By: Nadia Abuelezam
We commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (the Catastrophe) on May 15th. That's 70 years of Israeli occupation. 70 years of Palestinians being second class (and sometimes third class) citizens. 70 years of Palestinians being displaced from their homes, land, and farms. 70 years of humiliation. 70 years of resistance.
And what's our contribution to this commemoration? TWO new episodes featuring dynamic women with stories of resilience, love, and persistence. It's not much - especially considering the 70 years of occupation that Palestinians in Palestine have endured, but it's our small way of pointing our attention to something that all Palestinians think about on a daily basis - exile, occupation, and displacement.
When thinking about the past 70 years, one of the first things that comes to mind is the number of generations that have been impacted by the Nakba. Those that were children during the first, second, or current Intifadas are forever impacted by the conflict. In our first episode for this month, Nijmeh discusses her experience as a young child and teenager in occupied Palestine. She discusses the difficulties associated with taking her high school exit exams (tawjihi) and her desire to leave Palestine to pursue her medical studies. She also discusses the long term mental health consequences of growing up in a war zone.
Now, as Nijmeh thinks about raising her two daughters in the United States, she's faced with questions about how to introduce them to information on Palestine, on the occupation, and how to ensure they know about that part of their identity. This episode is filled difficult and complex memories that Nijmeh tries to untangle for us.
Another thing that comes to mind when thinking about the last 70 years of occupation is the amazing amount of music and cultural resistance that has come from young people in and outside of Palestine. This episode features music from Huda Asfour's upcoming album Kouni. This album, to be released on May 18th, is a testament to Huda's multi-faceted musical influences, identity, and life experiences. While we only share parts of her track "Under the Jasmine" we also plan to feature another track on our next episode (to be released on Mother's Day). Huda is a force to be reckoned with as a Palestinian woman musician and engineer. Her passion for Palestine and music is evident in her album. We got a sneak peak, and we couldn't be more thrilled to feature some of her music on the podcast this month. We're so proud of her work and we're thrilled to support Palestinian artists and musicians.
So what will the next 70 years bring? Only time will tell. What we do know is that we will continue to tell our stories. We will continue to produce music and art that represents our rich history and culture. We will continue to educate young Palestinians about their history and their heritage. We will continue to resist by existing. May we always remember and may we always resist.