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Storyteller: We aspire to sow knowledge, pride, and hope in the Palestinian conscience

"The thing about oral history, narratives, and stories of everyday people is that everybody is a hero in them, which allows us to identify with the characters.”

Jerusalem24– “We took back two oranges,” Um Muhammad said while visiting her hometown of Fajah, Jaffa District. Umm Muhammad and other Palestinians dream of visiting their lands and homes from which they were expelled in 1948, narrator and storyteller, Sally Shalabi says to Jerusalem24 on Vibes.

The story of “Sahara Burtuqan” is the story of Umm Muhammad’s return to Fajah. It’s the first story of the podcast “We were and we still are here – the youth version.”

On 4 and 5 June in Bethlehem and Ramallah, “We were and still are… here” launched their new initiative “The youth version”, a podcast series that tells the history of Palestine through the stories of its people and their oral narratives about the legacy of their ancestors and their personal return to their homeland.

Children taking part in the launching of “We were and still are… here”, the youth version, in Bethlehem on June 4th. [Source: PowerGroup/Facebook]
The youth version of “We were and still are… here” is a collaboration between the initiative with its founders Tariq Bakri and Sally Shalabi (Shalabiya the storyteller), and other Palestinian artists, with the support of the Palestinian people.

“These stories are directed to our young and old,” says Shalabi. “They talk about Palestine before the Nakba and shed light on daily life and the resistance and steadfastness of the Palestinian people. With our publication, we aspire to sow knowledge, pride, and hope in the Palestinian conscience.”

Shalabi explains the importance of oral history documentation in Palestine. “Our stories are the bases of everything we do in our lives. Our narratives are what gives us resilience and strength, and our ancestors and current memories are what we rely on to move forward.”

“Being able to hear these different narratives you’ve got a clearer picture. The thing about oral history, narratives, and stories of everyday people is that everybody is a hero in them, which allows us to identify with the characters.”

An English version (in its final stages of production) will be out this summer. Shalabi explains that they wanted the new generation living abroad to know their history and learn about the stories of their ancestors – especially since she and others in the initiative have nieces and nephews living all around the world.

Listen to the full interview on Vibes below.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 5 years of experience in the field of reporting and presenting. Currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC and Jerusalem24. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna

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