Refugees: Forgotten but Not Erased

We are refugees, but we are not alone; 5,000,000 million of us are displaced, scattered and denied a rightful identity. This describes the largest refugee population in the world. May 15 commemorated this disaster known to us today as “the Nakba (the catastrophe).”

We could describe to you the gruelling history of the 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from their land in 1948.

We could cite statistics and the historical horrors of the systematic injustice that have befallen the Palestinians.

We can put things into perspective and tell you there are only two United Nations refugee agencies in the world—one to tackle the global refugee problem and one to solely tackle the Palestinian refugee crisis.

We could even cite Israeli historians acknowledging and justifying the massacres of Deir Yassin, and the purposeful mass expulsion of over 400 villages by threat of death and torture.

We ask the Concordia student population to meet these refugees themselves. We exist here among you, invisible to some: as students, professors, and individuals, forced to move across the world seeking justice through education, awareness and self-determination.

The Jewish people suffered one of the darkest chapters in history in the Holocaust. But in order to remedy an atrocity, the Zionist movement supported by world powers chose to commit another. The injustice was, that they were invited to be relocated to what they were falsely led to believe was “a land without a people, for a people without a land.” Palestine, the land in question, was already populated and was hardly empty.

We do not stand alone in our plight for justice and freedom, the Palestinian people have volumes of statutes, laws, and resolutions supported by hundreds of states. Our “right of return” is not a mere expression, it is a solidified law supported by the international community in an overwhelming majority.

Freedom from oppression trumps the need for economic assistance, it is our duty to hold oppressors accountable, it is our duty to ensure the memory of the Nakba lives on.

Our struggle IS NOT recent, it has spanned decades. Our struggle IS NOT only the siege of Gaza. Our struggle IS NOT only the ruthless illegal occupation of the West Bank.

Our struggle IS against those few who deny our right to exist as a people. If we are not a people, then what are we? Come meet us…