Whilst the ‘Nakbah’ by its very definition is known as the ‘Catastrophe’, we are writing this letter to celebrate rather than despair on the commemoration of the 75th year of the Nakbah.
That is not to say that we have forgotten that a people who made up less than 6% of the population were given more than half the land by foreign powers; or the million or so men, women and children who were driven out of their homeland in 1948 and never allowed to return; or the thousands who were killed by Zionist terrorist militias in this period; or the further 300,000 or so who were driven out in 1967; or the arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 destroying the mimbar of Salahuddin; or the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982 where thousands of defenceless refugees were slaughtered by the barbaric occupying force; or the killing of worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1984; or the inhumane murder of young Muhammad al-Durrah who was killed in his father’s arms in 2001; or the apartheid wall that started in 1994; or the killings of Rachel Corrie and Thomas Hurndall in 2003 who were murdered for showing solidarity with your cause; or the blockade of Gaza in 2007; or the four boys killed whilst playing football on a beach in 2014; the continuous building of illegal settlements and stealing of your land; the continuous arresting and imprisoning of your children and men without charge; the continuous bulldozing of your homes; the continuous stealing of your water resources, your farms and the destruction of your olive trees; the continuous siege and systematic destruction of Gaza; the continuous incursions at Al-Aqsa and the Ibrahimi Mosque and much more.
However and in spite of these evils and horrors, we insist on celebrating your courage in the face of brutality and barbarism;
We honour you where others bay for your humiliation;
We celebrate your dignity where lesser humans would be consumed by disgrace;
We celebrate your legendary strength of character in the face of cowardly oppression;
We celebrate your divinely-aided patience and resilience in the face of deserting leadership;
We celebrate your perseverance and visceral tenacity in the face of wholesale capitulation;
We celebrate your robust and enduring resistance in the face of a glaring and illegal occupying force;
We celebrate your relentless pursuit of justice in the face of international collusion to deny it;
You are the Honour of the Muslim Ummah and your struggle for justice is doubtless closer today to being realised than it was 75 years ago. Alas, we mourn your catastrophe. Ere long, we will celebrate unreservedly your final liberation, inshaAllah.
With all our prayers, love and duas,
Lewisham Islamic Centre