Start A Petition

Kashmiris and Palestinians Meet to Discuss Their Nakbas

Society & Culture  (tags: Kashmiris and Palestinians, colonization, colonization-ethnic cleansing, Nakba-Catastrophe, Great March of Return in Gaza, dispossession, Balfour Declaration, displacement, occupied Palestinian territories, colonialism, Kashmir, media, news, americans, usa, world )

- 158 days ago -
In todays world, people who live under injustice and ongoing colonialism, find many commonalities in terms of their experiences of continued struggle to live in freedom by addressing the continued legacy of colonization


We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 10:33 pm
Kashmiris and Palestinians Meet to Discuss Their Nakbas
By Yousef M. Aljamal

In today’s world, people who live under injustice and ongoing colonialism, find many commonalities in terms of their experiences of continued struggle to live in freedom by addressing the continued legacy of colonization. I was honored to be part of a group of seven young people from both Palestine and both sides of the disputed State of Jammu & Kashmir who met in Istanbul at the end of 2017. During the meeting we discussed the situation in both territories and were able to identify similarities and differences. A key part of this was to better understand the continued impact of the imperialism legacy, in the Palestinian case the Balfour Declaration and Nakba, the Arabic word for Catastrophe, and in the case of Kashmir, the British leaving the state in an unresolved violent dispute. “I got to better understand the historical and religious and political context in Kashmir. I got to see the similarities as well as the differences between both situations,” said one of the Palestinian participants.

The partition of both Palestine and Jammu & Kashmir occurred in 1947, both were direct consequences of British rule. The divisions ignored the aspirations of the real owners of the land and created impermeable borders in both territories that people are still suffering the consequences of until now. In the case of Palestine, the plan proposed creating a Jewish homeland on 54% of historical Palestine, however Jews only owned 6% of land and made 30% of the population. In the case of Kashmir, the creation of Pakistan and India brought about the division of Kashmir among the newly independent nation states without regard to the history of the area and its various ethnic groups.

“Though it was very depressing to discuss our narratives and history and the oppression that the people of our region are facing by occupiers, the discussions we had helped me build up solidarity and share knowledge and perspectives with Palestine’s youths. We are now sharing materials with each other so that we could understand our causes and work together in solidarity with each other against our oppressors,” said one of the participants from the Indian side of Kashmir. “Knowing that someone is well aware of your political situation and dealing with the same colonial policies and procedures makes you stronger in front of your oppressors, and makes you want to speak up and spread their experiences to the whole world,” noted a Palestinian participant.

Palestinians call what happened to them in 1948 after the establishment of the state of Israel as “Nakba”, a term that seemed new to Kashmiris, yet this meaning of expulsion and loss was deeply rooted in their collective memory of separation and division. The idea of Nakba resonated with the Kashmiri participants, who, just like Palestinians, had their country divided, and were no longer able to return to their land. The Line of Control in Kashmir, the most heavily militarized region on earth, made Palestinians think of fences Israel created around Jewish-only settlements, or say Gaza, the biggest-open-air prison in the world. It reminded them of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank, which cut off Palestinians from their land.

“I realized that the tools used for subjugating human beings are the same in nature, as well as the pain and suffering people faced, and are still facing. Meeting Palestinians was very helpful to understand this,” said one of the participants from Pakistan administered Kashmir. “I have changed my whole perspective about the situation in J & K. It’s not a fight between two countries, there are people who are seeking freedom from both sides. I also have learnt that “colonialism” is turning every heaven to hell not only in Palestine,” said one of the Palestinian participants.

An African proverb says that “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” In Palestine and Jammu & Kashmir, a young generation is emerging that is re-writing its own history, which has largely been hijacked by occupations and internal conflicts. Speaking of this, one of the participants from the Pakistan administered Kashmir noted, “What attracted and surprised me the most was the common narrative of victims of conflicts, or those living in disputed lands, which is very much different than the literature written about them.”

