Catastrophe still haunts Palestine

Imraan Buccus, research fellow in the School of Social Sciences at KZN and academic director of a study abroad programme on political transformation, wrote an article in New Age which can only be described as extremely biased. Victor Gordon wrote a counter letter and I decided to post it on my blog.

The key points of Imraan Buccus’ article:

# Had we not defeated apartheid, this year would have marked 66 years of oppression in South Africa

# But, as we celebrate democracy in South Africa, Israel, a country that continues to brutalise Palestinians marks 66 years of its existence

# And this week, on May 15th, Palestinians observed over 6 decades of occupation

# The late intellectual, Edward Said also recalled how in 1948 his entire family was turned into a scattering of refugees

Read full article here:

Victor Gordon’s answer to Imraan Buccus:

If Imraan Buccus wishes to reflect on a “Nakba” (Catastrophe) I urge him to take a more objective view of history as the first Nakba did not occur in 1948.

The first “Nakba”  occurred  as far back as 422 – 568 BC, when Solomon’s Temple,  located on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount,  was destroyed by the Babylonians, followed by a second “Nakba” in 70AD, when the Romans sent the Jews of Israel into a 2000 year exile following the destruction of the Second Temple.

“Nakba” (“Catastrophe”) after “Nakba” haunted the Jews  over this period, including the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th century,  the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, culminating in the most horrific “Nakba” of all, the Holocaust, which accounted for the murder of 6 million European Jews, aided and abetted by the Grand Mufti of  Jerusalem, Haj amin al-Husseini,  who visited Hitler with the offer of  support in rendering the world Judenrein.

Fresh from the Nazi death camps, the desperate survivors  found themselves facing yet another “Nakba” with Britain’s callous  refused to allow them to enter their one safe haven – their historic and spiritual homeland, Palestine, with which Jews have been intimately connected for over 3 millennia.

Instead, for three years they were incarcerated in squalid Displaced Persons Camps in Cyprus while an indifferent world mulled over this inconvenient problem.

In 1922 the Jews suffered another “Nakba” when Britain illegally stripped away 80% of the territory designated to them for a Jewish Homeland at the San Remo Conference in 1920 and enshrined into law by the League of Nations, utilizing it to form the new Arab state of Transjordan.

Thereafter, the “Nakba” of having to fight for their very survival within hours of declaring the newly sanctioned (by the United Nations)  Jewish State in 1948 and of subsequently burying 1% of their entire population who fell in that conflict,  coupled with the “Nakba” of having 800,000 Jews thrown out of every surrounding Arab/Muslim state with no more than the clothes on their backs, starts to place the one “Nakba”,  mourned annually by the Palestinians,  into stark perspective.

The “Nakbas” the Palestinians should be mourning are those of lost opportunities; the “Nakba” of turning down repeated offers to establish a state of their own and extract themselves from a misery of their own making.

Whilst Israel, in the face of all its “Nakbas”,  has become a world leader in almost every field of endeavour, the Palestinians, bogged down in ineffectual self pity, look to the world to save them from themselves.

Their “Nakbas” are self-inflicted for which, I, for one, have little sympathy.


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