60yrs of Injustice : Palestine Lives 2008 Manchester

As Israel celebrates the 60th anniversary of the formation of its state- which heralded a new age of oppression, exile and apartheid on Palestinian inhabitants- the world must stop and consider the real impact of this Nakba (catastrophe) on Palestinian lives. There needs to be a condemnation of the inhumane and hypocritical denial of Palestinian rights; criticism of US/Western support for a regime which continues to violate widely-accepted international laws.

To do this, it is important to educate ordinary people against biased media coverage which simply ignores Palestinian suffering and creates misinformed and passive citizens.

As Edward Said once wrote:

“Gone from public memory are the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 and the creation of a dispossessed people; the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza and their military occupation in 1967; the invasion of 1982, with its 17,500 Lebanese and Palestinian dead and the Sabra and Shatila massacres; the continuous assault on Palestinian schools, refugee camps, hospitals, civil institutions of every kind”.[1]

Clearly this is an attempt by the Israeli state to destroy a people and its history, to crush a way of live and to wipe out a nation- in the hope that it would be able to build its own.

Yet these policies have not only failed to demolish Palestine and its resilient people but has also created a sense of disillusionment amongst Israel’s own citizens and 1948 veterans who feel that their moral, egalitarian vision of society have been betrayed.[2] Consequently on a sunny June weekend in Manchester, hundreds of people- of all religious and political beliefs, Palestinian and Israeli- gathered to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people and to celebrate the fact that after 60years of oppression and apartheid the Palestinians and their culture continues not only to live on, but to flourish.

Palestine Lives 2008- which took place over 6th/7th of June in Manchester’s Albert Square- celebrated the spirit of Palestinian culture, art, music, and history. The event included a lively parade around the city centre, music performers, traditional dabka dancers, stalls and exhibitions. There were also speeches from a wide array of organisations such as Manchester PSC, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition UK and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, amongst many others who gave personal accounts of their struggles against Israeli domination.

[1] Edwad Said, “The End Of The Peace Process: Oslo and After”, (Granta Publications: London), p. xv.

[2] See Haim Baram’s “Isreal’s secret fears” (pg28-30) and Martin Bright’s “The great betrayal: how the left and Isreal fell out of love” (pg34-36) in New Statesman: 19 May 2008.

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