Columbia to mark ‘catastrophe


Arab-American student groups at Columbia University are marking the 60th anniversary of what Arabs call “the catastrophe” – Israel’s founding.

The Arabs use the term Nakba in referring to Israel’s achieving independence in 1948. Among the events planned for this week’s Al-Nakba Week is the hanging of 2,000 posters each marked with the name of a Palestinian village destroyed that year.

Also, a faculty discussion titled “60 Years of Nakba: The Catastrophe of Palestine 1948-2008,” will feature controversial anthropology Professor Nadia Abu El-Haj and Professor Joseph Massad, who Jewish students have accused of harassment and intimidation.

The sponsoring organizations are the Arab Student Association, Filasteen and Turath.

“It is vital to inform our fellow students of the roots of today’s conflict, since it is the Nakba that has defined the history of the Palestinian and Israeli people until today,” said Saifedean Ammous of the Arab Student Association. “Further, Nakba awareness is important because the Nakba is not an
historic event but a continuing reality that persists every day, in every refugee camp, at every checkpoint, with every Palestinian home destroyed and land confiscated by Israel.”

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