The year 1948 is marked as the year of the Nakba, or Catastrophe, in Palestinian and wider Arab popular memory discourses. The Nakba saw the conquest of Palestine and the establishment of the state of Israel through the expulsion of more than half of historic Palestine’s population, and the destruction of Palestinians’ cultural, social and political institutions in the conquered territories. Once a rallying cry for the pan-Arab liberation movements of the 1950s and 1960s, the Nakba has today been relegated to a secondary place in the Palestinian Authority’s state-building project, despite the Palestinians’ ongoing colonized and stateless reality. This workshop examined the new meanings and significations of the past/present Nakba for Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon and the ‘internal’ refugees within the state of Israel, as narrated through their memories of an unresolved past in an unresolved present. It raised questions around the absence of the Nakba from the literature on loss and trauma, the articulation of Nakba memories by internal refugee women as a form of resistance, and the Nakba itself as a site of competing and shifting significations and meanings.
An ICI Berlin Workshop in cooperation with the Zentrum Moderner Orient
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