Today marks 72 years since Al-Nakba, or catastrophe, in 1948 when over 500 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed by zionist terrorist militias to establish the settler colonial state of israel. From the zionist brutality at the separation fence during the Great Return March, to the attempted theft of Al-Quds, expansion of settlements, talks of annexation, and the daily kidnapping, imprisonment and murder of Palestinians, the Nakba continues to this day.
Dating back to our time organizing Nakba week on campus in CUNY, to marching across the Brooklyn Bridge, to leading countless protests in Bay Ridge and across the city, rallying is one of many ways we commemorate the Nakba. We also co-organize the Palestine Lives Conference with Existence is Resistance around Nakba Day, where we bring Palestinians together from all over Palestine and around the world. Palestine Lives is a concept born out of continued resistance to the ongoing Nakba. It has always been a priority for us to commemorate the Nakba locally in the community, which unites us as all as Palestinians. Marching and coming together as a community allows us to manifest our collective rage and our hope for a better future. As such it is devastating that we are unable to organize a local commemoration this year due to the impact of the COVID pandemic in New York.
We have prioritized organizing in person locally in our community since our founding in 2015, and as our members and institutions are deeply impacted, this has shifted our work. As a result, we are currently in the midst of envisioning what local community organizing looks like under these conditions. We are eager to collaborate with and support organizations in strategizing around how we can be most impactful while prioritizing peoples health and safety. These conditions only further solidify the importance of working towards Palestinian liberation and empowering oppressed communities here and all over the world.
In this time of crisis, we are called upon to unite our struggles against the biggest threats to our collective survival and liberation: capitalism, racism, imperialism and zionism. While the most privileged in the US get to work from home, it is impossible for Palestinians trapped inside the world’s largest open air prison in Gaza, or for incarcerated people locked in cages from Palestine to the US to socially distance or access health care. The violence of the US empire and the israeli occupation have always been unacceptable injustices in our society. In the wake of this pandemic, we must strengthen our resolve to fight to end these injustices with even greater urgency.
The best way to commemorate the Nakba is to continue this fight, to come together, and to escalate our struggle for national liberation, for the right of return, and for the full decolonization of Palestine, Within Our Lifetime.