PALESTINE: THE OCCUPATION a song dedicated to 75 Year Anniversary of Al-Nakba

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Listen to THE OCCUPATION, a dark song about Al-Nakba in Palestine and how Euro-Colonists destroyed the Middle East Palestinian Arab Indigenous way of life and replaced it with their European version

This month in 1948 the indigenous peoples of Palestine became homeless, refugees on their own lands.

VT’s Founder and General Manager Johnny Punish has released a new remastered version of his song THE OCCUPATION.  It’s currently and exclusively on SoundCloud for Audio and YouTube and Rumble for Video.  He will be also releasing it on all the streaming networks ie…Apple, Spotify, etc.. in a few weeks…

 

In fact, this past May 15th, the United Nations staged a high-level special meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba – the mass displacement of around 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland in 1948.

It was the first time that the international body has commemorated the date, which organizers said serves “as a reminder of the historic injustice suffered by the Palestinian people.”

Not everyone was behind the U.N.‘s marking of the day, however.  Of course, The Zionist United States of America and their old bosses over in The United Kingdom were among the countries that voted against the commemoration.

Meanwhile, on cue, the Israeli foreign ministry  called on U.N. member states “not to participate in the event that adopts the Palestinian narrative that opposes Israel’s right to exist.”

Many scholars who study Palestinian history see the U.N. decision as the culmination of a long process. For decades, Palestinians struggled for international recognition of the Nakba in the face of a narrative that minimized their plight.   But this is starting to change.

Your trail of tears
Mark through your years
Making enemies of men
Your blood runs red
You find your children dead
It’s hell on earth to fight in the street
They build a wall
It’s 2000 feet tall
As if Berlin had never been
Where is the law
Deals made at the Casbah
Your brother is selling you out
The occupation
Just a segregation
Humiliation
Is this the nation
That you cry for
A confiscation
Your exploitation
Obliteration
No self-determination
Rachel Corrie
Hero death or glory
Do you even know her name?
She sacrificed
Then gave up her life
In the battle of the home bulldozers
If God had mercy
Then what the heck’s the hurry
Can’t they see she’s just a young kid
Are they insane
Now we know their name
It’s Mister I Hate Humanity
The occupation
Just a segregation
Humiliation
Is this the nation
That you cry for
A confiscation
Your exploitation
Obliteration
No self-determination
Self-determination is the free choice of men
With the power to decide how you want to live again
It’s the right of the people of a nation to be governed
As they please without the influence of another
They stole your land
Now you understand
How the art of war has been played
But it’s too late
60 years of hate
Has left with you a rock in your hand
But they got bombs
And the soccer moms
You know they got a gun to your head
What can you do
This Coke is for you
And no one will ever be free
The occupation
Just a segregation
Humiliation
Is this the nation
That you cry for
A confiscation
Your exploitation
Obliteration
Who will fight for
The liberation
What’s the explanation
Capitulation
Cause you know that
Our generation
An Obama-nation
With a fixation
On the world of
Globalization
A complication
For self-determination
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la

Written, Performed and Produced by Johnny Punish
Special Guest Vocalist Marcy-Elle

What is the Nakba?

The Nakba – Arabic for “catastrophe” – was part of a longer project of displacement of Palestinians from their homeland. From the early 1900s, increasing numbers of Zionists – Jewish nationalists – emigrated from Russia and other parts of Europe to Palestine, seeking to escape antisemitism.

Many of these settlers also sought to establish Jewish sovereignty in a land that had long been inhabited by Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others.

As a result of the Zionist settlement, thousands of peasants were forced off land they had lived on for generations. Many Palestinians resisted this colonial displacement throughout the 1920s and 1930s. But their resistance was violently suppressed by British colonial forces ruling over Palestine at the time.

Following World War II, as the full horrors of the Holocaust became known and international sympathy for the Jewish plight grew, Zionist militias waged deadly attacks that killed hundreds of Palestinians and British personnel.

The British then handed over the “question of Palestine” to the newly formed United Nations, which on Nov. 29, 1947, voted in favor of a partition plan to split Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The plan allotted a majority of the country, including major ports and prime agricultural lands, to the Jewish state, even though Jews comprised about one-third of the population at the time. The plan would have also forced half a million Palestinian Arabs living in the proposed Jewish state to make a stark choice: live as a minority in their own country or leave.

Palestinians rejected the plan and fighting broke out. Well-trained Zionist militias attacked Palestinians in areas that had been designated as part of the proposed Jewish state. Other Palestinians fled in fear after Zionist forces massacred villagers in Deir Yassin.

By the time Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, between 250,000 and 350,000 Palestinians had been forced off their ancestral lands.

