Over 67 years ago, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine began. It is known today as the Nakba, or the Catastrophe. For Palestinians, the Nakba is more than an event in history–something that can be spoken about in the past tense. For us, the Nakba is part of who we are as a people. The Nakba explains why we are where we are. The Nakba explains why more Palestinians are in diaspora than in the lands of their parents and grandparents. The Nakba explains why there is a UN agency dedicated solely to the Palestinian refugee problem. The Nakba explains how the many aspects of Palestinian culture including poetry, painting, dramas, food, film, festivals, music and more became vital to preserving our identities.
The Nakba continues today as Israeli forces shoot live rounds at protesters, as bombs are dropped on essential infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, as more land is confiscated and homes are demolished, as Palestinians in refugee camps are attacked, as more laws are enacted that discriminate against those who are not Jewish, as a system of rule deemed worse than Apartheid is the reality of for many of our brothers and sisters.
What the Nakba cannot explain though is how a people who have been dispossessed, marginalized, oppressed, murdered, brutalized, imprisoned, and terrorized can to this day keep fighting for justice. Despite hundreds of villages being destroyed, the hope and optimism of the Palestinians was not. SIXTY-SEVEN YEARS OF RESISTANCE! This is not a fight for space nor a war over religion. The Nakba is a struggle for over 12 million people around the world to be seen as human.
Today we do not remember the Nakba. Rather, we remember the beginnings of the Nakba and we continue to commit ourselves to bringing upon its end.