Remembering Al Nakba – Rally for Palestine

“Today I went home for the first time in 61 years…I remember playing in the courtyard.We left because we had to. The Israelis were coming.
Today was not the day for me to go home. But one day my family will return…”

(Sings) We will go home, we will go home …

5pm, Friday 15 May

Brisbane Square (river end of Queen St Mall)

Speakers will include
Khalil Hamdan – QLD Palestinian Association
Dr Halim Rane – Fair Go for Palestine

Gary McLennan – Justice for Palestine. Gary’s speech can be played by clicking here (please wait, it takes time to load):

Gary Maclennan speaks at Al Nakba

Performances by:
Phil Monsour ( Phil’s song can be played by clicking her
e (please wait, it takes time to load):

Phil Monsour sings at Al Nakba rally

Amber (a dancer & musician) performed the Palestinian dance Debka (the stomp) with the help of participants at the rally. Amber’s speech & music can be heard by clicking here (please wait, it takes time to load):

Amber performs the Dabka (stomp) to arabic music at the Al Nakba rally

~ End the genocide in Palestine ~ End the siege of Gaza ~
~ End the Israeli occupation ~ Recognise the Palestinian right of return ~ No Australian support for Israel: sanction now ~

May 15 each year marks the Palestinian Nakba. In 1948, more than 780,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland and more than 500 Palestinian villages depopulated and destroyed by Zionist terrorist death squads that were setup in Palestine under the protection of the British mandate.

Today more than 7 million Palestinian refugees, the largest refugee community in the world, are living in exile, while 5 million Palestinians are living in the world’s largest open-air prison. On the 61st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba join the ongoing campaign to say NO to Israel’s ongoing war crimes & ethnic cleansing of Palestine and demand justice for the Palestinians.

For more information:
Phone: 0424 264 750 (Emad) or 0401 586 923 (Hamish)

10 thoughts on “Remembering Al Nakba – Rally for Palestine

  1. Justice for Palestine says:

    press release press release press release press release press release

    Brisbane remembers Palestinian Catastrophe, 61 years on
    Release date: Wednesday 13th May 2009

    This Friday, May 15, marks the 61st anniversary of Al-Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe. In 1948 eighty five per cent of the Palestinian population was forcibly removed from their homes and expelled en-mass by the architects of the new state of Israel. Supporters of Palestinian freedom, human rights and social justice will rally in Brisbane Square at 5pm this Friday 15th May to remember Al-Nakba as part of the ongoing campaign to say “NO” to Israel’s continual war crimes and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

    Rally spokesperson Abdalla said, “On May 15 in 1948, more than 780,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland and more than 500 Palestinian villages depopulated and destroyed by Zionist terrorist death squads that were set up in Palestine under the protection of the British mandate.” He said, “Today more than 7 million Palestinian refugees, the largest refugee community in the world, are living in exile, while 5 million Palestinians are living in the world’s largest open-air prison, cut off from the rest of the world and occupied by Israel. Many Palestinian refugees still have the keys to the homes they and their families were forced from 61 years ago. The key has become a symbol of the hope of return. People at Friday’s rally will carry symbolic keys, not only to remember when the homes were lost but as a powerful symbol that no matter what Israel says or does these refugees have an internationally recognised right to return to their homes.”

    Speakers on the day will include Khalil Hampden from the Queensland Palestinian Association who experienced Al-Nakba first hand as a child, Dr Halim Rane (Fair Go for Palestine) and Gary McLennan (Justice for Palestine). There will also be performances by local artists Phil Monsour and Robbie Dunn.

    Abdalla said, “As well as reflecting on and raising awareness of this very important date in the history of the Middle East our rally will demand; an end to the genocide in Palestine, an end to the siege of Gaza, an end to the Israeli occupation, recognition of the Palestinian right of return and no more Australian support for Israel: sanctions now.”

    For more information:
    Phone: 0413 783 853 (Abdalla) or 0401 586 923 (Hamish)

  2. Remembering al-Nakba says:

    Speech by Gary Maclennan remembering al-Nakba
    Al Salam Alaikum; Wa rahmat Allah; Wa barak atoh. Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, comrades we are here today to commemorate one of the worst crimes of the 20th century – the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by what was to become the Israeli army from their homeland in 1947, 48 and 49. That event has come to be known to Palestinians and their friends throughout the Islamic world as al-Nakba – the catastrophe or disaster. However we in the Western world still cling to another version of those events.

    Many Westerners and their governments and certainly the Australian government believe the following:

    The UN set up the state of Israel by partitioning Palestine. The Arabs rejected this plan and 6 Arab armies invaded Israel. The Arab Governments wanted to slaughter all the Jews. The Arab governments ordered the Palestinians to leave their homes while the Israeli government begged them to stay. Heroic little Israel defeated the Arab Goliath. The Israelis desperately tried to make peace with the Arabs but the Arabs only wanted war. Still the Israelis set about making a wonderful modern progressive state in the land which the Palestinians had neglected.