With the importance of narration of mind, the question today is how to turn the British Partition Plans, both in Palestine and Kashmir, which resulted in ongoing Nakbas for the two people into a new start in which unity and justice are achieved and artificial borders are removed. The implications of these Nakbas are deeply rooted in people’s minds, but the same as events resulting from the legacy of Britain both in Palestine and Kashmir turned into a painful saga of history, it is time to bring about a new future, that is based on building solidarity and facing injustice and division with justice and unity.

As one of the youth from Indian administered Kashmir put it, “Most of us were made to conclude that we were not equal and can’t be to others.” For this to end, the people of Kashmir have to get rid of this belief, the same as protesters at the Great March of Return in Gaza are doing these days. Collective mobilization resulting from this transnational solidarity could bring colonialism to its knees and sometimes all it takes is greater understanding of shared experiences and moving forward in solidarity.

According to one of the Palestinian participants, the workshop “actually raised the hope in me for accomplishing something great and the coming generation who is living under oppression have more in common than differences. For me, meeting with people from Kashmir and being exposed to their experience of colonialism made it sure that solidarity between the people of the two nations is the key.”

Note: The views in the article are of the author. The workshop was organized by the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University and funded by Antipode Foundation Ltd.

fly bird (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 8:23 am
Stories of the catastrophe: Palestine.
16 May 2018

Seventy years ago, Palestinians suffered the Nakba, or catastrophe, when most fled or were forced by Zionist militias to flee Palestine to make room for the creation of the state of Israel and ensure a Jewish majority. Some 750,000 ended up as refugees registered with the United Nations. Many others fended for themselves. They were never allowed to return to their lands or homes which were confiscated by the nascent state, and many of their villages were subsequently destroyed. Here survivors tell their stories.

Boulos Khoury, 84. Haifa. Originally from Iqrit near the Lebanon border.

Iqrit was a small Christian village of around 500 inhabitants very close to Palestine’s border with Lebanon. The village was ethnically cleansed in 1948 and destroyed in 1951, except for the church. Its villagers became internally displaced – what Israel called “present absentees.”

We were happy. We had figs, hummus and olive trees. We planted everything, except sugar and rice. My father had a lot of land, around 100 dunums. We made flour, grew lentils and beans, all kind of vegetables and olives. The only thing that my father sold was tobacco. He died when I was very young, and my older brother was left in charge. Our home was made of big stones and had been built by my grandfather.

In 1948, there was no resistance in the village. The Zionist forces entered the village and we raised the white flag. We did not have any weapons. They told us to flee to al-Rama and said it would be only for two weeks, and that it was for our own safety. We were transported by military trucks. But I did not go with the rest. My brother told me to go to Lebanon to Qouzah, to our aunt, in order to save the animals. I walked to Lebanon with five cows, a camel, a donkey and a horse. I waited for the message that my brother was supposed to send when they were back in Iqrit, but the message never came.

After one month, I heard that some people were going to Iqrit to pick fruit so I decided to go. I was afraid to cross the border but I made it. There was nothing left in our home, everything had been stolen. People I met told me I could not reach al-Rama, so I went back to Lebanon and stayed for two years. Then I found a smuggler, Ali, and with a group, we left at night for Palestine. We were afraid, it was dangerous. Finally at dawn, close to al-Rama, I continued alone through the fields. When I reached the village, I saw someone from Iqrit who took me to my family. They could not believe I had made it. Neither could I.

One Christmas Day we heard that Iqrit had been completely destroyed. The mukhtar and others had gone to a hill opposite the village and confirmed the news. It was a catastrophe to hear this news. They wanted to kill any hope for us to go back. But they didn’t.

I eventually got a permit and started to work as a butcher in Haifa. I married in 1960 and moved to Haifa. We go back a lot to Iqrit, sleeping in the church. I was arrested a few times for staying there. We brought the children during every vacation.

We are the same as the refugees. What we have in common is the hope of return. We just want to go home, this is our basic right. I want to go back and build a small home.

Reportage and photo by Anne Paq

Saed Hussein Ahmad al-Haj, 85, Balata refugee camp, in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Originally from al-Tira near Ramla.

