Scenes of Everyday Life In Bayt 'Affa

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VOL. 35


No. 2
P. 75
Palestinian Voices
Scenes of Everyday Life In Bayt 'Affa

The following excerpts were taken from the “life history” of Um Jabr ‎Wishah, one of seven “life histories” collected as part of an oral history ‎project, as yet unpublished, of seven women living in various parts of the ‎Gaza Strip who were old enough to have clear memories of the pre-1948 ‎period. The women were selected on the basis of some previous knowledge ‎of them and their stated willingness to take part in the project. The ‎‎“histories,” collected over the last six months of 2001, range from 25,000 ‎to 40,000 words and cover the narrators’ everyday life and experiences ‎through the successive wars and disruptions as well as their thoughts ‎about the future. Each woman was interviewed a number of times, with the ‎tape of each interview transcribed and translated before the following ‎interview. The memories were set down exactly as they were told; the only ‎‎“editing” consists of integrating details or elaborations supplied during ‎subsequent interviews at the appropriate chronological place. ‎ The life histories were collected by Barbara Bill, an Australian ‎who worked with the Women’s Empowerment Project of the Gaza ‎Community Mental Health Program starting from 1996, and Ghada ‎Ageel, a refugee from a Gaza camp now working on her Ph.D. in Middle ‎Eastern politics at the University of Exeter in England.‎ Um Jabr, who was in her early 70s at the time of the interviews, ‎has been living in the al-Bureij refugee camp since 1950. Future issues of ‎JPS will carry excerpts from Um Jabr’s story regarding the 1948 war and ‎about organizing prison visits in the 1980s and 1990s.