made an interview with my grandfather about his old memories. It was really interesting. I realized I should have done it a long time ago. My grandfather’s name is Emile Harb. I asked him just one question: “What do you remember about your past?” He took a breath and started:

“I was born on 5 August 1930. At the beginning of the Second World War, I was nine years (...)

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