I was lucky compared to other refugees. I was successful in work and have three butcher shops. I have children. But there has always been something missing. I keep myself busy but there is no real joy because I do not live in the home where I was born.

My village was mostly known for its livestock and its produce. It was a small village, around 2,000 inhabitants. Our life was simple life back then. The school was so basic we sat on the floor. I spent my time playing outside with the neighbors.

My father traded in sheep and cattle. He also sold their milk. We had a small house made of stones, and two dunums of land that were cultivated with wheat, sesame, figs and olive trees. Everything tasted better back then. We ate directly from the land. We could also easily go to the sea, and because of the trade we met different kinds of people.

In 1948, I was around 15. One night we saw soldiers coming toward us. First we thought they were Arab. But then they started shooting. The bullets were flying over my head and I thought I would die. I ran back to my father, who told me to go east with the sheep. We had six then. I went alone but I heard shooting so I left the sheep and ran back home.

We fled with the rest of the villagers. First we went to al-Abbassiyya where they were some Palestinian resistance groups. Then we walked to Deir Ammar near Ramallah.

We took nothing with us. Everyone was talking about Deir Yassin [where Zionist forces had committed a massacre]. The fear got into us even before the Zionists arrived. We should have stayed and died there. We should have fought. At least, we never sold our homes. We were kicked out against our will.

A few days after we fled, I sneaked into the village at night. But when I entered our home, everything – the flour, the olive oil, the furniture – was destroyed and strewn in the middle.

We went back to our village, once, with my father. It was after 1967. He knocked at the door, and a Yemeni answered. My father told him: “This is my home.” But the Yemeni just answered: “It was your home. Now it is mine.”

Reportage and photo by Anne Paq

Wafta Hussein Khleif, 82, Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. Originally from Deir Aban, near Jerusalem.

All of Wafta’s male children have been arrested by Israel at one time or another, and one spent more than 20 years in prison. One of her grandchildren was killed during an Israeli army incursion in Bethlehem in 2008. He was 17.

We ate what we grew. Everything came from the soil. We bought nothing. We lived in a farm that had an inside courtyard. We had more than a dunum of land with 200 olive trees, and chickens and sheep. There were Jews living nearby. They were friends and would come to the village to buy milk. They also did not have a mill so they used the one in our village.

In 1948, there was a lot of fighting. There were shootings and bombings from planes. We did not have any weapons, just knives and scythes. We digged a trench around the village. Three were killed during those days. When we heard about the massacre in Deir Yassin, how they lined up the men and shot them, it was too much. They were taking the girls too. That’s when we left. If you were in our place, what would you have done?

There was no time. We took what we could carry. My grandfather Hussein had to be carried by camel. We stayed under a carob tree just outside the village. We thought we would be back soon. The men went back to pick up the olives but were attacked by the Zionists.

We left to Jabba and stayed with their friends, and from there to Bethlehem. We rented a cave from a Christian family that my father transformed into a room with a zinc roof. Then I married my husband Muhammad al-Afandi and moved to Dheisheh camp. We lived in a tent for three or four years. That is where our first three children were born.

Inshallah, we will return. If not me, my children, or their sons, or their sons, or their sons. We will leave everything in a second and go, even if this means living again in a tent.

Reportage and photo by Anne Paq

Muhammad Khalil Leghrouz, 93, Aida refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. Originally from Beit Natif, west of Bethlehem.

Muhammad still cries when he talks about his brother Thaer, who was killed by Zionist militants in 1948 at the age of 15.

Beit Natif was all fruits and vegetables. We grew everything. There were many farmers. And there were many cows and sheep. I grew up with the sheep. I used to play with them from morning to evening. I did not go to school. My family had a big farm, built with old stones.

In 1948, we came under attack. There were shootings. We had to flee, stepping on bodies on our way out. My brother Thaer was shot dead and we buried him immediately. We left everything – the sheep and my mother’s gold. My father had to be carried by camel, as he could not walk. He did not want to leave, but I took him on my back, I forced him onto the camel. He wanted to die there.

