Al-Nakba (or ‘the catastrophe’), the day Israel declared its independence on May 14th 1948, has been the main topic of this past week. For many Palestinian bloggers Al-Nakba means remembering this important moment in history, which set the stage for an ongoing struggle and tragedy; where both past and present are commemorated side by side. Laila El-Haddad from Raising Yusuf illustrates this in a post suitably entitled Days of Catastrophe.
“…as Israelis celebrate their “independence” this month, Palestinians commemorate their “days of catastrophe”. Usually this is May 14, but “filisteenyit il-dakhil”..1948 Palestinians, mark it to parallel Israeli Independence Day, when they march to a different ethnically cleansed Palestinian village each year.”
Umkhalil also writes:
“There is a land. Golda was right about that. There is a people who belong to the land. The old will die. David Ben Gurion was right about that. The old have passed on the torch to the young, who remember.”
The passing of the torch is indeed a fitting metaphor, especially for Al-Falasteenyia, a Palestinian-American college student who manages to relate to her people's history while packing.
“I hate packing. but this time around, I realize it really is a privilege to pack. I don’t have to drop everything and run for my life.” she says.
Haitham Sabbah poses a bold question with regards to a recent poll which states that the majority of Israelis want their government to help Palestinians emigrate out of Israel.
“So the question now is not if the Palestinians Refugees will ever return, but if the existing Palestinians will stay? The answer is, yes, they will stay. No matter what the majority of Israelis want, the 1948 Nakba will never happen again. They will only vanish if you manage to kill them all, but even then, Palestinians will return.”
While Al-Nakba is commemorated on one day, it comes historically during a turbulent time where refugees were created, homes were lost and villages eradicated. One such village was the recent scene of a symbolic “marathon” which Will from Kabobfest refers to as ‘More Palestinian Non-Violent Resistance for the Media to Ignore’.
“Such non-violent activities, sadly, will not get headlines in the western press. However, they are important testaments to the fact that Israel is a contested state, not quite settled in itself, given the unresolved injustices it must account for (there will be no peace until there is an accounting for Israel's foundational crimes).”
Elsewhere, Laila El-Hadad had a short lived identity crisis last month upon attempting to book a British Airways flight to the US. Apparently the airline did not recognize “Palestine” as a country. Still recovering from jetlag, Laila recently blogs about her airport perils during her trip to the US where she again is has her identity thrown into question.
“Of course, it took us a while to get through immigration in London where we were put up for the night-and given our strange combination of passports, misspelled names, and travel history, I wasn't the least bit surprised…”Palestinian what?” asked the bare-headed man at behind the counter. After lengthy consultation and questions about why we were carrying two passports.”
Meanwhile, Naseem Tarawnah at the Black Iris of Jordan points to the territory grabs Israel is making in setting its own borders while neglecting negotiations with the Palestinians.
“Israel continues to build the wall, setting its own borders, taking whatever territory it wants while Palestinians are still struggling with leadership. The fact that major political and economic players of the world have shut them out hasn’t helped either.”
On the same topic Haitham Sabbah puts things into perspective with a series of interesting maps illustrating the detailed loss of land since 1917.
Katie Miranda of Postcards from Palestine has a photo story that has her being bombarded with rocks by Israeli settler children as she attempted to protect a Palestinian child on his way home past the Tel Rumeida settlement. Israeli soldiers did nothing to stop the children but attempted to stop Katie from filming.
“They told me they couldn’t control the children. I told them, “All it would take to control these kids is some tear gas or a sound bomb, or, you know, how about some rubber bullets or live ammunition like you shoot at Palestinian kids who throw rocks?”
Katie also has a website now featuring a collection of her artwork from Palestine in the form of postcards to ‘The American People’.
Sonia Nettnin from Ramallah Online, reviews the documentary ‘Improvisations'; describing it as “a musical journey into the Joubran family of Nazareth and Ramallah. Three, Palestinian brothers are oud musicians who find innovative ways to work together and deal with Israeli military occupation”. The film was screened recently at the 5th Annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival.
Speaking of movies, Jim Carrey is just one in a series of celebrities who have recently made public visits to Israel. UmKhalil goes through a list of things these Hollywood celebrities probably don't know but probably should. Concluding with:
“Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Sharon Stone, and Ewan McGregor probably don't know any of this, but it is high time they found out rather than allow themselves to be used to enhance Israel's image.”
“I was thinking this is impossible. She is alive; her voice is still in my mind when she is telling me: “It will improve Mohammed, this injustice will end one day” and even her simple Arabic words are still coming to my mind.”
She will be deeply missed on the Palestinian Blogosphere.