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Palestinian day of mourning commemorated in south Florida

By staff |
June 8, 2016
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Fort Lauderdale, FL - Two dozen activists gathered together on the evening of June 4 to commemorate 68 years since the tragic event in Palestine known as al Nakba, or the Catastrophe. The Nakba is the name given to the forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 from their homeland. The Israeli settlers forced Palestinians into occupied zones, crowded prisons, and refugee camps in other countries. The Palestinians have since been denied their right to return back to their homeland, let alone their homes.

Palestinian Americans and solidarity activists gathered in front of the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale waving Palestinian flags and wearing black, with kaffiyehs wrapped around their necks. Activists brought a large wooden coffin for a funeral service to remember the victims of Israeli occupation and terror. The coffin had a large Palestinian flag and a picture of the Al Aqsa mosque draped over it.

Attendees read out first-hand accounts from those Palestinians ethnically cleansed by Israeli colonists. Activists then heard testimonies from their children and grandchildren, who have since been denied entry to their homeland.

Cassia Laham, an organizer with POWIR, told the crowd, “Nakba is the ongoing plight of the Palestinian people. Nakba is the catastrophic U.S. foreign policy that continues to bolster up Israeli power in the Middles East. Nakba is the fact that Americans with no attachment to Palestine get to visit and live in that land for free while Palestinians are kept out. Nakba is millions of U.S. dollars and tons of weapons being sent to Israel to use against Palestinians each year. Over the past seven decades, Palestinians have faced a continuing Nakba, constant catastrophe, occupation and violence. They have faced their own suffering, and time and time again risen up after it all. The people of Palestine are a brave and fighting people, who deserve our solidarity! Long live Palestine!”

Anas Amireh, lead organizer with Al-Awda South Florida, told the crowd, “Not only were Palestinians forced off their land and out of their homes in 1948, but again after the war in June of 1967 [the Naksa].” He explained, “The Naksa is often commemorated as the biggest Palestinian tragedy since ’48, although it is celebrated in Israel as a national holiday. During the Naksa in 1967, around 400,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes and became refugees. June 5 is marked as the day that the Israeli military began their occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula. That military occupation continues to this day.”

Amireh told the crowd, “Today, we are all gathered here because we are awake. We are the people who understand that Nakba and Naksa and occupation continue every day, even when there isn’t a big war or Israeli massacre in Gaza or thousands of people dying. We know that we have to keep fighting to end this ongoing Nakba. And today we are sad, but one day in the future, we will all gather in this spot again and celebrate a free Palestine!”

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