May 15 marks another year of dispossession, land theft, and human rights violations. It’s been sixty-three years since hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcefully evicted from their homes and made into refugees with no way back. But the Nakba, or catastrophe, didn’t begin and end in mid-May 1948. The systematic uprooting of Palestinians, their homes, their culture, and their overall identities began years earlier as fundamentalist militia groups claiming to represent the manifestation of the Jewish promise set fire to Arab villages, demolished Palestinian homes, executed entire families, and drove away thousands of Palestinian residents in the hopes that these preliminary evictions would give way to a greater, more forceful ethnic cleansing.
Over six decades later, the systematic expulsion of Palestinians from the lands they were once born and raised in continues to this day. Contrary to popular belief, the Nakba has yet to end. We at the University of Chicago hope to make that clear in this year’s Nakba Commemoration Week. Each event is specifically designed to enlighten the public about the various stages of the Nakba with facts, sounds, words, images, testimonials, and real-life simulations. Themed after the standard notice of eviction, these are their stories. This is our struggle.