Announcing the 2019 North America Nakba Tour
71 Years Without a Country: Stateless Palestinians from Lebanon
In some ways time stopped in 1948 for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Many of them and their descendants are living in the same refugee camps created when the Zionist forces expelled them from Palestine in that year.
Israel expelled most of the majority Palestinian population in 1948, and has prevented them from returning to their homes ever since. Hundreds of towns and villages were leveled to the ground, a crime that Palestinians call al-Nakba (the Catastrophe). But Israel did not stop there. It repeatedly attacked Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, killing thousands more.
Suddenly stateless and without the benefits of citizenship, Palestinian refugees were extremely vulnerable and had very few rights starting in 1948. 71 years later, not much has changed for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who continue to be denied basic civil rights as well as their most fundamental right: to return to their homeland.
These Palestinians have different experiences than other Palestinians, even as they share a common struggle and identity. They are not living under Israeli occupation. Israel does not allow them to visit their homes, much less live there. As exiles, they have a different perspective from Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the part of Palestine that became Israel.
In 2016 the Nakba Tour brought 21-year-old Amena Elashkar and 86-year-old Nakba survivor Mariam Fathalla to 26 venues in North America. In 2017, Amena journeyed with 85-year-old Khawla Ibrahim to another 29 venues. This year, Amena is returning with another stateless Nakba survivor to share her personal story of the most tragic event in Palestinian history.
Invite these two stateless Palestinian refugees to speak in your community.
The tour will begin in Washington DC on March 3, 2019, and will travel by car south toward New Orleans, then north through the Midwest to Minnesota before ending in Chicago in early May.
We need your help to tell their story.
- Book a spot along the Nakba Tour route (included below).
The local sponsors of the event will be the primary organizers, but we will help and advise you with protocol, advice, logistics and outreach, including advertising. We will make sure the speakers and field coordinator / tour driver / videographer Samir Salem are able to travel to your venue.
- If you do not see your city or town on the route, but are interested
in sponsoring an event please contact us to see if we can find a way to
reach your destination.
- If you do not live along the route, contact us about hosting a live-streaming event.
- Contact us to help organize! We are always in need of volunteers.
- And, most importantly: forward this announcement to all of your lists and follow us on Facebook!
Costs for hosting an event:
Our costs are estimated to be $1500 per event. We need to raise these funds to make the tour possible, but we are asking each host of an event along the Tour to provide a minimum payment of $500. If you, your organization or institution can afford more, there is no doubt that we will need it.We want to ensure the event affordable for student groups and others that cannot afford to pay the total cost. We also hope to raise much of the cost from generous donors that may or may not be on the tour route. We will need $200 in advance to reserve your event and at the remaining balance at the event itself. We also ask you to provide lodging and meals for the speakers and field coordinator during their visit to your community (homestays and shared rooms are very acceptable).
Universities are asked to provide a minimum of $500 honorarium and make similar housing and meal arrangements. We will also make informational materials available for use along the Tour.
Projected 2019 Nakba Tour approximate event dates (to be filled with your events)
March 4-5 Washington, DC
March 7-8 Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill
March 9 Charlotte
March 12 Atlanta
March 14 Tupelo/Birmingham/
March 15 Memphis
March 17 New Orleans
March 20 Houston
March 22-23 Austin/San Antonio/College Station
March 25 Dallas
March 28-29 Tulsa/Oklahoma City/Norman/Stillwater
March 31 Lawrence/Kansas City
April 1 Lawrence/Kansas City
April 3 Columbia, MO
April 5 St. Louis
April 8 Champaign/Urbana
April 10 Indianapolis
April 11-15 Other Midwest college towns
April 17 Iowa City/Des Moines
April 19-20 Omaha/Lincoln
April 22 Sioux City/Sioux Falls
April 25-26 Minneapolis
April 28-29 Madison/Milwaukee
May 1-3 Chicago
Watch a previous Nakba Tour event!
Watch Amena and Mariam Fathallah discussing their experiences, histories and struggles:
Tour hosts and attendees are saying about the Nakba Tour:
Hosting the Nakba Tour was one of the most successful events we have organized in Columbia, Missouri. Not only were we able to attract a large crowd, but the media coverage was beyond expectation… When meeting and watching 86-year old Umm Akram, carrying the agony of her people on her shoulders while touring North America to tell her story and raise awareness about the Nakba and right of return, I saw in her a living symbol and bright example of Palestinian Sumood (Steadfastness) and endurance.Jalal El-Jayyousi, Columbia, MO – Local Host and Event Organizer
Through their personal stories and histories, refugees Mariam Fathallah and Amena El Ashkar bear vital witness to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Day One of the Israeli apartheid regime. This fight against Zionist settler-colonialism intersects with all struggles for justice, past and present, from Soweto to Standing Rock, from Ferguson to Aleppo. Jews for Palestinian Right of Return encourages people of conscience to support and promote the 2017 Nakba Tour however and wherever they can.David Letwin, New York, NY – Co-Founder, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
We can learn much from listening to the ladies of the Nakba Tour. They illuminated historical events and current conditions for refugees in camps in Lebanon that most people seldom hear in the US. The world needs to listen if justice and peace are to prevail. Amena El Ashkar and Mariam Fathallah courageously came forward to share their truth. They were gracious guests and we enjoyed hosting them. My only regret is that they did not have time to stay longer.Lea Koesterer, St. Louis, MO – Local Host and Event Organizer
Amena’s presentation and translation of Umm Akram’s stories was direct, honest and heartbreaking. We as activists in the West tend to forget the Palestinians in camps in Lebanon and elsewhere because they don’t get solidarity visits by the hundreds of activists visiting Palestine every year and therefore no one organizes speaking tours for them because no one knows about them. It is vital that these past and future heirs to the land of Palestine have their voices heard.Katie Miranda, Portland, OR – Local Host and Event Organizer
The event highlighted for me the exceptionalism of being a Palestinian refugee, unlike any other refugee, they are banned from returning to their home and unable to be absorbed in their host country of Lebanon. This event is extremely informative to fully understand what it means to be a Palestinian living in the diaspora. I highly recommend hosting and/or attending the event for all truth, justice, and knowledge seekers.Farrah Shields, Sacramento, CA – Event Organizer
In the news
- 23 DecRead more
The North America Nakba Tour is a signatory to the statement below about prominent Palestinian child prisoner Ahed Tamimi. Organizations can support and sign on at the Google
- 23 DecRead more
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for making the North America Nakba Tour happen in 2017. Amena and Umm Mousa
- 05 NovRead more
Many people who have already attended a Nakba Tour event have asked about ways they could get involves to assist the Palestinian refugee community. Below
- 20 OctRead more
On October 20, Amena el-Ashkar and Khawla Hammad (Umm Mousa) of the North America Nakba Tour appeared on Loud and Clear on Sputnik Radio,