    Friends, that is the official story behind the setting up of the State of Israel. It is what Israeli school children are taught to believe. It was made into a Hollywood movie called Exodus in 1960 and it was, as I have said, what most people in the West believe as the truth. Friends I am here to tell you that it is all lies; every single last word of it.

    What then is the truth? Well the Arabs have long known the truth, but since 1978 the West has begun to listen a little to a group of Jewish historians. These historians have proved that the Palestinians were not ordered to leave by Arab governments. In fact they were ordered to stay. We also now know that there was a master plan for the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians. That plan took final shape on the 10th March 1948 in what is now the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv. It was drawn up by the first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion. The plan is known as Plan D or the Dalet Plan. It called for the total expulsion of the people of Palestine from Palestine.

    Just like for the Nazis the Holocaust was the Final Solution for the so-called “Jewish problem”, for the Zionists the Dalet Plan was the final solution for the Arab Problem. And like the Nazis Ben Gurion was careful to leave as few traces as possible of the decision to expel the Palestinians. In so doing he was acting like the Nazis who tried to cover up the truth of their death camps.

    But the Islamic world has long known the truth of al Nakba and we in the Western world are beginning to learn it too. That is why today’s commemoration is very important. All of us who know what happened in 1947, 48 and 49 have a duty to see that all people of good will come to learn that truth as well.

    In so doing we have to struggle against the lies of the Zionists and their allies in the media and the governments throughout the Western world. I would like to say a few words now about the struggle to get the truth out. The anti-Vietnam war activist Ron Kovics said some time ago that he would never again let any government tell him to fear and who to hate. As a young man he had been taught to fear and hate the Vietnamese. But now he has turned his back for ever on such hatred and fear.

    I would like to say that we should also never let any government tell us what to remember or what to forget. The Zionist media has been telling the Palestinians that they should forget about al Nakba. The Palestinians will never forget. What is more to tell them they should forget is absolute racism. None of would ever tell the Jewish people that they should forget about the Holocaust. That would be unthinkable. But why should Zionists be allowed to tell the Palestinians that they must forget about the ethnic cleansing of 1947-49?

    I want to repeat now. Our memories belong to us. They are not the property of the imperialists, the Zionists or the Media barons. And we should use our memories to remember the victims. I want to read to you now some words by the great Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin. It comes from his theses on history: I would like you to remember these words whenever you hear or read the Zionist boasting of the vibrant modern progressive democracy they have built in Israel. Benjamin wrote:

    A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

    Benjamin also wrote that the dead have a right to be redeemed by our remembering them. We owe the act of remembering to those Palestinians who were murdered and to those who were driven out and to those who died broken hearted in the refugee camps. When David Ben Gurion ordered the mass murder and expulsion of Palestinians, he hoped the world would never find out the truth of his crimes. He also hoped that one day the Arabs would forget.

    60 years later – Ben Gurion is long dead. But the memory of Al Nakba lives on. And more and more the world is looking at Israel and seeing it for the monstrosity that it truly is. Ben Gurion and his successors have built an apartheid state. That same state is reeling under its own violence and corruption. It is now run by people like Bibi Netanyahu and Avigdor Liebermann who have talked openly of the need for another round of ethnic cleansing. They want to drive out all the Arabs and create the greater Israel. It is because there is a real danger of another Nakba that today’s act of remembrance is so important. It is also why the struggle for peace is so important. But peace can only come from the liberation of Palestine. And the day of that liberation is coming. All around the world civilised people are turning against the brutality of the Israelis. More and more they are coming to understand what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians.

    One of the finest statements on the fate of the Palestinians was made by the great philosopher Bertrand Russell days before his death in 1970. He said

    The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East. We are frequently told that we must sympathise with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. […] What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy (31st January 1970)

    Of course to criticise Israel, and even to remember al Nakba is to be accused of being an anti-Semite. But we should take comfort here from the brave Jews who have stood out against the Zionist hoodlums. If we want to describe accurately what happened in 1948 it is only necessary to quote the words of Aharon Zisling, the Minister of Agriculture in the Ben Gurion Government. He told the Israeli cabinet on 17 November 1948:

    “I couldn’t sleep all night. I felt that things that were going on were hurting my soul, the soul of my family and all of us here (…) Now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being has been shaken.”

