Boston Responds to the ‘Ongoing Nakba’ and Gaza Slaughter
On May 15, in the wake of the killing on a single day of 61 unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip, more than 300 Boston-area residents refused to be deterred by reports of a violent storm sweeping across Massachusetts, and gathered in the Boston Common to express their solidarity for the Palestinian People.
‘Remembering and Resisting: 70 Years of Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine,’ featured exhibits making the connection between the 1948 ‘Nakba’ (Catastrophe) during which 800,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes to make way for the State of Israel, and the ongoing process of dispossession that has undergirded Israel’s colonial expansion during the last 70 years.
As the wind whipped up and the rain began to fall, the rally shifted to a nearby church that had at the last minute opened its doors to us as a gesture of solidarity.
There were moving speeches delivered by Palestinians of all ages, a young member of the United American Indians of New England, solidarity activists and a spoken word poet. They highlighted the ‘ongoing Nakba’ that was so painfully visible in the events taking place in the Gaza Strip. The names were read of many of the 110 Gazans whose lives have been extinguished by Israeli soldiers as they participated in the nonviolent protests that were launched on Land Day, March 30, to demand freedom from the prison in which they have been confined by Israel and their right as refugees to return to their homes.
The youngest victim was an 8-month old baby, Leila Anwar Al-Ghandoor, who died on May 14 from dense tear gas being sprayed from drones on the crowd many hundreds of yards away from the first of the fences caging Gaza.
The spirit of Gaza’s Great March of Return was conveyed in a personal message to Boston from one of its founders, Abu Artema:
“The March of Return represents a new birth of life in the face of the many attempts to kill the Palestinians and their cause. The march of return is a proof of the will of people and their determination and belief in their rights. It proves that people are stronger than the arsenal of weapons owned by the occupiers. It also sends a strong message to the world that Zionism, which relied on the factor of time to legitimize the reality of occupation and end the Palestinian presence, has failed…
Gaza has been under a deadly siege for 12 years… meant to push people to the brink of death and despair. But the march of return proved that the forces of life in the Palestinians overcame the forces of death... The Palestinians in Gaza challenged the occupation, even as the occupation bet on killing the will of life among them when hundreds of thousands marched to break the siege and to announce to the world that we will not die silently and to say, enough with this life of oppression and humiliation.
We are talking to the free people in this world. The battles of freedom are indivisible and the Palestinians who are marching these days are fighting for the principles of freedom, justice, and dignity. This requires all of us, the ones who honor justice, freedom, and dignity, to stand with the Palestinians in this moral struggle. We take pride in your standing with us and we appreciate your commitment to the human conscience. In order to reach the inevitable historical moment of freedom, return, and self-determination, we have to work together. The Palestinian cause is a just cause.”
Standing with Palestinians “in this moral struggle” are the organizers of this Nakba event: the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, the Boston Palestinian Community, Grassroots International, JVP-Boston, Massachusetts Peace Action, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, and United for Justice with Peace, joined by 38 endorsing organizations.
Nancy Murray, for the Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine
You can listen to event speeches here.
photo credits: Hubert Murray