Putting Palestine back on the mapBy Zochrot
iNakba is a free mobile app, in Hebrew, Arabic and English, that provides a multimedia record of the hundreds of Palestinian villages that were destroyed in the 1948 war that created the Israeli state.
The Palestinians call the war, the subsequent flight and expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their ancestral lands, the ‘Nakba’ or Catastrophe.
As part of a broader policy to deny Palestinian refugees the right of return, schools and community groups are prohibited from teaching about it, and commemorations were close to being banned in 2012.
In the hotly contested narratives and ideologies of Israel Palestine, memory and mapping is a neat political tool: instead of waging into the quagmire of political debates about the rights and wrongs of the national curriculum, the iNakba app elegantly presents a multimedia record of physical places that undeniably used to exist, giving lasting visibility to sites that have otherwise been erased from view, official records and Israeli discourse.
On the app, hundreds of brown pins appear across the Google Map of Israel Palestine, each one signifying one of the 500 villages that were seized or abandoned in 1948. Clicking on a pin reveals the place’s former name, maps, population size, military unit’s name, its fate in the war, plus photography, testimonials and prose writing. Users can upload their own content, be they videos, photographs or stories.
It is an evocative tool – capturing homes and yards of places long gone in the physical world, but occupied for centuries and kept alive in people’s memories. Time called it ‘clean, bright, helpful’.
Zochrot, the Israeli NGO that built the app, which was downloaded 12,000 times in its first week, says its primary audience is Israel’s Jewish majority and hopes iNakba, by acquainting them with the facts of their past and ‘Hewbrewizing’ the Nakba, it helps them ‘commemorate, witness, acknowledge, repair.’
‘From 1948, Israel just erased Palestine and its localities and heritage. So we put Palestine back on the map.’ The app was launched on May 15, 66 years after Israel’s declaration of independence.
Image 'Palestine_Jerusalem_Geopoint_Right_of_Return_NK24131' courtesy of gnuckx
Last updated: 15th of May, 2014