First, we fled to Beit Ommar, then Hebron, Bethlehem and Husan, where I met my wife, Fatima. Together, we went to live in Aida refugee camp and we’ve stayed there. I never went back to my village.

My father could never forget. “We will return,” he kept saying.

Reportage and photo by Anne Paq

Hakma Attallah Mousa, 108, Beach refugee camp, Gaza City. Originally from al-Sawafir al-Shamaliya some 30 kilometers over the boundary from Gaza.

Hakma has more than 80 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but even her relatives are unsure of the exact number.

My father Attallah Mousa was the mukhtar [chief] of our family. I still recall my father’s diwan [guest hall], where he welcomed guests and helped solve village problems.

I used to milk our cow for cheese and yogurt. We had sheep and chickens. My family had more than 100 dunams of land on which my brothers planted wheat, lentils and barley. Our life was based on farming. Thank God, we had some great times.

My mother was wounded when we were fleeing. After we had packed some of our things and started to walk out of the village, she was shot. We carried her until we reached a hospital in Gaza City. A few weeks later, she died.

We want to return, my son, back to our village, and we will. We want to return to our homeland.

Reportage by Rami Almeghari and photo by Mohammed Asad

Hassan Quffa, 88, Nuseirat refugee camp in the central occupied Gaza Strip. Originally from Isdud, near Ashdod.

We were farmers, cultivating our lands for generation after generation. At the time, agriculture was widespread and citrus trees were plentiful. My family alone owned about 90 dunums. I used to accompany my uncle Abdelfattah to our diwan where he met locals and sometimes the British. At the time, the British authorities used to come to my uncle’s place, relying on him as a liaison between the authorities and the local residents.

I would play baseball. We’d be seven to a game. After playing, we would go to the Ghabaeen coffee shop, to drink coffee and talk.

Wedding parties would last three to seven days. Uncles of a bride would accompany the bride to her groom’s home at the end of the celebrations, usually on a horse.

When the Haganah militants began placing roadblocks across the Ashdod area, stopping passersby, we began to get rifles. Every fourth youth had a rifle in an attempt to defend against attacks by the Haganah. We were only farmers. The Zionist gangs were well-trained and equipped, with the help of the British. Actually, when the Arab armies came to fight, we felt relieved.

But the Arab army unit near us was defeated. Their weapons were old. There were dead Arab soldiers all over the place. We realized we could do nothing but flee.

I want to return. I want us all to return. That is my home. I have a right to go back. I hope to do so in my lifetime.

Reportage by Rami Almeghari and photo by Mohammed Asad

Amna Shaheen, 87, currently living in Gaza City, originally from Ni’ilya village near Ashkelon.

My grandfather Ibrahim was the village imam and taught children the Quran and some Islamic subjects. Girls, including myself, were of course not allowed to learn.

My father had livestock and I used to help my father. I had only one brother, who was sick.

I would chase away foxes which were always trying to get at our ducks. I used to bring some green leaves to feed the livestock, including some from our sycamore tree. My father also used to trade watermelon and we would store those watermelons under the tree.

It was when we heard the news of Deir Yassin that villagers began to flee. On the day the militants came to throw us out, I remember my cousin and I were washing potatoes.

Two months after we fled, my father was killed. By then we were living in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza. He had bought two cows and was about to go and buy some straw and fodder for the cows. But at that time, Israeli military jeeps were on patrol and the soldiers began shooting. He was shot four times.

Even if they offered me hundreds of millions of dollars, I will not concede my right of return to my home in Palestine. What would I do with this money?

Reportage by Rami Almeghari and photo by Mohammed Asad

Ismail Hussein Abu Shehadeh, 92, originally from and currently living in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv.

Jaffa now is nothing. Before, the city was beautiful. It was called the “bride of the Middle East.” We exported oranges to the entire world. People came from all over to work here.

My father was a soldier with the Ottomans. He left in 1914 to fight in World War I. He came back by foot. That’s probably why he decided to stay when the Zionists attacked Jaffa. He did not want to flee again, and he prevented us from doing so. “Either you die here, or you flee and will feel the humiliation all your life,” he told us. He was begging people not to leave. Just 35 families stayed after the surrender, barely 2,000 inhabitants out of the 120,000 who were here.

