USPCN commemorates Nakba Day with Rasmea Odeh webinar and Palestinian car caravan
Chicago, IL – The U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) commemorated the Nakba, “Catastrophe” in English, which marks the ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Palestinians, and the massacre of thousands more, by Zionist militia groups in 1948, in the wake of the establishment of the settler colonial state of Israel. Palestinians and their supporters all around the world remember the Nakba every year on or around May 15.
On May 14, USPCN-New York member Suzanne Adely moderated a webinar with George Khoury, a Nakba survivor and longtime Detroit-based organizer, and Rasmea Odeh, the famous former Palestinian political prisoner who, after a politically-charged prosecution that was an attack on her organizing and the Palestine national movement as a whole, was deported from the U.S. in 2017.
After George Khoury told his powerful Nakba story, Rasmea Odeh provided a historical analysis and talked about Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Both emphasized the need to continue organizing for justice and liberation, especially in the U.S., which provides Israel over $5 billion of military and other aid per year. The U.S. under Trump has taken even more extreme steps to support the racist state, like moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, accepting Israel’s declaration of full sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is stolen Syrian land, and proposing the “Deal of the Century,” a sham peace plan that ignores all Palestinian rights.
“The Nakba taught me that whatever is taken by force, it must be taken back by force, and thus we need to organize and tell our people: Your history was denied, your future was denied. The only way to get liberation is to organize,” stated Khoury at the end of his speech.
Odeh added to Khoury’s statement: “We will accept nothing less than our right of return, and to create a democratic state on our land.”
The next day, USPCNs Chicago chapter organized a Palestinian Car Caravan, in which 75 cars and over 100 community members and allies participated.
The caravan started in Chicago’s southwest suburbs, home to one of the largest communities of Palestinians and Arabs in the U.S., and drove to the Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago, where U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth have offices.
Simultaneously, USPCN organized a Twitter storm, asking supporters to call their Representatives in the U.S. Congress and demand that they support the No Way to Treat a Child bill (HR 2407), which calls for Israel to stop the detention of children, and take action to end the blockade on Gaza now.
One Palestinian from Chicagoland, who is a descendant of refugees barred from returning to their homes that were stolen in 1948, declared, “The Right of Return to our homes is a must! We will never forget. We will keep on organizing and fighting until we are able to return home.”