This project archives oral history concerned with the Sebastia community, a history constantly targeted and actively erased by Israeli apartheid.
Sebastia, an archaeological site northwest of the city of Nablus in the West Bank, is a land of great significance to Christianity. Legend has it that John the Baptist was imprisoned here and beheaded. Multiple churches over the centuries were built in his honour in Sebastia.
Although, this particular history is not the only one significant in Sebastia, given its multilayered and complex strata. Singular narratives, like that of John the Baptist, but others more relevant to the old testament that are more interesting to the zionist settlers across the valley, have become a tool for control and weaponization of the archaeological site. These singular narratives, now performed by settler groups, archaeologists, religious leaders, and so on, are also used as a way to capture and occupy more land and dispossess the Palestinian community from their own property. With the support of the Israeli government and armed military, these groups have banned Palestinian access to the archaeological sites on multiple occasions, often denied access to their own homes and businesses.
As a response, this project then documents and archives the other narratives, collected and orated by the Palestinian community in order to preserve the culture and the residents' memory of the village. This was done in collaboration with the community on the ground, and in hopes that the archive will remain available for the community itself, Palestinians in the diaspora that are originally from Sebastia and have no access to return, as well as to other researchers and artists possibly interested in the content.