al-Shajara tour - Report
It was necessary to translate for the visitors the memories of the refugees from Arabic to Hebrew. But not vice versa. We, Israelis, apparently don't feel the need to learn Arabic, a thing that emphasizes our being occupiers of the land.
25/11/2006

On Saturday, November 25 2006 Zochrot held a visit to A-Shajra village. About 100 people participated among them refugees from the village and a woman who lived in the Jewish settlement Sejera untill 1946. We handed out a booklet published for the event and posted signs marking the place of some sites of the village.

Report on the event by Sigal Shahar:

I was invited to A-Shajara in order to remember, together with a group of refugees and their families the Arab village which was destroyed in 1948. The event took place on a sunny Saturday near the village's well, nearly the sole remnant left of the entire village.

There were two aspects for my experience in A-Shajara.

From the first aspect, we sit in the shade of a large tree and listen to the memories of men and a woman, refugees from A-Shajara, and to another woman from the Jewish settlement Sejera (Ilania). Slowly we can see an image of a place teeming with life. Everyone wants to tell something, and when one of them talks, whispers of approval are heard from the others, or some important additions. Every memory in Arabic is translated to Hebrew, so it takes a while.

There's a feeling of excitement. It is a very moving event and not at all easy for the refugees. Many cameras, signs... and an interesting dialogue that starts between the woman from the Jewish village and the refugee from the Arab village. An affable dialogue which tries to unite slightly. To find shared connections in memories from the past.

The other aspect of my experience is a sense of guilt for an injustice I have not done, but that I feel some responsibility for and a harsh feeling of doubt in regard to the possibility that this small correction would be sufficient.

In this manner, it was necessary to translate for the visitors the memories of the refugees from Arabic to Hebrew. But not vice versa. We, Israelis, apparently don't feel the need to learn Arabic, a thing that emphasizes our being occupiers of the land. 



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