Badour ‘Issa al-Dirbas (‘Alma)



I am from ‘Alma. I was twelve years old when we left Palestine.

We used to work with olives and figs, and we were firm believers in religion.

The Jews used to come at 2 o’clock at night to search the house. There was one time when they came at night and my daughters were praying, and the Jew came and wanted to come in to search. He kneeled and moved the prayer mat and entered inside. Some of them were good.

Weddings: The women of the village would sew kaniva, and the bride would take five outfits with her. The wedding hospitality was laban immo and yakhneh with rice, meat, slaughtered lamb, with green beans and okra.

The slaughtered sheep were served to the entire neighbourhood with rice. The bedouin ate with their hands, but we used spoons and plates. And whoever did not have money, the neighbors would cook and bring them food. The night of preparation -- before the wedding -- there was henna for the bride, as well as the dabkeh and songs. The next day they would dress her, and a woman would come to the house to do the bride’s hair and her maquillage. The party would sometimes last three days between her home and that of the groom’s family. And the family of the groom would come and take her to the orchards, where everyone went to dance and do the dabkeh. The girls danced alone and young men alone, though there was a village where young men and girls would do the dabkeh together, holding each other’s hands even though they knew it is not allowed by the shari’a. When his family came to take her, she would come out with her head covered with a silk veil that would be wrapped around her hands, and her brother would let her ride a horse and hold her hands. He would take her along with the young girls to the house of the groom’s family. The second and third day they would make breakfast for the bride, and parties, drumming, and singing.

We didn’t have chocolate, or hard sweets, or chips. There were only biscuits [biskweet]. There were only two shops in the neighborhood though the village was large. They used to make soap and olive oil, and there was hand-based industry. They had a mill. But there weren’t citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons because there wasn’t much water. In winter they would go to an old well which would dry up in summer, so then they would go to Wadi ‘Owja between two mountains.

‘Alma was famous for its olives, figs, grapes, apricots, plums, pomegranates, courgettes, and eggplant. Cultivation was only rain-fed. We had cows and sheep as well.

I used to go and pick figs of several kinds, and we sent them in baskets we made with our own hands. All kinds of ripe and long figs, and gazelle figs.

The mukhtar of the village, Abu Sa’eed, was always cheerful and unassuming.

My mother was very religious, and she didn’t allow us to gossip with people.

They didn’t marry girls young, they had to be twenty or more. But there were early marriages.

The feasts were the same as now, for three days, every woman in her house baked cakes for the ‘Eid, and the yellow cakes (al-‘Abaas cakes), made of dates, walnuts, and almonds. They didn’t ever buy manufactured oil, it was always olive oil. And we had an olive mill.

Children would play, but the young girls wouldn’t go out of the house because it was shameful. Two days after the ‘Eid, girls would go to some of their friends.

The families of the village were intertwined. Everyone visited everyone else.

There was a saying that went: Don’t ever eat cows of the Gholan or cows in spring, for all of them are fat and full of lard.

They used to bring citrus fruits from the market of Safad.

Preparations for the hajj: There were songs of blessing and special clothing for the hajj. It cost a lot, and took three months. They would go to Safed on foot, and then to Haifa by car, and from there by boat to Jordan, and then to Saudi Arabia.

Ramadan: People would invite each other, relatives would gather together. We would decorate the quarter only on the day of the ‘Eid.

For funerals and mourning, the neighbors would usually cook for the family of the dead person for three days. Make-up was forbidden even at home [during the time of mourning]. It was forbidden for everyone because they adhered to religion -- except at the time of weddings. For weddings the bride would put on kohl, lipstick, and powder. But she would cover everything with a shawl, even at home.

There were no Jews, only Muslims and bedouin [in ‘Alma].

Sometimes we would buy clothes from Haifa, but mostly cloth. There weren’t any poor people. If people didn’t have a craft, they would mostly work in agriculture.

There weren’t any jewelry shops. They used to bring gold from Bint Jbeil in Lebanon. The people of Bint Jbeil were poor. The first part of the dowry for a bride used to be in gold liras and bracelets.

As to visiting the sick, a young girl wouldn’t go with her family to visit a sick person, it was the older women who went. They were so generous that they would send a dish of food every day to the sick person or the poor one.

They went to sell their produce in the markets of Safed. They sold leban there.

All the families of the village loved one another, and neighbours loved each other.

Circumcision: They would gather in the house, and sing songs and play the daff.

There was no travel by airplane.

Giving birth: There were Arab midwives.

Health clinics: There were clinics, but they were simple – enough if someone was wounded or needed stitches. But they didn’t distribute medicine or anything.

Entertaining: [Guests were served with] tea and coffee.

Shi’ites would come in search of provisions, they would seek a livelihood. For example they would come from Lebanon to sell clothes -- sewing and embroidery and kaniva for hand work, abayas and qumbaaz, and underwear.

It was forbidden to stay out late or sleep outside the house.

When a woman became a widow, when her husband died, she would stay in the house to bring up her children. If a widow sought to marry, most people would not be willing.

The lunar eclipse: The sheikhs would go and glorify God and praise Him in the mosque.

