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The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee commemorates the 69th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba: “No iron wall of theirs can suppress or overshadow the rising sun of our emancipation.”
Nada Elia writes on Nakba Day, 2017: “I’m angry because I want to be normal, yet normalcy evades me, and I want to be post-nationalist, even if Palestine has never been allowed to become a nation. And I’m angry at the fact that, despite the century of abuse, we are one people (yes, a people) never allowed to be angry. This year, I don’t want to be grateful for being a survivor, “nice.” I want the right to be angry.”
Israeli-American Yoav Litvin describes how he came to challenge his Zionist beliefs: “Zionism is based on a rather simplistic Darwinian outlook, which employs a dualistic, ‘us versus them’ racist and exclusivist philosophy. Since its inception, Israeli politicians invoke fear by perpetuating a victim narrative based on centuries of real persecution of Jewish peoples. Thus, fear enables a level of aggression and oppression that is a part of daily life in the reality of occupation. However, ‘survival of the fittest’ is not the only dominant force in human development.”
“Nakba denial beats denial of the Holocaust,” Gideon Levy says, while Mahmoud Abbas calls on the world to acknowledge the expulsion 68 years later. But American denial of the Nakba remains as strong as ever.
Mondoweiss intern Tamara Nassar shares a lyrical and haunting account of her family’s story during the Nakba: “The tragedy of the Nakba is that it perpetually reproduces itself with every refugee born in exile and until the last refugee returns. The Palestinian in diaspora gives birth to Nakba; her children become walking embodiments of abandonment.”
Each year since 2002, activists have marked the Nakba in major Israeli cities on Independence Day. The organization De-Colonizer produced a video showing this year’s action where activists asked partygoers celebrating Israeli independence if they would wear a sticker that said “Can you bear the NAKBA on Independence Day?”
On June 19 an article appeared in the Times of Israel criticizing Dan Cohen and David Sheen’s recent video ‘Worship God By Nakba’: Jerusalem march celebrates Israeli occupation with messianic fervor. The article claims that the moment in the film that the title is taken from, when a marcher yells “Worship God By Nakba” was mistranslated to include the word “Nakba.” In the article below, Cohen and Sheen respond to the criticism and the ensuing controversy, including why they have decided to remove the word “Nakba” from the video.
Mohammed Alhammami recalls stories he heard growing up of Jews, Muslims and Christians living alongside each other in historic Palestine as one people, not divided factions. But he wonders what about now? Can Jews and Palestinians (Christians and Muslims alike) really coexist in the Holy Land, after 68 years of Nakba?
Eitan Bronstein Aparicio discusses how the discourse on the Nakba has changed over time in Israel — When did the term appear? When did it decline and what was repressed? And what has caused these changes? Bronstein Aparicio writes, “Today the term Nakba represents the polarization in Israeli society and discourse. In the non-zionist left there is a full understanding of its centrality in the construction of the conflict and its possible solution. On the other hand, there exists a raging battle led by the Israeli regime to repress these discussions as much as possible. Paradoxically these attempts to silence the discourse leaves the Nakba as a burning question that demands answers”
The largest Palestinian city, Jaffa, was emptied of Palestinians during the Nakba 68 years ago. It went from 120,000 Palestinians, many of them landowners, to 4,000. And many left in desperation by sea. A commemoration, by three refugees’ descendants.
Haidar Eid writes, “I tried to explain to my late mother that she had to be expelled from Zarnouqa in 1948, leave her memories and house behind because a crazy bigot had committed a pogrom against Jews in Europe, but she neither wanted to understand (“what does that have to do with us?”) nor accept (why didn’t the Europeans give them a homeland?” until she passed away in a refugee camp, 90 km south of her village. This song is dedicated to all Palestinian mothers who had to endure the unendurable in 1948.”
In the Active Aging House of Burj Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, the Nakba is still a vivid memory. Some of the center-goers were in their childhood when, in 1948, the ‘catastrophe’ had befell the Palestinians and more than 750,000 were ousted from their homelands. Around 110,000 took refuge in Lebanon that. Marian, 68 years old, still remembers those keys to her house. Her parents were holding them in their hands while telling her about al Safsaf, the village in Galilee they used to live in before the Nakba.
Thousands of Palestinians, mainly citizens of Israel, participated in the annual “March of Return” for the Nakba commemoration on Thursday, May 12. For the first time the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced organized the march in the Naqab. The location on the lands of the destroyed village of Wadi Zabala was symbolic, and highlighted the on-going Nakba of the Palestinians.
Several hundred Palestinians marched through Bethlehem on Sunday in commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the Nakba, when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes and hundreds of others are believed to have been killed. The theme of the march this year was the “Train of Return,” and a massive train was made by volunteers from the three refugee camps in Bethlehem city for the march. “The idea behind the train was to show that we will return to our original villages,” Mohammed Abu Srour, one of the volunteers who helped build the train told Mondoweiss. “It is a simulation of our dreams to come back to our land.”
Nada Elia writes, “This year, as we commemorate al Nakba yet one more time, as we remind the world that our catastrophe is ongoing, let us also act upon the belief that merely speaking out against injustice is not enough. ‘Demonstrations’ are not enough. BDS is a means to an end: liberation, the abolition of apartheid, the return of the refugees. We are approaching this end, and must look beyond it.”
Wednesday night 70 Jewish students at Brown and RISD held a discussion of the Palestinian Nakba inside the Hillel, featuring films by Zochrot, in defiance of Hillel official standards on appropriate programming. Organizer Sophie Kasakove says, “In order for Hillel to maintain its integrity as a pluralistic Jewish space, the community must embrace Jews who currently feel excluded from mainstream Jewish discourse and who seek to question dominant narratives about Israel.”
Sarah Aziza says that at times like this being a Palestinian means being always in the midst of a conversation no one else can hear.
Minnesota Congressperson Rep. Betty McCollum has requested the State Department to investigate whether the killings of teens Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh Abu Daher, both killed during a Nakba Day protest in the occupied West Bank in 2014, constitute a violation of the Leahy Law on aid to human rights violators.
Author Naomi Wolf asks whether the system that Germany, Austria and other countries used to compensate Jews and their descendants for the Holocaust could be used as a model for reparations for the Nakba.