The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Beirut help needed to save archive

Arabist reader Zazou has passed on a call for help to save important academic archives in Beirut:

If you know anyone (preferably British) who is in Beirut, and who is about to be evacuated, would you please see if they are willing to help save a very valuable archive of Palestinian oral history?


Diana Allan, an anthropologist at Harvard, has worked with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, particularly Shatila, and collected precious oral testimonies of 1948 survivors. She has hundreds of hours of testimonies, comprising of 750 DVD's. Needless to say, this is a major treasure for our community and, as far as we know, nobody has done this work as extensively and thoroughly as Diana has.


We need to salvage this valuable archive by getting it out of Beirut asap, preferably with foreigners being evacuated. The evacuees are only allowed a small bag, but the British embassy has agreed to let this be carried and not count as part of someone's baggage allowance, but conditional on having someone to carry it and take responsibility for it. It is 15 kg. So... if you know anyone (preferably British, otherwise they would need to be willing to carry it at the expense of their personal belongings) who is trustworthy and willing to take this... please let us know right away!!


Please contact Diana at dallan AT
I also have a phone number in Ramallah for anyone who might help, just leave a comment or email issandr AT