Sometimes the rain would be slow in coming, and the men would go to the threshing floor, and they would pray “Let rain come, provide for us! And cover us when we are unclothed”. And God be praised, our Lord would respond to their appeal and it would rain.

When people were invited to a wedding, young girls would embroider long trousers to wear underneath their abayas.

The Thursday of the Dead: They would feed the spirit of the dead. But not everyone would do it. It was just for three days.

Women’s gatherings: All the women of a family would get together-- the daughter-in-law, the sisters, etc.

There were some people who created spells for others [to protect or to hurt].

The gypsies long ago didn’t fast and weren’t faithful to religion.

In regard to prison, some people would not accept compensation (diyya), they insisted on vengeance. Other people would pay a lot of money to the family of the dead person. Some people insisted on revenge, other people no.

There was a revolution, and when there was someone wanted by the army, they would enter and take the food and pulses to the courtyard and throw oil on them to ruin them -- this was if they didn’t find the accused. But at times they would enter and find him and take him.

Of the most famous revolutionaries in ‘Alma was Ahmad Hassan -- they followed him to Safsaf and killed him. Another was Abu Hamoud. The country was in turmoil.

We left Palestine straightaway for Bint Jbeil. Afterwards they took us in army buses away from Bint Jbeil, they said so that the young men wouldn’t carry out suicide operations, because Bint Jbeil was close to Palestine. The Arabs were the ones who made us leave.

Most of the women at that time did embroidery.



بدور عيسى الدرباس من علما و كان عمري 12 سنة لما طلعنا من فلسطين.

كنا نشتغل بالزتون و التين و كنا كتير متمسكين بالدين.

كانوا اليهود يجوا الساعة 2 بالليل و يفتشوا البيت. و في مرا اجوا الليل و كانوا بناتي عم يطلو, قام اجا اليهودي بدو يفوت يفتش. وطّى و زاح المصلية و فات لجوا... كان في البعض منهن مناح.

العرس: كانو النسوان بالبلد يخيطو كنفة و كانت العروس توخد معها 5 غيارات. و كانت ضيافة العرس لبن إمه و يخانة مع رز , لحمة, ذبح خرفان و فاصوليا و بامية.

الذبايح كانت لضيافة الحارة كلها و مع رز. البدو كانو يوكلو بايدهن و لكن احنا بالمعلقة و الصحن و يلي ما معو مصاري كانو الجيران يجيبولو و يعملولو اكل. و السهرة ( التعليلة) و كانت حنة للعروس و دبكة و اغاني و تاني يوم بيلبسوها, وكانت تيجي وحدة علة البيت تعملها شعرها و مكياجها و الحفلة مرات تضل 3 ايام عند اهلها و اهله. و كان ييجوا اهل العريس لياخدوها على البيادر ( الحقلة) لحتى الكل يروح يرقص و يدبك و لكن البنات لحالن و الشباب لحالن. و لكن هناك بلاد ( قرى او ضيع) كانو يدبكوا شباب و صبايا مع بعض, يمسكو ايدين بعض و لكن بعلما غير مسموح شرعا. لما يجوا اهله ياخدوها, تطلع لابسة على راسها ( ايشار حرير, يربطولها ايدها فيه و اخوها يركبّها على الفرس و يمسكلها ايدها) و ياخدها على بيت اهل العريس و ياخدوها هناك الصبايا. و تاني يوم و تالت يوم يعملولها صباحية, حفلة و دق و اغاني.

ما كان في شوكولا, بمبون و لا بطاطا, بس كان في بسكويت. كان في الحي دكانتين بس و البلد كانت كبيرة. و كانو يصنعوا الصابون و زيت الزيتون و كاننت صناعة باليد. و كان عندهم معصرة و ما كان في حمضيات متل الليمون و حامض و لان ما كان في مي ( ماء) كانوا يروحو على بير قديم كل الشتاء و بالصيف ينشف فا يروحو على وادي عوجا ( نبع) بين جبلين

بتشتهر بزراعة الزتون و التين و العنب و المشمش و الخوخ و الرمان و الكوسى و الباذنجان

الزرع فقط من الامطار و كان عنا بقر و غنم.

كنت اروح اقطف التين الي على انواعه و نبعته بسلة من صنع ايدينا. تين بقراط و شماطة: حبته طويلة و تين غزالة

مختار البلد ابو سعيد كان مرح مع الجميع و كان متواضع

امي كانت متدينة و ما تخلينا نحكي مع العالم ( ينمّو)

ما كانو يجوزوا البنات صغار, لازم من20 و فوق و كان في زواج مبكر

العيد متل العيد ب 3 ايام, كل وحدة بيبتها تخبز و تعمل كعك العيد و كعك اصفر ( كعك العباس): تمر و جوز و لوز و ما كانو يشتروا زيت معمل بالمرّا, كلو زيت زيتون و كان عنا معصرة زيتون.

