Thousands attend virtual rally marking Nakba Day


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May 15, 2020
Contact: Sonya E Meyerson-Knox | | 929-290-0317

Roger Waters: “We are making huge progress – the Palestinian cause is more popular every day!”

ZOOM (May 15, 2020) — Thousands of people attended an online rally commemorating Nakba Day and the 72nd year of Palestinian resistance to Israeli dislocation and dispossession. With performances by Roger Waters and DAM, and featuring speeches by Ken Loach, Chief Mandla Mandela, Diana Buttu, Ghada Karmi, among others, the event elevated participants’ opposition to land theft and annexation.

With the Zoom event filled to its maximum 1,000 participants, and thousands more watching on Facebook, screen after screen of attendees held up keys in support of the Palestinian right to return. The rally was live-streamed on Facebook with 23,000 views at the time, and participants joined the viral Twitter campaign #KeysToJustice and #SpreadSolidarity.

Roger Waters said, before performing a rendition of We Shall Overcome: “My heartfelt belief is that we are making huge progress. You are making huge progress. The Palestinian cause is more visible and popular and un-ignorable every day. This ain’t over by a long shot – because to support international law and the idea that human beings have rights puts us firmly on the right side of history.” 

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, said: “When Palestinian refugees fled during the Nakba, they carried with them the keys to their home – which became an icon of their tragedy and a reminder that we will one day return. This year’s Nakba Day, under threat of pandemic, is a reminder that justice is indeed indivisible. The key to justice is putting people before profit and realigning priorities to invest in health, education, climate protection, dignified jobs and true human security. We stand united against all racism and oppression!” 

Ken Loach asserted: “We must keep telling the story of 1948 and what happened since – of dispossession, of the loss and looting of Palestinian land, and of daily oppression. And Palestinians are still there – and today is a tribute to their endurance, their courage and their solidarity.”

Diana Buttu, reading from her father’s story of displacement, concludes with the description, “Today a park and a L’Oréalfactory stand where my home was. And I dream of the day when my grandson can return home.”

The rally included performances by Palestinian hip-hop group DAM, spoken-word artist Remi Kanazi, musician Adnan Joubran and poet Allan Kolski. 

Chief Mandla Mandela: “Today the world is characterized by the total destruction of life as we know it – the very characteristics that have defined life in Palestine for past seven decades. In the face of such a catastrophe, Palestinians are shaking off the shackles of occupation just as we in South Africa have shaken off the shackles of apartheid’s brutal oppression. We stand with you until victory dawns. BDS, like the free Mandela campaign, has given a new voice to the Palestinian struggle. Bring back Palestine!”

Janna Jihad: “Palestinian children are kicked out of their houses and being arrested – why are children being put in prison for defending their land? Even now during coronavirus, the raids by the Israeli army continue – but we can come together and liberate Palestine!”

The Nakba Day rally was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the BDS Movement, Jewish Voice for Peace and the South African BDS Coalition. The complete line-up included speakers: Diana Buttu, Yara Hawari, Ghada Karmi, Janna Jihad, Ken Loach, Chief Mandla Mandela; and performers: Adnan Joubran, DAM, Roger Waters, Remi Kanazi, Allan Kolski. 

Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign: “Thousands registering to attend this event is another demonstration that despite huge efforts to suppress it, the global solidarity movement continues to grow in strength. Its message on Nakba Day to all Palestinians is clear: We see the injustice you suffer – You do not stand alone. We will continue with our global campaign until you enjoy what is your birthright – Freedom, Justice and Equality in your historic homeland.”

Palestinian BDS National Committee: “While facing the daunting impact of the pandemic and Israel’s #CoronaRacism, Palestinians everywhere are commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba — the pre-meditated and violently executed ethnic cleansing of a majority of the Indigenous Palestinians from our homeland in 1948.

“To end the ongoing Palestinian Nakba, the BDS movement calls for strengthening boycott and divestment campaigns to end international state, corporate and institutional complicity in Israel’s crimes. To that end, we call for cutting military-security trade with Israel, banning trade with its illegal settlements, and suspending free-trade agreements.” 

Stefanie Fox, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace: “Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to stand with the global Palestine solidarity movement in commemorating Nakba Day and 72 years of Palestinian resistance. Because we believe in a future of justice, equality and dignity in Palestine/Israel for all, we support the right of Palestinians to return home. 

“The catastrophes of the Nakba continue through ongoing land theft and expulsion – and now the likely annexation by Israel of still more Palestinian land. We refuse to be silent in the face of an even more deeply entrenched apartheid regime. Today’s rally is further proof of the growing global movement in solidarity with Palestinian rights!”

South African BDS Coalition: “As South Africans, we are all too familiar with the horrors of forced removals and racist oppression. Though we managed to defeat the apartheid state – in no small part, thanks to the international solidarity movement – our Palestinian comrades continue to experience an ongoing Nakba, the catastrophe that saw ethnic cleansing and violent removal of Palestinians from their land and homes for the expansion of the Israeli state.

“Today, the SA BDS Coalition adds our voice to that of our international allies, calling for the right of return for Palestinians forcibly displaced. We mark the day by making a key – symbolic of the keys many Palestinians still have for the homes they were forced to leave behind. We invite you to join us and take a photo of yourself with the ‘key of return’ and share it on social media with the hashtag #KeyToJustice.”



the Wire

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