Nakba 2013: The Palestinian Youth Movement Commemorates 65 Years of Al Nakba (Introduction)

Friday 17 May 2013

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Source: Palestinian Youth Movement

Kewyords: Palestine, Nakba, Resistance

The fifteenth of May 2013 marks the sixty-fifth commemoration of the day the oppressive Zionist state came into being. It also marks sixty-five years from the beginning of our collective fragmentation and simultaneous resistance. This current period that we are living also marks a significant shift in our history not only as Palestinians, but as Arabs, colonized, and young people of today’s world. While there are strong sentiments of brokenness and rupture of Palestinian and Arab communities, we also must recognize, reflect on, and celebrate our histories of resistance and use these narratives as fuel for creating a new and strong resistance for our generation and those that follow. While this current period might be among the most difficult to navigate, it also creates flexibility and possibilities for a creative resurgence of a legacy that will lead us to our liberation and return.

We have produced this booklet this year in an attempt to offer new and insightful approaches and framings to today’s commemoration. After sixty-five years and multiple generations, it seems that all we can be certain of is that things must change. Over the course of these years, the rhetoric around our struggle for justice has been diluted, weakened, and split into many different directions as interests and power have shifted; so much so that it becomes difficult to see a possibility for building a popular and grassroots movement that is attentive to the needs of the masses and not the interests of a few. By using the framework of justice and liberation, a platform is provided for the incorporation of all peoples’ struggles, not only of Palestine, but of the region and the world, to partake in broader movements. In this regard, we seek to complicate purely nationalist frameworks in order to build a world view that incorporates liberation for all colonized and oppressed peoples globally. Justice and liberation struggles in different contexts are dependent upon one another because the systems that ensure the various forms of oppression are, in fact, the same.

In this booklet, you will find various articles by different PYM members that offer historical accounts of the Nakba and our history. The accounts touch upon some of the most critical issues that we face in our communities. These articles attempt to re-write our histories and how we understand them in addition to providing new frameworks for understanding the history that brought us to this present juncture. This booklet focuses specifically on our history with sixty-five years of Nakba at its core and with special attention to the right of return, refugeehood and exile from various perspectives. It provides contexts for some of the frameworks we, as PYM, have taken up including that of settler-colonialism, anti-colonial liberation, empire and neo-colonialism, critique of a rights-based approach, Palestinian and Arab dimensions, and prospects for a new young generation. While we remain critical of the various leaderships we currently have, and have encountered in our struggle and its history, there are certain historical practices that we can maintain or return to, use as a guideline for how to (or not to) move our struggle forward, in order to productively transcend the very contradictions we call into question.

In light of the sixty-five year commemoration, this reader has a specific focus on Palestine – the Nakba, the right of return, displacement and exile, and the politics of occupation and colonization. The papers to follow offer an intensive and critical intervention of how we can examine our history for a constructive future. In this booklet, you will find in-depth analyses of these various focuses and it will provide for a more in-depth mastery of how we reflect on and carry out our work. By understanding and sharing the content of this booklet and taking it into account in our daily practice, I propose that we may be able to move beyond these histories, not forgetting them, but connecting them to a broader context and struggle. Given the current geopolitical considerations of our region and world, we can no longer center Palestine in isolation. Yes, Palestine is a site and center for liberation and has its own specificities, but in this time it is increasingly important that we strive to de-isolate our struggle by making linkages to other struggles against oppression and for a better world. In this booklet we focus on Palestine in-depth and critically from both a theoretical and pragmatic outlook with the hopes that sharpening and expanding our perspective around Palestine will open up doors for a broader and politically attentive approach to Palestine, justice, and liberation. With these words, I hope you find the following pages insightful, engaging, and thought-provoking as we enter into old conversations to stimulate the new.

And the sixty-five year struggle for justice and liberation continues …

The PYM 2013 Nakba Booklet includes articles, political cartoons and poetry by a variety of PYM members. A complete table of contents can be found below.

Read the entire 2013 Nakba PYM Booklet here

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