Al Nakba at 67: Generations of Catastrophes

Elie Chalala

I rarely passed on an Al Nakba remembrance, an event which was pivotal in forming my political and moral consciousness during my early days in Beirut and in my academic diaspora. Nowadays, I reserve my aggravation for those intellectual cowards who saw nothing in Al Nakba except a shelter to hide from their shameful silence on one of the most horrific “Nakbas” in modern Arab history. As May 15th approaches, I note a breath of relief among the mumaneen, who suddenly awoke from their lethargic sleep and unleashed their activism through tours of duty on Facebook, Twitter, new and old media, or any medium susceptible to their vanities. They lecture us on not forgetting the direction of the most important issue in the current conflicts (they call it al bousala or compass), the Palestine conflict. The fact that other Syrian and Iraqi Nakbas have overshadowed Palestine’s demonstrates the fingerprints of almumannah’s masters, the Syrian and Iraqi dictators. And since these two masters show such talent in raising their fingers, they should point them in the direction of Damascus and Tehran. Author Hussam Itani offers a telling commentary that places Palestine’s Nakba in a quantified context:

"Those who died in Syria and Iraq in the past four years exceed the number of all the Palestinian people during the Catastrophe of 1948. The number of the Palestinians killed by Arab armies and militias is greater than the number killed by Israel."

In my many remembrances, one stays with me to the point where I cannot help recalling it. Writing about the “Generations of Catastrophes” on the fiftieth anniversary of Al Nakba, I noted the many other catastrophes the Arab world has suffered since 1948 which directly relate to that catastrophe or arose from its ashes. Check the link below to discover what Arab intellectuals like Sadallah Wannous and Adonis said about what the Al Nakba meant to them:

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