This paper examines the ways in which Palestinian suffering from the 1948 Nakba and the 'ongoing Nakba' has been silenced. Silencing has taken multiple forms in different historical moments, from the description of Palestinians as 'non-Jews' in the Balfour Declaration, to under-reporting of Palestinian losses in 1948, to exclusion from academic studies of trauma and genocide, to the absence of Palestinian history from UNRWA and Arab school text books. Thus the memories that Palestinians transmit to each other and to their children offer an important compensatory source of history. Given that a substantial proportion of the Palestinian people live in refugee camps, and given that they suffer most from insecurity and hardship, I propose that popular history writing should be rooted in their experience and their consent. Adopting a decolonization of methodology approach, I turn to the people of the camps with the question: should Nakba suffering be recorded for history, or should it be transcended by other aspects of popular experience? What for them is retrospectively important? What do they want to be passed on to their children and grandchildren?
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