Of all the crimes against humanity committed in the last century and continuing into this one, it would be difficult to surpass the injustice and cruelty of the Nakba. Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe and can only begin to describe the deliberate and immoral ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs as they were forced from their homeland and their villages systematically destroyed.
Solemn demonstrators commemorated the 64th anniversary of the Nakba in Los Angeles this past week. The event took place in front of the Israeli Consulate on one of the cityâ€™s main thoroughfares. Motorists throughout the demonstration would frequently honk their horns in a gesture of solidarity.
The protestors carried signs which read: â€œThe Key to Peace = The Right to Returnâ€; â€œNo Justice – No Peaceâ€, and â€œNo $$$ for Israeli Apartheidâ€.
Chants included: â€œStop the Killing, Stop the Hate: Israel is a Terrorist Stateâ€; â€œLong Live the Intifadaâ€, and â€œFree Free Palestineâ€.
One protestor carried a poster showing graphic pictures of grievously injured children in Gaza. A passerby said â€œIt is hard to believe anyone would do these things to childrenâ€.
During one particularly poignant part of the demonstration, a few of the participants read aloud the names of Palestinian cities destroyed by the Israelis in 1948. The population of each city and the exact date of the destruction were read and often punctuated with the shout – in the direction of the embassy – â€œShame on you, Zionistsâ€.
The demonstration was planned by AL AWDA Los Angeles/Orange County. Sponsors included: The Palestine American Womenâ€™s Association (PAWA); Almoubadara (USA); Jewish Voice for Peace -LA; American Muslims for Palestine; Israeli Divestment Campaign -Southern California; Dump Veolia -LA; Palestinian American Congress; Boycott-Divestment-Sanction-LA; Women in Black-LA, and Union of Palestinian American Women.
Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, â€œaffirms that the Palestinian Arab people, regardless of their religious affiliation, are indigenous to Palestine. Therefore, they are entitled to live anywhere in Palestine which encompasses present-day â€œIsraelâ€, the West bank and Gaza Strip.â€
Al-Awda cites the racist and exclusionary character of â€œIsraelâ€.
Al-Awda works to educate the public about â€œIsraeliâ€ injustices; to end all US aid to â€œIsraelâ€, to support boycott, divestment and sanctions vis a vis Israel; the Right to Return for all Palestinian refugees together with full restitution, and the formation of an independent, democratic state for all its citizens in all of Palestine.