The University of Hawaii held a symposium entitled âUnderstanding the Nakbaâ that lasted from February 26th until March 14th. A number of lectures and films, along with open discussions, dealt with the history of Palestine, the present structure of apartheid in the country, and the links between Hawaii and Palestine.
The events presented the Palestinian narrative dealing with the history leading up to and resulting in the Nakba. Al-Awda was in attendance to discuss the right of return as an irrevocable aspect of the Palestinian struggle.
The symposium also took up a number of key aspects of Palestinian life under occupation. Films examined the strangulation of Bethlehem by the Wall and the humiliation and abuse women suffer at military checkpoints. Palestinian youth were also given a forum to share and discuss life under the Occupation.
One forum of particular interest was entitled, âHawaii and Palestine: Occupied Countriesâ. The indigenous people of Hawaii, like many native populations who have had the catastrophe of losing their lands to a settler state, have seen their population decimated, islands looted and culture denied. As in Palestine, Hawaii continues to be occupied by a state that seized control through military force. While the current dynamics of occupation differ, the struggle for rights and resources and against racism and colonialism is the same.
It is of the utmost importance for the people of Palestine to continue to build links with the indigenous people of Hawaii as well as other indigenous peoples movements across the globe.