When There’s No Clear Reason

“Nakba” (Arabic for catastrophe) refers to the events in 1948, when two-thirds of the Palestinian population were forcibly displaced from their land. Over sixty years on, Palestinian refugees are the world’s largest refugee population. To date, the international community has failed to address or secure their rights, including their inalienable human right to return to their homes. May 15th is the day in which Israeli’s celebrate the establishment of the so-called “State of Israel” while Palestinians revolt and uprise against the Israeli celebrations and establish events that aim to commemorate Nakba and become even more determined on the right to return.

Palestinians have been suffering around the hour for sixty-three years, as the Israelis enjoy oppressing the true and only owners of the land in all ways by all means possible while the international community watches with hands folded. The so-called “State of Israel” has rules that prohibit any kind of activity commemorating Nakba, and he who crosses the line is held responsible and charged probably for “crimes” he never heard of.

A group of five activists, including me, decided to establish events in 5 different cities commemorating Nakba with tens of volunteers who participated and helped us arranging and organizing for the event. This event is supposed to be held in Gaza, Ramallah, Nablus, Haifa, and Amman. I was the Gaza coordinator and a group of youth volunteered to help me with the event in Gaza.

The event in Gaza started on May 10th as the opening was with an exhibition for Naji Al-Ali’s artwork including fifty of the best. Later in the evening we screened the movie “This is My Picture When I Was Dead” starting Bashir Mraish. The audience was great. More than 450 attended both the exhibition and the screening.

Everybody was anticipating the second day, which is holding multiple events. We kicked off the day with a Dabka show by Turathona for folklore followed by a poetic conference via Skype with poet Najwan Darwish from Jerusalem. Then the time for the part of the event that the majority was anticipating by DARJ team, one of the best rappers in Gaza. We were surprised by the existence of Hamas Security Forces (HSF) on the gate of Gallery Al-Ittihad in which the whole event was held, telling the owner, Jamal Abu Alqumsan, to stop the event immediately claiming that we don’t have permission. Jamal came to us telling us that DARJ can’t kick off so we played a documentary “Our Nakba Will Be Our Return”.

HSF didn’t give us time for anything; they intruded the place and ordered us to stop immediately. They shut down the whole event for no clear reason. They movie didn’t pass its 7th minute and we had more events for the night but nothing was done. We couldn’t do anything because then shut down the sound system, the LCD projector and told us that if we don’t stop screening the movie, they will destroy the laptop. We had to stop to prevent any violence. HSF captured Jamal, the owner, and Basel Al-Qishawi, the manager of it. They were taking for interrogations and investigations. They both were victims to physical torture and they were warned not to host any kind of activities.

A few hours ago I met with the manager, Basil, and asked him about what happened to him during the time he was under arrest. His face was full of marks resulted from the slaps and punches he had on his face. He smiled and said: “it’s alright, don’t worry.”

My sources informed me that the reason behind shutting down the event was because there was a conference held at the same place by March 15 movement (and finished right before we kicked off the 2nd day of the event commemorating Nakba which was an hour late already). During that conference, someone mentioned Haniyyah and said that he must apologize for the people in Gaza. A friend denied that and said “It was Abbas who was mentioned, not Haniyyah”

Other sources reported that someone from a different youth group-who apparently holds hatred and grudge towards the youth group I was working with-attended the first day of the event and didn’t like how much success we’ve achieved so far, so he went to the police and told them that we’re actually from the March 15 movement and that there are perverted people located there, and the police came to the place racing time.

Last but not least, I don’t hold anything for anybody as long as there’s nothing approved. But whoever responsible for this, will have to deal with the consequences. Read it as a warning or just as text, this has become a personal matter. A month worth of hard working and sleepless nights trying to come up with a commemorating event that everybody would talk about. A month worth of hard working and sleepless nights has gone with the wind because of a false report, or some silly reason.

Don’t put personal matters first because if you do, you’ll be selfish. And if you are, allow me to tell you that you don’t belong here and you don’t deserve to be alive.

Nader K.

