by Mazin Qumsiyeh
15 May 2012 | Popular Resistance
On this 64th anniversary of the Nakba we mourn the ethnic cleansing that began in 1948 and that continues today with silent transfer, home demolitions, land confiscation and more. But we also celebrate an amazing resilience and success of the Palestinian endogenous people against incredible odds:
-We just celebrated the success of a hunger strike by over 1600 political prisoners despite attempts to stifle the story in Zionist dominated Western media. They succeeded in achieving a part of their basic rights including receiving family visits and ending solitary confinement.
-We are 11.5 million people and while most of us are refugees and displaced people, we remain steadfast and hopeful and connected. Thanks to persistence and now the internet and modern communications, even the feeble attempts to isolate us from each other failed. Thousands of Palestinians still go to their main city of Jerusalem without Israeli permission. Thousands connect across the Green line to the areas occupied since 1948.
-We are still the most educated people in the Middle East with the highest per capita of postgraduates.
-We now have 12 universities inside the occupied Palestinan territories. On Saturday we held the second biomedical research symposium in Bethlehem showing scientific work rivaling that done in countries with a strong tradition of research. This is miraculous considering the conditions under occupation.
-We are still the people who helped develop the Arab world and even remind it of its unity and common destiny. But more than that, our resistance shielded fellow Arabs from the original plans of Zionists for an empire from the Nile to the Euphrates. We are still the main obstacle to the victory of the racist Zionist project.
-We have an amazing history of 130 years of struggle against the most well-financed, most-organized, most-supported (by Zionists and their Western backers) colonial project in human history.
– We have the fastest growing boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in anti-colonial struggles. In less than 7 years we accomplished far more than what was accomplished with BDS in any other place (including in 25 years in South Africa).
-Palestine is still the place where people of different religions lived together in the same neighborhod unsegregated until European Zionists came and recreated ghettos for Palestinians (Muslims and Christians) and one large ghetto for Jews called Israel coexist in harmony. Church bells and the call of the Muezzin to prayer still penetrate deep in our souls despite all the Zionist attempts to silence them (e.g. the ethnic cleansing and destruction of 530 villages and towns).
– We educate our children that racism and notions of choseness are wrong and they grow to believe that we can still have the new Palestine that will be like our old Palestine: multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural and beautiful.
– Palestinians inspired activists around the world. Polls show great sympathy for our cause among average people. Palestine is now cause celebre among those struggling against oppression. Even Nelson Mandela said that South Africa will not be fully free until Palestine is free. According to polls, a majority in Western Europe correctly view Israel and the US as the two greatest threats to world peace. Thousands of internationals joined us in the struggle locally. Israel has become so paranoid about any solidarity visits and in the process exposed its apartheid racist nature.
We are grateful to be participants in shaping a better future for all. I am 100% sure that our Nakba will end, refugees will return, freedom and equality will happen, and Israelis will also be liberated from being oppressors and colonizers and become integrated into the fabric of the new and better Palestine. We can then become a “light unto the peoples.”