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nakba archive

the expulsion of palestinians from their homes and lands in 1948, an event commonly referred to as the nakba (the catastrophe), remains the pivotal moment in the history and collective experience of the palestinian people. since 2002, the nakba archive, a grassroots testimonial initiative, has filmed over 650 interviews with first-generation palestinian refugees in lebanon about their recollections of life in pre-1948 palestine and the events that led to their displacement. the aim has been to document this critical period through the voices and personal experiences of those who lived through it in a way that moves beyond the statistical, mythical and anecdotal. as the ranks of first-generation palestinian refugees continue to thin and hope of return appears increasingly remote, the symbolic value placed on 1948 continues to rise. the context of narration giving meaning to these histories includes the need not only to make sense of and transmit a traumatic past, but also to take hold of an imminently uncertain present and future. in this respect, the nakba archive is both a record of the memories of a passing generation of eyewitnesses and an act of witness to the legacy of 1948 and its continuing impact on the palestinian refugee community in lebanon. the nakba archive was founded by diana allan, who co-directs the project with mahmoud zeidan.

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