Editorial: Encompassing the Voices: Building Palestinian History
Encompassing the Voices: Building Palestinian History
The Nakba and other subsequent displacement have resulted in the loss of numerous written documents and have dramatically shaped Palestinian identity. With the contribution of oral history, Palestinians are enriching their history to encompass all segments of society; giving a voice to the poor, peasants, women, those marginalized by the official ideological or national narrative - most importantly - those who have lived the Nakba of 1948. Including these diverse and multiple experiences and voices within national Palestinian history crucially seeks to uncover and deepen understanding of events that have shaped this people’s dispossession, colonization and occupation. It also permits to discover the richness of Palestinian culture and traditions, its diversity and complexity.
It nuances the official Palestinian narrative too often based on political personages and ideological dogma. Oral history also permits to challenge the written and dominant discourse surrounding the Nakba, a discourse dominated by proponents of the Zionist-Israeli narrative. The upcoming commemorations - 40 years of Israeli occupation (2007) and 60 years of the Nakba (2008) - provide opportunities for furthering the place of oral history in Palestinian history. To this aim, many activities are planned (see the Call to Action on the back cover of this issue), such as the creation of a truth commission based on the South African model whereby witnesses and victims of the Nakba can tell their stories to parliamentarians, academics and international figures.
This issue of al Majdal aims to discuss the role and
importance of oral history for Palestinians and of different
approaches and initiatives undertaken by Palestinians, including
refugees and the diaspora.