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Voices of the Nakba

Voices of the Nakba

A Living History of Palestine

Edited by Diana Allan

Afterword by Rosemary Sayigh

First-generation Palestinian refugees recall life before and after the Nakba

***Winner of an English PEN Award 2021***

During the 1948 war more than 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were violently expelled from their homes by Zionist militias. The legacy of the Nakba - which translates to ‘disaster’ or ‘catastrophe’ - lays bare the violence of the ongoing Palestinian plight.

Voices of the Nakba collects the stories of first-generation Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, documenting a watershed moment in the history of the modern Middle East through the voices of the people who lived through it.

The interviews, with commentary from leading scholars of Palestine and the Middle East, offer a vivid journey into the history, politics and culture of Palestine, defining Palestinian popular memory on its own terms in all its plurality and complexity.

Diana Allan is Assistant Professor at McGill University. She is a filmmaker and the co-founder of the Nakba Archive. Her ethnography, Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile, (Stanford University Press, 2013) won the MEMO Palestine academic book award and the American Anthropological Association, Middle East Section Award.

'Through the pages of this book the reader can hear, feel, experience and understand more about the Nakba than by reading any other book on the subject'

- Raja Shehadeh, author of 'Going Home: A Walk Through Fifty Years of Occupation'

'Moving and thoughtful [...] With their silences, ellipses and jags of storytelling, the refugee voices invite us to imagine the lives torn asunder by the violence of the Nakba'

- Laleh Khalili, Queen Mary University of London and author of 'Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration' (CUP, 2019)

‘Brings to life the experiences of ordinary Palestinians in pre-1948 Palestine and the traumatic experience of war and exile, written by leading scholars in the field. Of special value in this volume is the section on control and resistance during the Mandate dealing with policing, and narratives of rebellion’

- Salim Tamari, Professor of Sociology (Emeritus), Birzeit University

'A truly impressive collection [...] An opportunity to reconsider whether what the Palestinians faced was victimhood rather than an act of colonialism'

- Dawn Chatty, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration, University of Oxford

'Imaginatively curated and framed [...] A brilliant contribution to the current moment as the world finally understands the true nature of the Palestinian struggle'

- Ahdaf Soueif, author of 'The Map of Love'

'The stories gathered here are the fruit of perseverant gathering. Their careful, deliberate, loving translation bear the sense and sensualities of Palestinian existence. 'Voices of the Nakba' shows how and why those who will not forget will never be forgotten'

- Fred Moten, cultural theorist and author of 'The Feel Trio'

'The oral history of colonised people is a lifeline against the coloniser's official history with its violent erasure. This excellent book centres the marginalised voices of Palestinians, reflecting the rich and complex tapestry of their experiences'

- Ibtisam Azem, author of 'The Book of Disappearance'

'A comprehensive, illuminating, and moving work of scholarship, which is also, quite simply, a work of art'

- Liron Mor, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine

‘A monumental achievement , this book is a major addition to the living history of modern Palestine’

- Professor Nur Masalha, Palestinian historian and formerly Director of the Centre for Religion and History at St. Mary's University, Twickenham

Preface - Mahmoud Zeidan (Co-founder of the Nakba Archive)
Introduction - Diana Allan (Co-founder of the Nakba Archive; McGill University)

Part 1 – Life in pre-1948 Palestine
1. Village Life in Palestine by Rochelle Davis (Georgetown University)
2. Of Forests and Trees: City Life in 1930s Palestine by Sherene Seikaly (UC Santa Barbara)
3. The Margin and the Centre in Narrating pre-1948 Palestine by Amirah Silmi (Birzeit University)
4. Mandated Memory: The Schooling of Palestine in Anis Sayigh’s and Nicola Ziadeh’s pre-1948 Recollections by Dyala Hamzah (Université de Montréal)

Part 2 – The British Mandate and the Palestine Resistance
5. Motivations and Tensions of Palestinian Police Service under British Rule by Alex Winder (Brown University)
6. Storying the Great Arab Revolt: Narratives of Resistance During 1936-39 by Jacob Norris (University of Sussex)
7. Songs of Resistance by Ted Swedenburg (University of Arkansas)

Part 3. War and Ethnic Cleansing
8. The Roots of the Nakba by Salman Abu Sitta (Independent Researcher)
9. The Massacres of Salha, Husayniyya, Safsaf and ʿIlut by Saleh ʿAbd al-Jawad (Birzeit University)
10. Remembering the Fight by Laila Parsons (McGill University)

Part 4 – Flight and Exile
11. The Dispossession of Lydd by Lena Jayussi (Zayed University)
12. When Women Remember: Gender, Trauma and Counter-memories by Ruba Salih (SOAS)
13. The Politics of Listening by Cynthia Kreichati (McGill University)

Afterword - Oral History in Palestinian Studies by Rosemary Sayigh

Published by Pluto Press in Sep 2021
Paperback ISBN: 9780745342917
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745342924
eBook ISBN: 9780745342931

368 pages

150mm x 230mm