The day after that declaration – May 15 – came to be known as Nakba Day.

As Palestinians fled to neighboring lands, the armies of five Arab countries – which also wished to prevent a Jewish state from forming – were deployed to try to stem the tide of refugees. Fighting between Israeli and Arab armies continued throughout that summer and fall, with the heavily armed Israeli military conquering lands that the U.N. had previously designated as part of the Arab state.

In the process, even more, Palestinians were expelled from their homes and villages. Many fled on foot, carrying whatever they could on their backs. By the end of the Arab-Israeli war in 1949, an estimated 750,000 Palestinians had either fled or had been expelled from their homes.

The battle over the Nakba narrative

Palestinian and official Israeli accounts framed what took place in very different ways.

Since 1948, Palestinians have insisted that they have a right to return to the homes and lands from which they were expelled. They and their supporters cite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed in December 1948, which states: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

A woman making a heart shape with her hands fronts a throng of people waving Palestinian flags.
Palestinians march in Chicago on May 15, 2022.

But Israeli officials have maintained that Palestinians left at the behest of their leaders and should be resettled in the surrounding Arab countries.

They also argue that since Israel has already absorbed some 900,000 Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries after Israel’s founding, they should not have to take back Palestinian refugees, too.

For decades, Americans overall have held greater sympathy for the Israeli position. One reason for this was the 1958 bestselling novel “Exodus” and the 1960 blockbuster film of the same name. As my research shows, the novel drew on long-standing anti-Arab racist tropes to absolve Zionist and Israeli forces of their role in creating the Palestinian refugee crisis.

This “Nakba denialism,” as scholars like myself describe it, was pervasive. It rested on the idea that Palestinians were generic “Arabs” who could be settled in any other Arab country, rather than a people whose food, dress, and dialects are connected to specific locales in Palestine, and are distinct from those in surrounding Arab countries.

Attempts to commemorate the Nakba have long been rooted in a counternarrative that connects Palestinian culture and society to their pre-1948 hometowns and villages.

At first, Palestinians mourned the loss of their homeland quietly. Then in the 1960s, younger Palestinians formed political organizations aimed at drawing international attention to their cause. That included holding public events on May 15 to educate the broader public – in Arab states and around the world – about their ties to their land and to push for their right to return.

Following the June 1967 War, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since then, Palestinians around the world have sought to use May 15 to draw attention not only to the plight of Palestinian refugees living in exile but also of those living under Israeli occupation.

Palestinians gained support from many in the Global South – a term to describe lower-income countries mainly in Asia, Africa and South America – due in part to many nations’ common colonial experiences. While some African American groups in the U.S. also backed the Palestinian cause, in much of the West the Nakba remained largely unknown.

In 1998, as Palestinians marked 50 years of exile, activists in the United States and around the world organized commemorative events. For the first time, organizers centered the events around a single theme: remembering the Nakba.

Yasser Arafat speaks at the United Nations in 1974. At the end of his speech, Arafat shook his finger at the delegates and declared, “I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

That same year, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat also made official what had long been unofficial: May 15 was declared Nakba Day.

Meanwhile, a group of Israeli scholars known as the “New Historians” published carefully documented studies that confirmed the Palestinians’ narrative of what happened in 1948. Those studies undermined long-standing official Israeli denials about its role in creating the Nakba. They also opened the door further for global acknowledgment of the Palestinians’ experiences.

Despite the findings, Israeli governments and some Western allies still oppose recognizing the Nakba.

Abu Amar, known as Yaser Arafat with his wife Suhu Tawil Arafat. Suhu is Johnny Punish’s 3rd cousin. Johnny’s mom Marcelle is a “Tawil” from Haifa. Both Marcelle and Suha Tawil are Christian while Yasir was a Muslim which made their marriage unifying among Palestinians.  Abu Amar was murdered with poison by the Israelis.  He is buried in Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine

In 2009, the Israeli education minister banned the use of the Arabic term in Israeli textbooks. Then in 2011, the Israeli parliament passed a “Nakba Law,” authorizing the government to withdraw funding from civil society groups that commemorate the Nakba. That law remains in effect.

The restrictions aren’t limited to Israel. Last year, German courts upheld the Berlin police’s decision to cancel several planned Nakba Day protests in that city.

Despite this opposition, Palestinians continue to mark Nakba Day. That’s because, as long as they remain under Israeli occupation and exiled from their land, Palestinian rights groups say, “the Nakba is ongoing.” Many also see May 15 as a day to affirm Palestinians’ resilience, despite the ongoing oppression they face.

As Palestinians and their supporters hold Nakba Day events at the U.N., across the United States, and around the world in 2023, it serves as an acknowledgment of their long and continuing, struggle.