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South Florida commemorates Al Nakba, supports Rasmea Odeh

By staff |
May 20, 2014
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Didier Ortiz of POWIR reads a testimonial
Didier Ortiz of People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) reads a testimonial (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Miami, FL - Anti-war activists, students and Palestinian Americans gathered here to commemorate Al Nakba, which means “the catastrophe.” Al Nakba refers to the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians when they were violently forced off their land by Zionist militia groups in May 1948.

Organizers planned three days of remembering Al Nakba. The first occurred May 15, at Saint Jude Melkite Catholic Church in downtown Miami. 40 people gathered to give personal and historical presentations, share food provided by Al-Awda ( the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) and read stories of those who experienced forced removal from their homes and land. It was very moving. As one Palestinian speaker explained, “That night I cried too, as I tried to sleep alongside thousands on the ground. Would I ever see my home again?”

The next day, organizers posted on social media sites to defend Rasmea Odeh, an Arab American activist in Chicago being politically targeted by the U.S. government. Although Odeh is charged with immigration fraud, activists around the U.S. say she is being targeted because of her powerful activism for Palestinian liberation, especially concerning women and girls. Across the country, mobilizations are under way for her June 10 court date in Detroit. Supporters can learn more and sign the petition at

On May 17, Palestinian solidarity activists met again to watch the Oscar nominated documentary Five Broken Cameras. The documentary is told from the perspective of a Palestinian participating in non-violent resistance to the partition wall being built through the land. The U.S. government funds Israel with more than $3 billion per year, while Israel ignores the Obama administration calls to stop building new settlements.

Organizer Cassia Laham, from People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) said, “It is important to remember that Al Nakba is not just an historical event. It is still ongoing as illegal settlements are continuously being built on Palestinian land. The U.S. government should stop sending our tax dollars to Israeli.”

Activists discussed the current struggle of the Palestinian people, including the growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Muhammed Malik, local Palestinian American organizer and former member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Florida International University, said, “Although the mainstream media doesn’t cover it, activists are constantly winning victories. I am hopeful that we will see justice for the Palestinian people.”