On this day 67 years ago, 750,000 indigenous Palestinians were expelled from their homelands and forced to become the now seven million refugees scattered across every corner of the world. We call this day “Al-Nakba,” or “the catastrophe” — a day that fills our hearts with sorrow and grief, but most importantly, hope.
As the generations go by, that fiery resilience within Palestinians will not die out. And as our children grow, they will not forget their history. They will not forget Falasteen. They will not forget the stories and testimonies of the day their family home was raided, their loved ones before them killed, and their villages – the places they were supposed to call home – completely destroyed. It’s no wonder that 67 years and countless generations later, our stories are still being told, our heritage is still being passed down, and our fight for freedom has only grown stronger.
On this day, we commemorate this tragedy and day of rage. We commemorate this day of grief. We remember how long we have been denied our right of return, and we hold that key from our grandmother’s now desolated home, very near to our hearts. We clench it in our fists, as we see our grandfather do the same, and we do not let go. It is imperative that we do not forget what happened to our families and our people on this day in 1948.
It’s also important to understand that Al-Nakba is not a single event in history. Al-Nakba is not history at all, for that matter. Al-Nakba is yesterday, today, and everyday that Falasteen is still occupied. Al-Nakba did not end, and it will not end, until the chains of colonialism in every part of Falasteen are broken.
They say the old will die and the young will forget, but that’s impossible, because on this day, we renew our resistance and our hope – together. We celebrate our culture. We celebrate us. We celebrate Falasteen. Because no matter how much they try to deny us our rightful home or treat us as if we do not exist, their efforts will be, and are, in complete vain. For Falasteen lives within us, and that is a powerful thing. We should not and we will not underestimate this power, because one day, a day that is very near, Falasteen will roar with freedom from the river to the sea.