    To the people of Palestine on this day, when we are gathered to commemorate al Nakba, we say, “We are with you in your struggle and we are with you all the way to victory. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

    A recording of this speech is @

    1. Words for 'Doubting Thomas' says:

      Palestine Fact Sheet for ‘doubting Thomas’

      Dear Colleagues

      Have you ever been faced with the daunting task of convincing a ‘doubting Thomas’ that the Palestinians are victims of a cruel set of injustices rather than the bad guys?

      If so, do you need a a fairly short fact-sheet to set the record straight?

      I believe the following summary by Indian historian, Dilip Simeon, Director, Aman Trust, New Delhi, does just that – excellently, if I may add.

      The Agony of Palestine by Dilip Simeon, Hardnews Bureau

      In solidarity

      David Albuquerque

      1. Fay — on remembering, forgetting says:

        Fay — on remembering, forgetting
        I start by congratulating Justice for Palestine members in general and in particular the tireless Kathy and Hamish for organizing Friday night’s event. The silent march was dramatic and the overall program was potent.

        I always particularly find the personal stories of people linked to Palestine compelling not just on this occasion but whenever they rarely arise at meetings. Nadine’s story about her mother on Friday night was the first I had heard of it and it was touching.

        I strongly feel that these stories and those of all the others associated with the people from Palestinian really need to be recorded before they are lost.

        I don’t have to tell any of you that one cannot turn on the TV, Radio or go to the movies or a bookshop without being reminded of the holocaust. The stories are everywhere all the time. The survivors and their children make sure the world never forgets – which is fair enough. But it is virtually impossible to find the Palestinian narrative anywhere.

        Can I ask Nadine and everyone else with Palestinian connections to please write down your story so that it can be recorded somewhere and not lost forever as we all grow old.

        There is a wonderful website set up by Australians for Palestine last year on the 60th anniversary of Al Nakba which is and in the section pre 1948 on the homepage there is a space for personal stories.

        There doesn’t seem to be any there at the moment although I could be doing something wrong not to find them. But maybe the stories could be placed there and be added to so at least they are not forgotten.

        Maybe at some stage we can afford to publish them in a book or get them told on radio or TV. What do you all reckon out there on this e-list?

        1. One of the songs “you heard” during the rally is Mawtini.

          I did propose it while we were planning the rally, but i thought it would be so difficult and time consuming for non-Arabic speakers, that is the majority of you! 🙂 it combines a lot of words – old Arabic style of music, as the lyrics would be actually a poem.

          Anyway, I’m glad you liked it.

          I just found this lovely recording of it on youtube:

          Ibrahim Touqan wrote it in the 30’s, and Mohammad Flaifel composed it much later on – i think in the 60’s, both Palestinians.

          It’s the current national anthem of Iraq.

          Should also email you soon about Hanthala – the little fellow you find in
          the rally poster, which also is very much part of Palestinian identity.


          Hope you enjoy it.

  3. Limits to Democratic Rights: harrassment at Al Nakba rally says:

    ‘No advancing … a cause of beliefs’excerpt from the Public Assembly Conditions of the Brisbane City Council for the rally organised by Justice for Palestine.

    I attended the Al Nakba rally organised by Justice for Palestine on Friday evening at Brisbane square.

    My job was to provide & set up the LeftPress PA system to be used for speaking, singing and playing music at the rally.

    During the course of the rally there was harassment of several organisers by Brisbane City Council [BCC] officials. These officials complained about noise, banners & PA system.

    I was approached and asked to take down a banner on the basis that it was a threat to health and safety. The banner was made of cloth and was strung high between two poles.

    Here is a recording of conversations I had with City Mall officials.

    You can listen to some of the speeches, music & dancing at the rally by clicking the links below:

    Amber performs the Debka, a Palestinian dance (Debka = the stomp)
    Phil Monsour sings “We will go home”
    Gary MacLennan speaks about Al Nakba

    All of these activities went well and were a credit to the organisers and participants alike.

    I would be interested if to hear from any people at the rally who were approached by BCC officials or by police. If you were approached please let us know briefly what was said.

    After the rally, I read the conditions of the public assembly issued to ‘Justice for Palestine’ by the BCC and, if followed, they would prevent any effective political assembly.

    No PA system was permitted
    No leafletting allowed,
    No ‘hard banners’ (placards?),
    No singing or speaking through a PA system
    No music to be played.
    No tables or chairs permitted
    The Brisbane City Council notice of Public Assembly Conditions is attached.

    Notice that the permit contains political censorship as well, for example ‘No advancing … a cause of beliefs’.

    If the rally was larger than 200 persons, it was not permitted.

    Given that there are no longer any large public spaces for public assembly in the city (no King George Square, no Roma Street Forum, limited facilities at Queens Park) this is an issue for all groups wishing to organise similar activities.

    At the outset of the rally I received a $60 fine for parking my car to offload PA system.

    I am going to approach the BCC this week to try to get the fine be revoked (I am not hopeful).

