On Sunday, 17 May, Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition organized an online rally and discussion forum marking 72 years of Nakba and continued resistance. One of many events taking place during the Week of Palestinian Struggle, the event included speakers and activists from a number of organizations working for the liberation of Palestine in an inspiring rally as well as a detailed discussion forum probing the history of the Palestinian Nakba and the struggle for the right to return to Palestine.
Mohammed Khatib, Europe coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, spoke as part of the rally. The full text of his speech is presented below, as is this video excerpt (subtitled in French by Collectif Palestine Vaincra):
The full event program included rally interventions by speaker and comedian Amer Zahr, cartoonist Carlos Latuff, Hatem Mohtaseb of the Palestinian Youth Movement, Nerdeen Kiswani of Within Our Lifetime – United for Palestine, Kameron Hurt of ANSWER, Taher Herzallah of American Muslims for Palestine, and Lamis Deek, representing Al-Awda.
The discussion forum included presentations by Palestinian scholars and activists, Rabab Abdulhadi, Hatem Bazian, Diana Buttu and Ahlam Muhtaseb, with wide-ranging discussions of the Nakba, colonialism and Zionism in Palestine, the current situation inside Palestine and the struggles and steadfastness of Palestinian refugees in the camps in Lebanon.
Watch the full video of the event here:
Full text of Mohammed Khatib’s speech:
My Name is Mohammed Khatib, I am originally from Al Malaha, north of Palestine in the region of occupied Safad,
I was born and raised in Ain el Helweh camp in Lebanon, the Camp of Martyrs , the camp of Naji Al Ali and the symbol of resistance and steadfastness
Being born in a refugee camp, knowing that our people were uprooted from their lands and homes, knowing all of Palestine from within one kilometer square. Looking at our people who live the second time of displacement, who are under tends today in Greek Islands ( I have met Carlos in Skaramngas refugees camp in Athens and we saw under what conditions they live) . To our people under the siege In Gaza and behind the wall in the West Bank, and in Al Quds, to our people in occupied Palestine 48. For all of us, liberation and freedom, and Palestine, is not a political issue, it’s a matter of life and death, it’s a matter of existence. It is a personal and collective struggle.
On the 72nd year of of Nakba, and more than 100th year of struggle, we need today to free ourselves, our voice, and work collectively and in unity to rebuild our national liberation movement, and restart our revolution until liberation and return.
Our youth should play their role to free our movement from the defeated and sellout leadership who brought the Oslo accord. For me, our struggle is for liberation and not for a state for the benefit of Palestinian bourgeoisie and multinational companies.
To our community in the United States, in Europe, as we are living in the belly of the beast, fighting racism and oppression. To our people in the refugee camps living in the front line of poverty and discrimination, racism and isolation, deprived from their basic human rights. From Lebanon to Syria and Jordan and under all Arab regimes, we will fight back.
I have a message to Trump and his Administration, If you think that by cutting aid to the PA and UNWRA you are pushing our people to give up and surrender, then you are not just wrong, but ignorant and stupid.
Today, US ambassador David Freedman lives in a colony on stolen land in Palestine. His daughter serves in the Zionist occupation Army. So for us, we see no difference between Israel and the US, Canada, Australia etc, a gory and dirty white settler colonial project.
We say no to US conditions. Our people will fight back by all means and not surrender, and we will continue our march until liberation and freedom .
Salute to the Black liberation movement, and to the indigenous movement, We call for Freedom for all political prisoners, For Mumia Abu Jamal, the Holy Land Five brothers held in maximum security prisons.
We salute all people of color and oppressed communities fighting racism, imperialism and colonialism.
Salute to our resistance, to our freedom fighters, In Gaza and Jerusalem and West Bank and 48. Down with the Oslo accord and surrender deals. Free Palestine from the river to the sea!