Commemorating 50 Years of Dispossession
In commemoration of al-nakba, the watershed event in Palestinian history, numerous Palestinian and international NGOs have organized a variety of events worldwide, including film festivals, poetry readings, cultural exhibits, lectures, and conferences. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a huge march was held at which Palestinians pinned the names of the villages destroyed by Israel in 1948 to their clothes. The march, with an estimated attendance of over 1 million Palestinians, took place in many cities and villages across Palestine on 14 May 1998. Similar memorial events were also held by Arabs inside Israel, in towns such as Nazareth.
Across the U.S., universities and the Arab-American community sponsored activities dedicated to al-nakba, the most prominent of which is the Quilt Tour, organized by several major Arab-American organizations. Using traditional Palestinian embroidery, the community created a quilt consisting of 418 panels, each representing one of the 418 destroyed villages of Palestine. The quilt is touring the U.S. from 15 May through 14 June 1998, commencing in New York, at the United Nations, and concluding with a rally in Washington, D.C.