In 1948, the attacks were brutal. The head of the city, Dr. Youssef Aked, gathered us to say that Jaffa was going to be under siege and that people had to choose between leaving and staying. Someone asked the doctor what he would do, and he said he would flee with his family. After that, many did, also because there was so much talk about what happened to Deir Yassin.

Only a few people in authority stayed. There was another meeting where it was decided to surrender on condition that there would be no destruction or looting. Representatives went to Tel Aviv with a white flag. The Zionists came with in a microphone and declared that Jaffa was now under Zionist authority. Then they entered and got greedy. They stole properties. We hid in the orchards for one month. Then people were put in the Ajami neighborhood, behind an electric fence. Some people died from starvation. But we managed to stay outside the fence.

Half of Jaffa was demolished despite the Zionist promises. Abu Laban, the one who negotiated the surrender, went to complain but he was beaten up. They broke his ribs and he was sent back on a donkey. Then they started to target people. One person, who refused to leave the orchards, was killed.

After 1948, I married and I started to work in the Tiberias region for about six years. I was employed by Israelis to fix motors or get the water for new Jewish communities. I was the only Palestinian there. We kept our relations professional. My wife and newly born children were struggling for food, and for a period, I was only going back to Jaffa once a month.

My job ended when the electricity came. I worked in a factory in Jaffa, fixing motors, but in 1956, some Jewish workers assaulted me because of the Israeli defeat in Suez so I quit. I later had a mechanics shop in the harbor, and tried to be a fisherman but without success. In 1982, the Israeli state started to ask for taxes and more papers. I had to sell everything. Finally I opened a grocery shop but I eventually had to stop for health reasons.

Reportage and photo by Anne Paq

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in Gaza.

Mohammed Asad is a photojournalist based in Gaza.

Anne Paq is a French freelance photographer and member of the photography collective ActiveStills.

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 22, 2018, 7:01 am
Things have continued, to this day, sadly!

Born in Deir Yassin (TRAILER) 3:02

Born in Deir Yassin, Neta Shoshani, Israel, 2016

One of the most important documentaries shown at the November 2017 edition of The Other Israel Film Festival held by the Manhattan JCC [Jewish Community Center] was Born in Deir Yassin by Neta Shoshani. She introduces her production with text stating the essentials:

April 1948: The Jewish state and army are soon to be established in Palestine. The underground paramilitary organizations – the liberal “Haganah” and the radical “Irgun” and “Lahi” are still in conflict over the identity of the new nation. “Irgun” and “Lahi” attack and conquer the Arab village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem. Rumors of a massacre spread, causing a mass exodus of Arabs from all over the country. What happened in Deir Yassin is controversial to this day. Since 1951, on the streets of Deir Yassin, stands the “Kfar Shaul” government Mental Health Hospital.

Neta Shoshani’s documentary elucidates the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin with archival material and numerous interviews with surviving senior members of the paramilitary organizations who participated or witnessed the killing. Jewish authorities, including Haganah, the Chief Rabbinate, and David Ben-Gurion, had condemned the attack. The careful reconstruction of the event is accompanied by a parallel narration, the story of a Hanna Nissan who spent her life in the Yassin mental hospital built in 1951 on the ruins of Yassin. Her adult son Dror, who was born and raised in the hospital, and an East Jerusalem orphanage, visits Yassin and the hospital. He is filmed quoting from a copy of his mother’s file given to him by the hospital. It contained her medical records, letters and correspondence. None of the Jewish participants of the massacre disputed that it took place though accounts differed in detail such as the number of civilians from the village who were killed, the survivors, the motivation for the attack, and presence of armed Arab men among the villagers. Lehi member Moshe Edelstein was horrified by the images of blown up women and children. According to Ami Isseroff, members of a Jerusalem youth group were ordered to bury remaining corpses because Irgun and Lahi members refused to complete the cleanup. They were 17 years old and not prepared for the massacre. Yehoshua Zettler, Lehi Commander of Jerusalem, acknowledged that he ordered the destruction of Deir Yassin. Uri Yankovski from the Haganah who took photos admitted that “they did a dirty job” but emphasized that “from a practical point of view Deir Yassin helped to reach our objectives”. The commander of the Irgun group, Ben Zion Cohen expressed pride in his role at Yassin “If there would have been more Deir Yassins not one Arab would be left in the land of Israel”. The paramilitary combatants carrying out the attack apparently had no military training or information about Deir Yassin. Ben Zion Cohen reports initiating the attack after he was shot in the leg by a sniper. Combatants were ordered by Cohen to destroy everything, to blow up the houses one by one with the 28 bombs they had and throw grenades into the houses knowing that there were children and women inside.

