Creating new perspectives since 2009

Waves of solidarity sweep across Latin America on 75th Nakba anniversary

May 16, 2023 at 4:15 pm

Dozens of people attended a solidarity festival in Lima, the capital of Peru, on Nakba Day 2023 (Photo: Embassy of Palestine in Peru)

Solidarity activists across Latin America have marked the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba with talks, meetings, cultural activities, media interviews and social media campaigns. The Palestinian flag has been raised and people have chanted their support on the streets. Support for Palestine has been particularly strong in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Chile.

Palestinians and their supporters around the world mark Nakba Day every year. The day has come to symbolise the struggle of the Palestinian people for their legitimate rights to their own land, homes and property; indeed, their legitimate right to their homeland.

The Palestinian “Key of Return” was never an ordinary key. It speaks of the years of refugee status and suffering that Palestinians have endured. It is hugely symbolic, because more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed before and after Israel declared its independence on 14 May.

Dozens of flag-waving Palestinians participated in a mass rally in Santiago, the capital of Chile, to mark the anniversary. Some of the participants held keys as a symbol of their hope to return to their homes in Palestine. Chants of “Free, free Palestine” reverberated around the streets.

Shortly before this year’s Nakba Day, the Chilean-Palestinian parliamentary group in the Senate issued a declaration, which mentioned the “new offensive that the occupying state has unleashed in the territory of Gaza. In the midst of silence from the international community, we reiterate once again the need for the UN Security Council to implement the Resolution for International Protection for the Palestinian people; and adhere to the call for the International Commission of Inquiry underway at the UN Human Rights Council to investigate these new crimes and submit its conclusions to both the International Criminal Court and the UN Security Council.”

In Brazil, meanwhile, the President of the Freedom and Socialism Party, Juliano Medeiros, said: “Today, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to support the right of return and the tireless struggle of the Palestinian people. We are united in the quest for justice and equality. We are on the side of Palestine!”

Nakba Day activities in Brazil were held by many Palestinian and Brazilian organisations. Thousands of people took part in a demonstration of solidarity on Avenida Paulista, the most prominent street in Sao Paulo. The organisers invited the media to remind the world about the importance of this day and the importance of standing with the people of Palestine in occupied Jerusalem, Gaza and the rest of the occupied land.

Solidarity activists called on the Brazilian government to take a clear position that defines Israel as an apartheid state, and play a greater role in pressuring the international community to condemn the Israeli occupation and stop its ongoing massacres of the Palestinian people.

Dozens of people attended a solidarity festival in Lima, the capital of Peru, on Nakba Day 2023 (Photo: Embassy of Palestine in Peru)

Dozens of people attended a solidarity festival in Lima, the capital of Peru, on Nakba Day 2023 (Photo: Embassy of Palestine in Peru)

Nakba solidarity activities in Peru started earlier in Lima this year. The Palestinian Embassy in the capital revived a popular solidarity festival in partnership with the Lima Municipality, the municipality of San Borja, a district within the capital, and the Palestinian Arab Club.

More than four thousand solidarity activists took part in the festival, riding bicycles decorated with Palestinian flags and wearing Palestinian t-shirts. The festival was accompanied by an exhibition of Palestinian heritage introducing Palestinian handicrafts and embroidery. More than 4,000 booklets detailing the history of the Palestinian cause, Palestinian heritage and tourism in Palestine were distributed.

According to the Palestinian Embassy in Peru, a large number of political figures, senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ambassadors of Arab and Islamic countries, and other UN representative took part in the solidarity festival.

Nakba Day was commemorated differently in Venezuela, where the Bolivarian University of Venezuela held a special session to express solidarity and mark the catastrophe that displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Dr Jihad Youssef, Vice-President of the Palestinian Federation in Latin America and a member of the Palestinian National Council, spoke at the session. He presented some historical facts about the Zionist movement and the role of the colonial countries in the plight of the Palestinian people, and explained how the Palestinians were subjected to ethnic cleansing, killing, displacement, land confiscation and house demolitions.

Our people have not just studied what happened, they lived through it, and continue to experience its effects. That is why it is important to keep our grandparents’ memories alive. They have, after all, shaped our own memory of that fateful time.

Just as we are told that we must understand other major historical events so that humanity doesn’t allow history to repeat itself, we all need to know and understand what drove hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes and flee for their lives in occupied Palestine from 1948 onwards. Time stopped for them in 1948, and will never return. Their land, though, will be returned, one way or another. That was always the certainty in our grandparents’ hearts, and that certainty remains with us today.

READ: The Nakbas 75th anniversary challenges the world to defeat settler-colonialism in Palestine