A Nakba 2020 resolution to make sure we do not go back to old ways of organizing which would squander the gains made in this moment of global upheaval.
By Nada Elia | Mondoweiss | May 14, 2020
…just as many are saying there should be no return to ‘the way we were’ before the novel coronavirus, so I believe our activism should propel us in an alternate direction, not necessarily ‘novel,’ but renewed, and more radical.
In May of every year, as Palestinians and our allies commemorate the Nakba, I tend to look forward, not back. I make “Nakba resolutions,” like others make New Year’s resolutions, and my Nakba resolutions generally revolve around specific ways of being a better activist and organizer for justice. This Nakba Day 2020, a full 72 years since the catastrophe began, coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic. And just as many are saying there should be no return to “the way we were” before the novel coronavirus, so I believe our activism should propel us in an alternate direction, not necessarily “novel,” but renewed, and more radical.
The signs of the shift are there, all around us. As mutual aid groups were sprouting in various communities around the world, I was particularly interested in watching the revival, in the West Bank, of the kind of organizing and leadership that first prevailed during the First Intifada, when Palestinians formed popular committees to address the special circumstances of that moment. Suha Arraf writes that, when the first cases of the virus were detected in Bethlehem, in March of this year,
“Bethlehem’s residents organized en masse in a manner reminiscent of the popular committees that operated during the First Intifada. An emergency committee was formed in the city with over 3,000 volunteers — youth scouts, psychologists, doctors, academics, social and political activists, and other concerned residents. Palestinian women also returned to the center stage of public life, as they had during the First Intifada.”