    I think that this issue should be discussed at the next Justice for Palestine meeting.

    All that should be required is organisers inform Brisbane City Council of their intention to stage a rally.

    in solidarity
    07 3398 5215

    Reference: Brisbane restricts peaceful assemblies

  4. Amber Presents........Arabic Dance @ Brisbane Powerhouse says:

    Subject: Amber Presents……..Arabic Dance @ Brisbane Powerhouse 6th June 2009

    Please forward this to anyone you know who may be interested in coming to this in at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
    thank you 🙂
    Amber x

    AMBER is a professional performer and tutor of Middle Eastern and Arabic dances with over 13 years experience in Australia and Europe.

    She would like to share with you a wealth of creative knowledge she has accumulated over the last 13 years in the intensely beautiful and therapeutic art of ‘Raqs Al Arabiya’ which translates to ‘Arabic Dance’.

    There are many diverse styles of dance in the Arab world and in these particular workshops Amber will be teaching techniques and dances from Egypt and Palestine.

    Amber is a warm, understanding and friendly teacher who aims to make everyone feel included and comfortable while sharing their dance experience.
    Here are the details of each workshop;


    (Palestinian Dabke)

    12:00 – 2:00 pm

    ‘DABKE’ literally translates to ‘stomp’. This dance traditionally is performed in a line headed by the ‘ras’ (head) dancer. It is a dance that evolved in the ‘Sham’ (sun) which in a past era was the Arab name given to the land which in present day is Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, Syria and Jordan.

    DABKE has some influence from the Ottomans as well as the Roma (gypsies) who travelled in ancient times from Northern India.

    Each of the countries from the Sham has developed its own unique style of Dabke and Amber will be teaching the Palestinian style.

    Amber had the unique opportunity whilst living, working and performing in London to perform and teach with a Palestinian Dabke troupe called ‘Al Zaytouna’ (The Olive). This group has and continues to perform at many local charity and prestigious events including WOMAD and The Bloomsbury theatre. As well as her experience with this group, she was able to train and perform with the professional dance troupe from Palestine ‘El Funoun’ (The Arts).

    Let Amber teach you a dance that will open your eyes to the beauty of Palestinian culture. The dance and music is too addictive you will not want to stop!

    (This workshop is open to men and women of all ages. If you have serious back or knee problems it is advised that you do not participate due to the heavy nature of the footwork)

    2. ‘RAQS SHARQI’

    (‘Oriental Dance’)

    2:00 – 4:00 pm

    ‘Oriental Dance’ in the western world is better known as ‘Belly Dance’ though there is a lot more in-depth to it than just rolling your belly and shaking your hips!

    Amber will introduce to you the fundamental techniques and movements, in this case of the modern Egyptian style, of ‘Raqs Sharqi’ to enhance body strength and flexibility, self confidence and most importantly to enjoy your own unique beauty and sensuality. A dance traditionally passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, let Amber take you on a journey through a true art form that ultimately celebrates life.

    (This workshop will only be offered to women 18 years and over only. All abilities and body shapes welcome!)
    COST OF WORKSHOPS – 2 hours each (with a short break in the middle)


    employed = $30 unemployed/full-time student=$20

    under 15 children=free (must be accompanied by an adult in the class)


    employed = $50 unemployed/full-time student=$40

    DABKE – comfortable top and flexible trousers (only loose jeans as tight jeans will restrict leg movements)

    RAQS SHARQI – comfortable loose or close fitting top, gym pants or skirt if you prefer, scarf to tie around your hips (will be provided also)

    Follow the link below for information regarding workshop location.

  5. Don Wilson says:

    The Schonell Theatre has accepted the booking for the Palestine film festival on Friday 16th, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October.

    Could you tell members and urge as many as possible to attend the
    meeting on

    Wednesday 8th July
    at 6:30 pm the QCU Building
    16 Peel Street South Brisbane

    and get behind this project.

    Best wishes

  6. Al Nakba Fine says:

    After 6 months I have lost my appeal and been fined by the BCC for setting up the PA system for the Al Nakba rally in May 2009 . The fine is $60.

    I will pay the fine so that I do incur further costs as threatened in the notice from the BCC.

    This fine is unfair. As a supporter of ‘Justice for Palestine’ I reject the council’s hardline approach.For details of how the fine was imposed see Limits to Democratic Rights: harrassment at Al Nakba rally.

    In the end I was left to defend myself. I did that to the best of my ability.

    I will be taking steps to prevent any such harrassment again.

    The Builders Labourers Union [BLF] is waging a campaign to prevent their members from being fined by the BCC in the city. These fines are being imposed on ordinary working people for simply attending work with their utes and tools.

    All political groups should support the BLF in this.

    Ian Curr
    Nov 2009

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