Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela visits Orange County for Nakba 75 Tour
Santa Ana, CA – In commemoration of Nakba 75 – 75 years of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation and apartheid – the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression organized a U.S. Nakba Day 75 tour in six cities around the U.S.
On the fourth day of the tour, May 18, Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, grandson of the late Nelson Mandela, arrived in Southern California, where he was greeted by over 200 people who hailed from Arab, Chicano, Black and Native communities at Santa Ana High School in Orange County.
Mandela shared his thoughts and strategies on Palestinian liberation with an energized crowd, including allies Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, Centro CSO, CSO Orange County, Palestinian Youth Movement, and others that co-sponsored the event.
“Today South Africa is free, tomorrow it will be Palestine,'' Mandela said. “We will keep telling the stories of Palestinians who lost their lives, their homes, and their villages. We will tell the story of the Nakba – the catastrophe – that continues to this very day!”
People chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and brought a timely, renewed commitment to Palestine and deep solidarity among community members. Both before and after the main event, USPCN gathered organizers, activists and others to share a more intimate space for important political conversations with Mandela.
Kareem Youssef from the US Palestinian Community Network emceed the event and led opening chants. ”For those of us who are Palestinian and in solidarity, we don't just know it as a time of catastrophe but as a time as a year of resistance, coming together,” Youssef said.
Luis Sifuentes, member of Centro CSO and executive chair for the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) spoke about the connection between the Zionist occupation in Palestine and the police terror that happens in the U.S., stating, “It is known that the Israeli Defense Forces are training police departments all throughout the United States. The existence of Israel is negatively impacting us here at home because they are giving material support to our oppressors. All the teargas, rubber bullets and surveillance technology that the LAPD, LASD, and the Border Patrol are receiving are all coming from Israel. That's why as Chicanos and all oppressed people here we must demand a complete end to all U.S. financial, military, diplomatic, political, cultural and social aid to Israel’s racist apartheid regime.”
After the Farha Youth Dabkeh dance group performed, Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter-LA spoke about the solidarity between the Black lives matter movement and the Palestinian movement. “You can’t fight for freedom here in the United States and not fight for freedom in Palestine,'' she said “We are here as black people, as global black people, to say that our fight is your fight. And we are committed to fighting until we win.”