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Nakba 75 and the ongoing erasure of Palestinians


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‘The Nakba is not a memory; it is a continuous uprooting’

- Mahmoud Darwish

May 2023 marks 75 years since the Nakba of 1948. Nakba Day marks the physical erasure of villages and communities and the creation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

As Darwish’s quote above illuminates, this violent history of displacement is both a historical event and an experience that is ongoing, felt daily by Palestinians. Today, there are approximately six million Palestinian refugees registered living in around 58 camps in Palestine as well as surrounding nations. The violence of 1948 continues today through the same tactics of ethnic cleansing, such as home demolitions, while new iterations of this violence continuously emerge. The threat and restriction to academic freedom is one of these new forms, backed by neo-imperial powers who have been complicit in the settler colonial project established through the Nakba.

This complicity is explicit in the U.K’s supply of arms to the Israeli Occupation Forces; Elbit Systems is responsible for 85% of Israel’s drones, the same ones deployed against Gaza in 2008, 2014, 2021 and as recently as last week. Therefore, Elbit’s factories in the U.K, ten in total, have been continuously and successfully targeted by direct-action group Palestine Action. This May, on the anniversary of the Nakba, Palestine Action have laid siege against Elbit’s Leicester base.

The urgency of the ongoing Nakba is demonstrated by groups like Palestine Action and prompts us to not only commemorate history but understand our present and fight for a future. A number of the texts below help us to do this. Political work such as Ghada Karmi’s recently released One State proposes a radical solution that goes against the normative peace processes suggested by international bodies. New works of fiction such as Isabella Hammad’s Enter Ghost beautifully depict the complexity of a Palestinian’s relationship to her homeland.

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