Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Al Nakba"--The Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948

With the situation in Gaza and the West Bank growing more chaotic daily, and while the world is pressing for Israel and Palestinians to come up with a real and just solution, it is absolutely indispensible to know the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially what happened in and around 1948. To the Palestinians this was the time of the infamous "Al Nakba" (the Catastrophe), when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven into exile from their villages and lands in areas Israelis were now claiming as their own, and where they needed to eliminate the Palestinian majority for political reasons as well.

Here is a video that gives you a look at events in 1948 from the Palestinian perspective. Some will criticize this as propaganda, or simply part of a more complex picture. However, be that as it may, this is still how Palestinians themselves largely view their history, and we cannot begin to understand their differences with the State of Israel unless we can see things through their eyes. Personally, my studies of history lead me to consider this video as quite representative of what happened. Leading Jewish scholars like Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, and Tom Segev have debunked, to my satisfaction at least, the official Israeli revionist claims that Al Nakba is a myth.

Another reason to show this video is to simply point out, in photographs, that a viable Palestinian culture existed prior to 1948, and that, moreover, some Palestinians were and are Christians, not just Moslems. Revisionist propagandists on the Right have also been trying to paint a picture of wandering "Arab" populations that just happened to be more or less squatting on or enticed into settling in Palestinian territory just prior to 1948, and that they had no history, no culture, nada.

Yet nothing could be farther from the truth as you will see as you watch this video. And again, let me point out, especially for those of you who are Christians, that both Palestinian Moslems and Christians were driven from their homes by Israeli forces in 1948.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heart-rending pictures! Thanks for posting this, Mac.

Carol M. (Rochester)