What does al-Nakba mean?

May 15th, a little less than two weeks ago, was the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. The word Nakba is Arabic for disaster or catastrophe. Usually this event gets a mention in US and global media since it is also the date for Israeli independence according to the Gregorian calendar. Every year many US news outlets explain catastrophe as referring to the creation of the state of Israel. This explanation is simply incorrect (or incomplete at best).

The catastrophe actually refers to the Palestinian exodus of 1948; the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages. These events resulted in a massive number of Palestinian refugees who were either driven out of their homes or fled in fear for their lives. My grandparents happened to be of the first category, and their ancestral village near Haifa was destroyed by the Zionist forces (that later became the IDF).

That is why, most Palestinian Nakba memorial posters are just pictures of refugees and their tents. A simple Google image search shows the same.

Yes, it was a catastrophe that on May 15th Palestinians lost their ancestral homelands and their state. However, it is also disastrous that many US media outlets do not mention Palestinian uprooting as the real catastrophe.

  1. The day of Freedom is near Inshallah.

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