Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Nakba

15th May 2008

 

The Palestinian Community in Melbourne, together with a number of the Palestine Support Groups commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba on Thursday 15th May 2008. This year, the Nakba day marks 60 years of Palestinian dispossession, suffering, and struggle to maintain the Palestinian identity that Israel , and Zionism have been trying to erase for years.

The Nakba Commemoration activities started on Thursday at lunch time with beautiful Palestinian Folk dances (Dabkeh) performed by the Palestinian Community dance troupe El-Rozana at the Bourke Street mall, followed by a number of performances at the state library square later on in the afternoon.


 

A large numbers of Black Balloons were tied to the trees and in people's hands carrying the names of the Palestinian towns and villages that were destroyed, and ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces during the Nakba. Conveying a strong message that Palestinians didn't and will not forget these towns and villages, nor they will forget the people of these villages who were massacred or dispossessed from their homes in 1948, not only after 60 years but forever they will remain in the hearts and minds of every Palestinian.


 

"We R on the Map", an interactive and symbolic activity that attracted the attention of the crowd, especially the young generations. This activity was mainly to commemorate the Palestinian towns and villages that have been destroyed in 1948. A large map of Palestine was built on the grass with longitude and latitude lines marked across, and coordinate numbers on the sides. Towns' names, coordinates, and information were written on cards that participants picked, read them loudly, and placed them on the map in a symbolic way of returning them to the map of Palestine where they naturally belong.

Experiments were performed on larger models of the map weeks before the event, this model was built in Ruffy Lake park on Saturday 10th May 2008.

 

By sunset, people started to light their candles in preparation to the candlelight vigil. Despite the sadness of the event, and the sad memories of the Nakba, you can't afford not to feel the beauty of the candles in people's hands, and without anyone saying a word, you could hear the messages clearly and strongly... "We will not forget the Nakba", "Palestinian refugees must return to Palestine", "Justice for Palestinians", all acknowledging the suffering and pain of almost every Palestinian.

The last activity for the Nakba day started at 7:30pm at the RMIT Capitol theatre with the screening of two Palestinian documentaries related to the Nakba. First documentary was "Yoom Ilak Yoom Alaeik" or "A day for you, a day against you"which explains the historical complexity of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948 and provides insight into the diversity of Palestinian refugee experiences since then.

The second documentary was "The Sons of Eilaboun" of Hisham Zrake that tells the story of the people of Eilaboun and the massacre that was committed in their village by Zionist forces in October 1948.