Saturday, March 1, 2014

Echoing Yafa: an audio walking tour documenting the history of Manshiyyah & Jaffa

Dear friends,
My amazing and talented friend Miri (Miriam) Schickler has for the last couple of years been working on a fantastic project to create an audio walking tour which documents the history of the Palestinian city of Jaffa, in particular what was the Manshiyyah residential area. The project called ECHOING YAFA is finally complete and the website is now up and running.

In particular, the audio tour documents the history of the Manshiyyah quarter, a Palestinian residential neighbourhood which was bombed out of existence by the Israeli Zionist terror militia, the Irgun (Etzel), during the Nakba.  

Echoing Yafa tells the stories of some of the former Palestinian residents of Manshiyyah.  It is based
on interviews conducted with Palestinian refugees from Manshiyyah, who today live scattered across Gaza, Jordan, the West Bank, Israel and beyond. Miri - together with others - has built a fictive narrative, which is enacted with the help of a number of local actresses and actors.  Local musicians and artists have also provided a sound track for the narrative.  

Echoing Yafa re-enacts what has been destroyed and irreversibly changed throughout the events leading to, and during the war of 1947/1948, and by current processes of displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian community in today's Jaffa. 

The Manshiyyah quarter had been a bustling Palestinian neighbourhood in the Jaffa up until April 1948.  However, on April 25 1948, the Irgun (Etzel) began a three week bombing campaign of the “Bride of Palestine” (the port city of Jaffa) which was supposed to be part of a UN sanctioned Palestinian state. Jaffa, which was often referred to as the “centre of heaven” by its residents because of its beauty and location half way between Haifa and Gaza, was the most populous centre in British Mandate Palestine: home to 90,000 Palestinians.

With the advent of the Zionist terror campaign, however, the city was to fall from heaven. The assault was so fierce that in the Manshiyyah quarter, every single building except one was obliterated.  The one building left partly standing has since been turned into a museum to glorify the military prowess of the Irgun/Etzel. As the bombing continued, more than 55,000 people fled in terror.

Echoing Yafa is an amazing project and I highly recommend listening to the audio for the tour, which is in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

You can access the Echoing Yafa site and audio tour by clicking here.

in solidarity, Kim

The first time ever saw a photo of the destruction wraught by the Irgun on the Manshiyyah quarter was during a walking tour of Jaffa organised by Palestinian and Israeli activists to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nakba.  I was truly shocked by the images. My first reaction when I saw the photos was that the images reminded me of photos I had seen of Nagasaki after it been destroyed by the atomic bomb.  

You can read my earlier post on the ethnic cleansing of the Manshiyyah and other Palestinians cities here: Falling from Heaven - The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

 Manshiyya before the Irgun (Etzel) bombing campaign

Al Manshiyya district after the Irgun terror - bombing campaign

Grand Saraya district of Jaffa after Irgun terror-bombing campaign

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