What's with all those signs?

The Evergreen Al-Nakba Memorial

On May 18, 2011, Evergreen students set up a public art installation on Red Square to commemorate the week of Al-Nakba Day. 

Al-Nakba -- Arabic for "The Catastrophe" -- is the name by which Palestinians refer to their experience of the establishment of the State of Israel, when 800,000 Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homes and ethnically cleansed from the areas that now make up Israel within the Green Line. Over 500 villages were eradicated during the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War in what Israeli historian Illan Pappe has called a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The Nakba commemoration (pictures here ) was made up of white placards with the names of Palestinian villages that were ethnically cleansed during the establishment of the State of Israel. Members of Olympia Jewish Voice for Peace handed out Fact sheets about the Nakba to students, staff, and faculty who were curious about the display that covered nearly all of Red Square, as well as talked about why they felt an obligation as Jewish students to recognize and confront the historical reality of the Nakba.

Among the names of destroyed villages, informational cards helped to explain the Nakba, the ongoing crimes against the Palestinians, and the racism that is perpetuated throughout the state of Israel.

In addition to the names of destroyed Palestinian villages, the display included placards that acknowledged our own complicity in the erasure of people, histories and names that once belonged to this region. Black signs commemorated the indigenous names of this area, in memorial of the Native people of the Pacific Northwest who were dispossessed, colonized and massacred and who are still struggling against the occupation of Native land.

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