Nakba: Then and Now – Day-School Conference at London’s Mander Hall – Saturday 14th May 2016
On Saturday 14th May hundreds of supporters of Palestine came together to learn about and discuss the Nakba – the dispossession and displacement of Palestinians from 1948 to today. The PSC event marked the 68th anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe). The conference heard from many Palestinian speakers who discussed the meaning of the Nakba both historically and in terms of its ongoing impact today. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) supported the event, which took place at its headquarters in London.
Former NUT President, Philipa Harvey, introduced the conference speaking about the importance sharing testimonies from Palestinian children and educations resources the NUT has put together. Sara Apps, PSC’s Interim Director, chaired the first session in which Nur Masalha talked us through the centrality of the Nakba to the Palestinian struggle, and the attempts by Israel to suppress the historical facts of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Mander Hall was packed as attendees listened intently to Prof. Masalha who reminded us that history is made, and we need to be the ones that make it.
Attendees were able to attend two workshops sessions throughout the day. Sessions were on the subjects of Education, Media, Refugees and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. These interactive sessions gave participants the chance to have in-depth discussions about how to take the campaign for Palestinians rights forward. In the afternoon a panel was chaired by Dr. Aimee Shalan, during which three panellists – Awad Abdel Fattah, Ahmed Masoud and Salma Karmi-Ayyoub – discussed the Nakba and the differing political situations faced by Palestinians, including in the besieged Gaza Strip and inside the Green Line, within Israel.
The conference was one of over 60 events that took place in more than 30 towns and cities around the UK, marking the Nakba, part of the PSC’s Nakba Week of Action.