Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Denying the Nakba | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The battle is not over some road signs or over the status of the Arabic language or over the school curricula for grade three or four; it is a battle over raising awareness and historical accounts.

The battle is not over a decision to change signs related to arts or technology; the battle is over an attempt to “Zionize” the account and to deny the Arab essence of the towns. The victims, or rather the symbols of this battle are the sons of the growing generation who are being brought up on Natzrat not An Nasira [Nazareth], Yerushalim not Al Quds [Jerusalem], Gush Khalav not Al Jish [Jish], Kom Miut not Nakba. They are being raised on the Zionist version of the story and not the real one.

They are scared. The racists are scared because they have no trust in their version or in its endurance. This is why they attack words, awareness and history in a bid to rewrite history from scratch after our anti-Zionist version began to take root over the past two decades. It was establishing itself here and there, not just amongst ourselves but also within Israeli academic circles and in universities and research centres and also in the West and its universities. They attack those who want to remember the tragedy and the tragedy of their families and their demolished towns. What happened in 1948 was a “Nakba” [catastrophe] in the real sense of the word; people were driven out of their homes, families were broken up, people’s lands were confiscated, people were expelled and some of them fled, and an entire nation was destroyed before it could rebuild itself. Isn’t that a Nakba? Doesn’t this deserve to be remembered out of human compassion on the one hand, and out of nationalistic sentiment on the other, so that history would not be repeated? There are some right-wing Israelis who wish another Nakba upon us to witness an exodus, to the see the lands emptied or people voluntarily leaving [their homes].

Isn’t this what Gideon Saar expressed in his decision to remove teaching the Nakba from the school curriculum? Isn’t this what Alex Miller expressed in his law to punish institutes that mark the Nakba and do not acknowledge the Judaism of Israel? Isn’t this what Yisrael Katz expressed in his call to change road signs? They are all gaining considerable points within right-wing circles. Anybody who is anti-Arab these days will profit politically. The atmosphere is bleak and is charged with hatred for Arabs. Racism has reared its head high and is getting stronger. The battle has shifted from the streets to the Knesset and the government. Every racist is becoming a king or let us say a minister or even a deputy prime minister.

We are living in difficult times but it is more apt to call it a war on racism. At times we feel that we are alone in this battle because there are those who are mistaken in thinking that we will be the only victims of racism. They deny us of our right to land, homes, education, trees, sadness, memories and road signs. But which fool told them that nations are governed by road signs or textbooks? It would be better for those racists to read their history books in Hebrew and [remember what happened] to their people and to the French in Algeria.

The names of racists disappear but origins remain; cement can be wrecked by bulldozers but the Masbata [raised platform in villages on which one sits] remains. The olive tree outlives the Eucalyptus tree and the Nakba is stronger than those who deny it.