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About Nader Elkhuzundar

Nader Elkhuzundar is a commentator on Palestinian affairs and Co-founder of Beyond Compromise (www.beyondcompromise.com). Elkhuzundar occasionally freelances for The Guardian, International Business Times, and others. He's a social media enthusiast and tech savvy with particular interest in new technologies and analytics, and enjoys reading over Arabic coffee and dark chocolate.
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14 Responses to When There’s No Clear Reason

  1. Palanafree says:

    That what happened to us, all people can be a witnesses of that horrible actions by Internal police, but remember bro. the event was AWESOME like you, like us & like the youth group who work with us.
    remember that we gifted something great and special for Palestine, all Palestine .. just remember that.

    and remember that the event was the 1st of its kind, no one did like that before and till this moment ..

    good luck man .. hope to do something better next time .. and NO one can stop us 😉

    2jmal ta7ya ya basha 🙂

  2. Palinoia says:

    I can only imagine :S

    Sorry for what happened, Nader! 🙁 some people are just IDIOTS

  3. It’s a damn shame what happened by HSF, their intrusion on the event was noticed from the first day where they came to check who is attending the event. Hamas oppression on youth of Gaza must come into an end. First they started by closing SHAREK youth forum, then they brutally attacked the youth who went out in the street calling for an end for the Division. Youth of Gaza are more aware than they were in the past, they are just too damn stupid to recognize that. We hope that the reconciliation will open more spaces for youth to express themselves more freely and without restrictions beyond any offensive charges that Hamas will accuse them of.

    I was very proud of you and all the people who helped organizing this events as i consider it a most appreciated youth initiative to commemorate THE NAKBA.

    Inshallah your efforts won’t go in vain, and you’ll find that what happened will encourage you even more to stick up to your ideals and continue your contributions.

    With love,
    Peace Bro,
    Mohammed

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  5. Assalaam ‘ Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala reward you and the shabab – i am so proud of- for all your efforts for the commemoration of the Nakba and guide those who try to stop peaceful, non-violent events like these, organized to mourn, remember the shuhada of the ongoing Nakba, to give and do right to express all those still undergoing it as well. Ameen.

    I have seen your and others’ “sleepless” and endless efforts for this event, organised for your people, brothers and sisters and your concern about them for all those inflicted by the Nakba.

    Why some need to suppress events like these is unclear to me but there seems no just reason to do so hence there will never be one for preventing people to commemorate is answering to the shahawaat of the ones who caused the Nakba and likewise oppression in the first place.

    The brutal treatment of the people of Palestine (or every place where people are living under likewise oppression) is something that should concern every Muslim (and Non-Muslim!) around the world.

    So it hurts, to see the division even when regarding memorials. So sad. Anyone who thinks it is necessary to intervene in that has forgotten a very important teaching of Islam for in a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (saw):

    “The example of the Believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy is like one body. If one limb is afflicted the whole body responds to it with restlessness and fever.”
    [Bukhari & Muslim]

    In stead of muting the voices of those -being restless and in fever- for the cause of people’s welfare, infliction or suffering, the whole world should be united in this restlessness and shout out loud against this atrocities until the atrocities are stopped. And not the commemorations.

    Allahu A3lem.

    May He who has knowledge of the Seen and the Unseen reward you and anyone else organizing this nice event for the efforts and give all of you shabab the power to go on, increase your blessings for dunya and ‘Akheera for striving for the sake of your ummah. It is a great sunnah and may your rewards be likewise. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil ‘Alameen.

    I’m proud of you shabab. Never give up.
    Wa Salaam ‘ Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

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  7. dear
    u & your friends do the best
    we r proud of you
    i don’t believe there reasons for closing the event , but it’s a silly act
    (F)

  8. 48Refugee says:

    I know how you feel, I live in the US and we tried to have a major event on our campus last year and were shut down too, but that experience helped us grow as an organization. Know that you are doing noble work and that anyone one who stops you simply fears you and that’s when you know that your message is being delivered. Keep up the incredible work and remember that we are all working together for the same goal! Even if your event didn’t go through, you inspired the rest of us to host similar events and thus have still found success! Allah ywafi2kum!

    • Nader K. says:

      Exactly! That was what crossed my mind and what I thought of. Shutting down my event means one thing and one thing only. It was a huge success and they feared us big time!

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