Egyptians remember the Nakba in defiance of Mubarak regime
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Egyptians remember the Nakba in defiance of Mubarak regime

Beginning on 12 May, a number of solidarity activities were held in Egypt to commemorate the Palestinian Nakba. These took place both despite the Mubarak regime’s attempt to clamp down on Nakba activities this year and in defiance of the regime’s collaboration with the Occupation government.

In the days leading up to the 15th, the Housing and Land Rights network organized a photo exhibition in the Cairo Townhouse Gallery. The exhibit showcased two different photo stories. The first focused on the history of an Occupation detention facility that opened in 1982 by Sharon for the purpose of imprisoning Palestinian youth activists. The facility, located near Nablus, has since been converted to a youth center. The second photo story focused on daily life in Gaza.

On 12 May, the Center for Socialist Studies hosted a talk and musical performance in Giza. The event, titled “Celebrating the Palestinian Resistance”, featured Ramzi Rahal of the PFLP. On the eve of Nakba day, the International Campaign against Zionist and US occupation worked in collaboration with a number of Egyptian groups to host a conference on Palestinian history at the Doctors Syndicate.

On May 15, events ran the entire day. The Forum of Palestine Solidarity Committees organized a cultural exhibition that included photography and documentary film as well as Palestinian food and handicrafts. A demonstration took place in the afternoon. Other events took place at the Press Syndicate, featuring poetry, music and speakers. Additionally, Cairo University held a special workshop on Palestine.

The solidarity the Egyptian people have shown with the Palestinian struggle remains formidable. At the beginning of the second intifada, mass demonstrations took place across Egypt in Alexandria, Cairo as well as in a number of Delta locations. More recently, mass protests erupted against the latest Occupation massacres in Gaza. Student activism in these actions is strong, with Cairo University often acting as a focal point for Palestine solidarity. Students often clash with Egyptian forces, and hundreds of students have been arrested for Palestine solidarity activities since the start o the second intifada.

The Mubarak government’s close relationship with the Occupation runs completely contrary to popular sentiment and as such state forces routinely crack down on pro-Palestinian rallies. During these demonstrations, the regime often comes under attack for policies of normalization as well as its consistent failure to actively support the Palestinian people. This has become particularly clear as of late, with activists fiercely condemning the Egyptian regime for openly supporting the Occupation siege by sealing off its border with Gaza.

It should come as no surprise that the Mubarak regime shut down a number of planned Nakba commemoration activities in Cairo. Like the Jordanian monarchy, which went a step further and banned all Nakba commemorations, both of these regimes’ normalization policies lack any semblance of legitimacy and popular support. That Nakba activities happened both in Amman and Cairo is another indicator that the Palestinian cause will be carried forward by the Arab people irregardless of state policy and repression.