الصغار كانو يلعبوا و الصبايا ما كانو يطلعو من البيت لانه عيب ( بعد العيد بيومين يروحو الصبايا عند بعض الرفقة)

اهل البلد بالبلد. الكل يزور بعضو ( العائلة)

هناك مثل بيقول: عمرك ما تاكل من بقر الجولان و لا من بقر الربيع لان بيبقى كله دهن و ناصح.

كانوا يجيبوا من صفد ( اسواق صفد) الحمضيات.

الحج: تحنين: اغاني مباركة و خيا القصايل و كتير غالي و كان على 3 اشهر. كانو يروحو على صفد مشي و من صفد على حيفا بالسيارة و هناك بالباخرة على الاردن و بعدين على السعودية.

رمضان: كانو يعملو عزايم و هيك بين بعض, و الاقارب يتجمعو و نزين الحي يوم العيد بس

الاجر و العزاء, كانت الجيران تطبخ لاهل الميت ل 3 ايام

كان ممنوع المكياج و لا حتى بالبيت, كان للكل ممنوع عشان كان في تمسك بالدين الا وقت العرس, كانت العروس تحط كحلة, حمرا, بودرة و لكت تغطي بشال كل شي و لا حتى بالبيت.

ما كان في يهود بس مسلمين و بدو.

مرات كنا نشتروا تياب من حيفا و قماش اكتر شي. ما كان في فقراء, اذا ما كان عنده صفة كانوا معظمهم يشتغلوا بالزراعة

ما كان في محلات ذهب, كانو يجيبوا ذهب من بنت جبيل من لبنان. اهل بنت جبيل كانو فقراء. كان بالفيد ( المقدم) ليرات ذهب و اساور...

اما زيارة المريض, البنت ما كانت تروح مع اهلها لزيارة المريض و لكن النسوان الكبار يروحو و حتى كانو كتير كرماء فا كل يوم يبعتوا للمريض او الفقير صحن اكل.

كانو يروحو يبيعو المنتوج باسواق صفد. يبيعوا اللبن بصفد

كان كل اهل القرية يحبو بعض و الجيران تحب بعضها

تطهير الولد: يتجمعوا بالبيت و اغاني و دف

ما كان في سفر بالطيارة

الولادات: كان في داية عربية

العيادات الصحية: عيادة و لكن بسيطة , اذا حدا انجرح او قطب و لكن ما كانو يوزعوا جواء و لا حتى شي

الضيافة: كانت شاي و قهوة

الشيعة يروحو يتسببو يعني يروح يشوف رزقته مثلا من لبنان يجي يبيع تياب مثلا

خياطة و تطريز و كنفة يدويا و عبايات و قمباز: شلحة تحت التياب.

ممنوع يروحو يسهروا او ينامو برّا

لما الوحدة تترمّل ( يموت زوجها) تظلها بالبيت تربي اولادها و الي تتزوج يكون المعظم مش راضيين

خسوف القمر: كانو الشيوخ يروحو يهللو بالجامع و يكبرو

مرات كان الشتاء يطوّل ليجي, يروح الرجال على البيادر يصلو و يدعوا " اجا الغيث غيثينا وبالشراش راعينا". و سبحان الله ربنا يستجيب دعواتهن و ترجع تشتي

لما ينعزم العالم على العرس, البنات تطرّز البناطلين ( يلبسوها) تحت العباي

خميس الاموات: يطعموا عن روح الميت و لكن مش الكل يظلوا يطعموا. كانوا بس 3 ايام

دواوين النسوان: تتجمع النسوان العائلة كلها ( الكنة و الاخت....)

كان في مرّات ناس تحجب لناس

النّور ايام زمان ما كانو يصوموا, ما كانو متمسكين بالدين

بالنسبة للحبس, بعض الناس كانوا ما يقبلو الديّة ( المال) كانو ياخدو بالطار. بعض الناس كانو يدفعوا مصاري كتير لاهل الميت. في ناس بتستخدم الطار و بعض الناس لاء.

كان في ثورة و لما يكون في واحد مطلوب للجيش كانو يفوتوا ياخدو الاكل وا لحبوب كلها على المصطة و يكبوا عليه ويت عشان يخرب ( هاي اذا ما لاقوا المتهم) بس مرات يفوتو و يلاقوه و ياخدوه.

كان من اشهر الثوار بالبلد ( علما) احمد حسن و هادا لحقوه على الصفصاف و قتلوه, و ابو حمود, بلد سركست

هاجرنا دغري من فلسطين على بنت جبيل و بعدين صاروا ياخدونا بباصات الجيش, طلعّونا من بنت جبيل, قال عشان ما يعملو الشباب عمليات استشهادية لان بنت جبيل قريبة من فلسطين. العرب هني يلي طلعونا

معظم النسوان كانت تتطرز 
ساكو: عباي

This story is puzzling. Badour was too young to have had daughters in Palestine. In Lebanon, a soldier searching her house could not have been Jewish, unless she was living in the South during the Israeli occupation (1982-2000).

Unfortunately Badour became too frail after the interview to be questioned. 

Kaniva was the coarse-weave material used as basis for embroidery.

Teen biqraat wa shamata, names not known in the camps today.

The Quran strongly discourages gossip as hateful (makruh).

Daff, a small drum.