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Nakba Day marked in Tampa

By Marisol Márquez

Nakba Day commemoration in Tampa, FL.

Tampa, FL – More than 120 people packed a room on the University of South Florida's campus, May 15, to attend a Nakba Day commemoration. Nakba Day marks the “Day of Catastrophe” – when the Zionists used terror to drive Palestinians out of Palestine and established the state of Israel in 1948.

“The oppressors – like the Israelis backed by the U.S. – are working together, so why should the oppressed not do the same?” said Rania Khalek one of the speakers during the Al Nakba event.

Khalek is a freelance reporter who writes for The Electronic Intifada – a news outlet that backs Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation. During her talk, Khalek described in detail the horrors experienced by Palestinians, saying it is illegal as a Palestinian to build bomb shelters to protect themselves against the Israeli bomb attacks. She also mentioned that that New York police officers are trained in Palestine by the Israeli Defense Forces.

Dezeray Lyn, the second speaker, spoke of her experiences with the International Women's Peace Service. Lyn stayed in Palestine for multiple weeks and told of the terror some of her Palestinian hosts experienced. One tactic the Israeli Defense Forces use is announcing to Palestinian families that their houses are set to be demolished on a certain day – but never showing up to complete the bulldozing. This creates fear because of the Israeli occupiers often do demolish Palestinian homes.

The Al Nakba event was hosted by the Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of South Florida. Some of the organizations who were present to support the event were Tampa Food Not Bombs, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Raices en Tampa. The event also drew many students and Muslims.

Dezeray Lyn finished her speech by sharing with the audience an empowering phrase commonly used by Palestinians, “Keep fighting and never give up.”

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