Palestinians around the world commemorated Nakba Day (The Catastrophe) on Wednesday – regarded as the most pivotal day in the history of Palestine. On the 15 May 1948, Zionist militias forced more than 750,000 Palestinians to flee their homeland. This started a chain of events that left more than eight million Palestinians stateless – most of them still waiting for the right to return.
Palestinians marked the 71st anniversary of Nakba Day with demonstrations and marches across the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Locally, Palestine solidarity groups in Cape Town held a picket in Wale Street to remind the public of the continuous Nakba of the Palestinian people.
Speaking to VOC, chairperson of the Palestinian Human Rights Centre and Museum, Dr Anwah Nagia expressed deep grief and frustration with the situation in Palestine.
“It’s a very sad day. It is also a day for reflection and remembrance of the people who died at the hands of the Stern Gang in 1947/48. Not only were 700 000 people expelled out of the entire land but also the Stern Gang murdered mothers, pregnant women and men and destroyed and burned down villages in their occupation.”
“…It is now, in fact, an even bigger Nakba because almost 90% of Palestinians are either in exile or living in camps.”
The picket was organised by the Al-Quds Foundation, the Muslim Judicial Council, the Al-Quds Youth and the Palestinian Museum.
“We are here today to stand with Palestine- with our brothers, sisters and mothers, with our uncles in Islam – all of them who are suffering,” said young picketer, Aliya.
“The youth has tended to forget the past. Now, I am not against technology, but they must not forget our past. You can only plan for the future if you know what happened in the past and know what is happening at present. Why were we standing here? We want the occupation to stop, we want the Israelis to stop murdering the Palestinians and we want the land (to be given) back to the Palestinians. The Palestinians have suffered enough. As Muslims, we know this is not only the fight of the Palestinians but of all Muslim people,” exclaimed Hussain Imran.
“The significance of this building is that it’s the provincial building and we are here to stand for the freedom of Palestinians. We in South Africa are free to practice our religion, free to go about as we want, but the Palestinians are restricted. This is what we do, we stand and give of our time. We ask the support of passersby, motorists and tourists. It’s for them to see what we are doing and why we are here. We want them to see our posters that say they (Palestinians) will return to Gaza,” said Fazlin Ferguson as she waved her Palestinian flag high.
Pro-Palestinian activist Nadeem Hendricks explained the importance of raising awareness:
“Today is a big day for Palestine. It’s the day the gangster Zionists removed and massacred the Palestinians. We must not forget that day because this is the day the illegitimate regime of Israel was created. It is our duty to remind people of that atrocity and of the atrocities happening right now in Gaza. If we as Muslims do not keep up the awareness then we will be guilty.”
To read more on the Nakba click on the links below: