To define Nakba

A palestinian wedding in Loubia, a demolished village between Tiberia and Nazareth.

Nakba; means Catastrophe which refers to the atrocious exodus that the Palestinian people suffered from, to the 531 demolished villages and to the ominous year – 1948.

But is that it? Is that what Nakba is all about? The chain of endless suffering hinges the blue ropes between histories, making time travel to seem possible. To absorb the true meaning of Nakba, you have to taste all its sorrows, from the first drop of bloodshed till now.

Nakba is the nostalgic dream of an exiled boy, who is by now an old man, who’s missing the smell of the first drop of rain, mingled with the precious soil.

It is the forgetfulness of the old villages’ names, which lay buried under a nice park, a cemetery or a hotel. Loubia, Sabbarin, Al-Berwe, Al-Shajra, Saforye, Daniel, Zakaria, Lifta, Deir Yassin, Khoubezeh… in a quest to shake the old leaves covered with the dust of memory.

It is the Separation Wall, and the many footballers who are suffocated under its barbed wire (on the way to Qalandia, at least). It’s the three hours that pass every time you go through a checkpoint; it’s the hoarse voice of a soldier asking you to open the trunk.

It’s Room No.4. A bereft childhood.

It is the religious strife. This chasm that strips us of our identity, serving men in ivy towers to sweep the blood that drops from each side. The trade ferries that sail in the sea perched between.

It is the sight of a young Arab Palestinian man holding a rifle with the Israeli flag on his shoulder. It is the sight of innocent people in prison for refusing to serve, for being against the war (such as Omar Saad).

The Nakba is hearing Palestinians speaking Hebrew ostentatiously, like it was a novel trait.

It is the innumerable keys held by aged women of their houses, it’s the young using these keys as an accessory to garnish their necks and wrists.

Nakba is the perennial need to justify yourself and your notions.

It’s the fact that ambitious students have to study in Hebrew to get an academic degree.

Seeing the Israeli flag held up on every Independence Day.

Nakba is the Prawer Plan which aims to displace the 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages, to confiscate thousands of land. To perpetrate a modern Nakba covered with the economic growth veil.

Nakba is forgetting Sabra and Shatila, Kufor Qasem, Deir Yassin, Eilaboun and the massive massacres committed on the Palestinian people.

Nakba is the political prisoners held under earth, deprived from freedom for committing nothing.

Nakba is hearing a Palestinian from Ramallah calling a Palestinian from Haifa a traitor and a collaborator. Likewise, it is hearing a Palestinian from Acre calling a Palestinian from Jenin a D’afawe.

Nakba is the fear you feel when you approach an airport. The fear you see in the people’s eyes around you when you’re wearing the Palestinian Kuffiyeh.

Nakba is hearing a young kid saying that tomorrow is the Independence Holiday so we don’t have school.

Nakba is the gap between Beirut, Damascus, Jerusalem and Cairo. This dismantled identity, the orphan truth and the helpless vision.

Nakba is the Aqsa mosque which is now being attacked and vandalised.

No sound bite is able to encompass the definition of Nakba. No words can describe the atrocities and crimes, the grief and hopelessness. I tried my best to define Nakba, but words failed me and pages left me alone. As my pen lies dead, my thoughts drift to oblivion.

Nakba did not end, Nakba persists to this moment.

Aisha Yassin is an 18 year old Palestinian living in the Occupied Territories. Her dream is to become an acclaimed author. 

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