On May 13th, 2023, thousands of people marched through London to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, a catastrophic event that saw the mass forced expulsion of Palestinians by Zionist militias to make way for the creation of Israel in 1948. The demonstration, titled “Nakba 75 – End Apartheid, End the Occupation,” was organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), and the Muslim Association of Britain. It gathered in the heart of London outside the BBC headquarters before participants made their way to Downing Street, where the office of the British prime minister is located.
A Continuing Process of Oppression
“We mark the Nakba not just as a historical event but as a continuing process of oppression enacted over the past 75 years through ongoing colonisation of land, enforcement of apartheid and military occupation,” said the PSC on its website. The march was attended by the former leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a lifelong campaigner against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “Today we marched through London to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba and speak out against the ongoing dispossession of the Palestinian people. End the occupation. Free Palestine,” said Corbyn in a message on Twitter.
Living with the Effect
“The Nakba was not just a singular event, today we are still living the effect of the Nakba,” Leanne Mohammed, a British Palestinian activist attending the rally, told Middle East Eye. “Seventy-five years ago my family was expelled from their home in Haifa, Palestine, by Zionist militias. They ended up as refugees in Lebanon. Three-quarters of a century later they are still living in that same refugee camp,” she said. Many of those joining the rally were young Palestinians who spoke of the need to continue to remember the Nakba. “They say ‘the old will die, the young will forget,’ and for my generation of Palestinians we have proven that no one has forgotten and, if anything, our existence is our resistance,” one demonstrator told MEE.
Significance of the Nakba
Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist forces seized more than 78 percent of historic Palestine and expelled at least 750,000 Palestinians from their lands and homes. More than 80 percent of the Palestinian population was expelled from their homeland in 1948 after Zionist forces killed at least 13,000 people and destroyed over 500 villages and towns. Nineteen years later, Israel occupied the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestinian land not captured in 1948, which remains under Israeli military rule in what is known as the longest occupation in modern history.
The Nakba remains a critical event in Palestinian history, marking a defining moment in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. It represents a period of deep trauma and dispossession for the Palestinian people, with the reverberations of the Nakba felt to this day. The march in London serves as a reminder that the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice continues, and that the world must not forget the events of 1948 and their ongoing impact.
The Nakba remains a powerful symbol of the ongoing struggle for Palestinian rights, justice, and freedom. The march in London represents a call to action for all those who believe in the universal principles of human dignity and equality, and a reminder that the Palestinian people continue to face immense challenges in their pursuit of justice. As they mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, they must redouble their efforts to ensure that the voices of the Palestinian people are heard and that their rights are respected and protected.