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Twitter users keep memory of the Nakba alive

May 16, 2016 at 1:13 pm

The 15 May is the anniversary of the Nakba, the forced dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their homeland by the nascent State of Israel.  While 68 years have passed since the Nakba (the word is the Arabic for “Catastrophe”), its memory is kept alive by the Palestinians who were exiled from their homeland and their descendants, as well as by other Arabs.

On Twitter, the topic was trending heavily among Arab and international social media users who marked the occasion with sadness, reflection and defiance, but also hope for the future. A range of English and Arabic language hashtags was used to mark the occasion including #Nakba, #Nakba68, #NakbaDay, #Palestine_unites_us and #We_are_going_back.

Gaza-based Twitter user Muhammad Smiry wrote:

“My father and grandfather have died,

But I have not forgotten the landmarks of my village,

The keys to my house are still in my hand,

I still hold on to the memory of my land


Adison summed up what the Nakba means to Palestinians:


Pain and hope passed on from generation to generation,

We are alive and we remain so long as the dream [of return] continues,

We will return to our homeland.”

Referring to the 2013 discovery of a mass grave containing the bodies of Palestinians killed during the Nakba, Ahmad Sabri reminded his followers of the violence and killing which accompanied the Nakba:

“Yes, Tel Aviv and the entire state of Israel, was both literally & metaphorically built on the skeletons of the Palestinian people. #Nakba”

Palestinian journalist Yasser Zaatreh wrote:

“The policy of committing massacres had the aim of forcing all the Palestinians to leave their land. Those who remained in the territory occupied [by Israel] in 1948 were considered to have remained in error. They only remained [in the view of Israel] because of the circumstances imposed by war,”

Taking up this theme, a blogger going by the name of Nasser tweeted photos from the Nakba, some purportedly show Israeli forces massacring 230 Palestinians after their capture of the village of Tantoura in the district of Haifa.

On the other hand, Amr Darrag, an Egyptian politician who served as the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation under deposed President Mohamed Morsi, took an optimistic view of the future on the anniversary of the Nakba.

“As the #Nakba was the beginning of a tragedy which lasted decades, the Palestinian cause will be the spark that gives life back to the Arab nation.”

In Jordan, the hashtag #Palestine_unites_us was trending. Mohannad Sharqawi wrote:

“#Palestine_unites_us… As Jordanians, Palestine will always be our first cause. There’s no argument about this.”

Taking a somewhat different view from other Twitter users, Jordanian journalist Ahmed Hassan Al-Zoubi lamented the lack of practical action being undertaken to ensure the right of return.

“We are part of the Nakba, we hold our keys up to the sky but we don’t think about how to open the locks on the ground. Palestine is very near… we are the ones who have turned our backs on it. #Palestine_unites_us.”

In reply to a tweet displaying statistics on how many Palestinians lost their homes in the Nakba, Raneem tweeted:

“As there was a day for catastrophe, misery and exile, there will be a day for victory, joy and return, God willing #We_are_returning #Palestine #right_of_return.”

The fact that the Nakba was trending on Twitter was not pleasing everyone. Pro-Israeli journalist Jack Mendel tweeted:

“I see #Nakba68 is trending. What a warped world we live in, where Jewish self-determination is seen as a catastrophe”