Dror’s mother pleads in a voice over with texts taken from her clinical files, that her son should not visit Yassin since it is an evil place and states that she named him Dror meaning freedom. She was diagnosed with signs of psychosis but no awareness of the illness. When the hospital staff advised her to have an abortion she refused, believing that having a child would balance her life. After her young son was taken from her, she escaped from the hospital and was found wandering the street medicated. Placed in a closed ward she was diagnosed as suffering from psychosis and amnesia. A 1967 report about Dror notes the rich fantasy life of the six year old child, his requests to see his mother, and suggests that he be given up for adoption. After some time in an East Jerusalem orphanage he became a member of a kibbutz and began exchanging letters with his mother. Grown up he succeeded in visiting her at the Kfar Shaud mental hospital. By that time his mother’s latest diagnosis stated that...” patient has paranoid hallucinations hearing voices warning her of murder…she is kept in isolation [and] attempts to heal her failed”.

As ordered by Cohen, the Irgun went from house to house leaving no survivor behind though a girl about 6 years old was found alive by Uri Yankowski. Political leaders ordered that the massacre be covered up but also requested photos be taken. Meir Pa’il from the Haganah information service standing next to the photographer observed men, women and children lined up against a wall and shot. There was pressure to act because UN representatives were expected to show up. Meir did not see photos or ask questions assuming Zionists did not want them to be seen “If Jews commit a massacre it is an atrocity” Uri Yankovski never saw the pictures he took either but recalled clearly what he observed. Yehoshua Zettler reported that some survivors were trucked to Jerusalem. Those refusing to be moved were told that they would be shot. It took two days to clean the site and get rid of the bodies. 30 half burnt corpses were stored in one room, a pile of burnt corpses was found at the entrance of the village. The cleanup crew included 17-year-old boys from the Haganah youth battalion. Sara Ben-Or from the youth group identified her post traumatic stress disorder as the consequence of being exposed as a young woman to the killed villagers and her discovery of a beheaded woman sitting on a chair. Most of the more than 100 victims were women, children and old men. When queried by Shoshani about the impact of their action which turned Arabs into refugees and the Israelis into occupiers, her respondents indicated that they were not aware of it but stressed that they failed to explain what happened.

Her attempt to view the photos from the massacre failed because IDF argued that “[it] cannot release photos because it may be detrimental to foreign relations”. There is no remedy apart from a Supreme Court appeal. When she again gets in touch with some former members of the para-military organizations involved in the Deir Yassin massacre who she had interviewed for the documentary they refuse to confirm their statements. All had received calls ordering them to be silent. This order was bizarre because their on the record statements were an important part of the documentary and there were apparently no attempts to prevent their use in the documentary. As her last remedy Shoshani filed a request with the Supreme Court to open the files. Her demand to release classified documents and photos of the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin was denied in 2016 by three judges from Israel’s Supreme Court invoking the following reason:

The problems entailed is Israel’s foreign relations related to the events of 1948 have not been solved and the conflict has not ended yet. Therefore, we are convinced that publishing the documentation and photographs is liable to harm Israel’s foreign relations. We are particularly worried about the harsh visual effect. This effect is present in certain photos in the archive. Therefore, we find no grounds to intervene at this time.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Society & Culture

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.