The Nekba will never be forgotten
The Palestinian Nakba or Catastrophe holds great importance in my life as a Palestinian-American, who was born and raised away from my true homeland.
Throughout high school I would hesitate to tell people that I am Palestinian because to them, it holds a negative connotation. I was never the type of person to talk about Palestine in front of my class or challenge the ideas of my teachers when they claimed Israel was “defending itself” in the Gaza Strip. I sat in my chair with a clenched fist and a shattered heart because so many people saw us as animals.
Going to Loyola University in Chicago helped me break out of my shell and for once I was comfortable wearing a Kuffiyeh and telling people about my heritage.
The Palestinian Nakba isn’t a fairy tale and is not a made up story thats used to garner sympathy. Palestinian lives were lost, Palestinian homes were destroyed, Palestinian villages were annihilated and Palestinian lives were completely changed forever.
My grandparents left Palestine for Kuwait, where my mom and her siblings were born and raised for the first few years of their lives. They resided in Kuwait until Saddam Hussien decided to invade the country, which led to my family fleeing to Jordan.
My dad’s family also went to Kuwait after the Nakba, but he ended up in Poland where he would study dentistry. After he finished his studies, he came to the US for work. It was a long process for my dad to come to this country and provide for us..
My parents went from country to country in search for a normal life where they would be treated as normal human beings with rights. We do get rights living in this country until they find out you’re Palestinian. When a person is born, they have unalienable rights, when a Palestinian is born; he is automatically a second-class citizen that has to earn his rights no matter where he is.
Unfortunately the Palestinian Nakba has not stopped, rather, Israeli officials continue their Nakba in more discrete and subtle ways. Palestinian farmers continue to lose their land, homes continue to be destroyed, olive trees continue to be burned and families in Palestine continue to be torn apart by a wall that is meant to bring “peace.”
For me as a Palestinian-American, my duty is to change the perception people have of Palestinians. Not only do we have to get our Palestinian narratives out into the open, but we have to educate the masses about the ongoing Nakba Palestinians have to deal with till this day.
Palestinians have not forgotten the Nakba nor will we be silent in the face of the ongoing Nakba.
A Palestinian’s narrative of the events that took place in 1948 continue to be marginalized and portrayed as an “anti-Semite” that wants to destroy the state of Israel. The divestment campaigns, protests and coalitions being built with various other racial groups are a testament that we have not forgotten about the Nakba. We Palestinians only want to have the same rights as other people around the world.
But this is not the case. A Palestinian cannot get into Palestine with a Palestinian passport. In 1948, Israeli officials not only wanted to kick Palestinians out of their homes, but they wanted to absolutely annihilate anything and anyone that had to ties with Palestine. Israeli politicians want to get rid of the Palestinian people, culture and traditions but they have failed to do so.
Many Palestinians have lost hope in ever returning to their homeland but we have to believe that one day we will be united in a free Palestine. The road is filled with thorns and dangerous objects but if the Palestinian narrative isn’t heard then we will never be able to change the way people view Palestinians. We have a great responsibility in this country to be outspoken and have our voices and narratives heard.