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Rainbow Remembrance

May 17, 2012

May 15 is a significant day in the Middle East. It’s called Nakba, which translates as “catastrophe” in Arabic. 2012 marked the 64th year since the 1948 war between Palestine and Israel, during which time over 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by Israeli troops.

This continues to be important to people today because there are still Palestinian refugees who can’t go home. On the night of Nakba, I went to the Rainbow Theatre on Rainbow Street in Amman to a performance that included spoken word and rap music to commemorate the “catastrophe” and fundraise for a documentary about life in the refugee camp in Gaza called “Remember Us.”

The spoken word, performed by three different women, was emotionally raw. I listened to their pain and felt guilty that I know so little about the life they spoke so passionately about. How did I not know about Nakba before two days ago? The women were so beautiful on stage, but with my lack of knowledge of their suffering, the tears welling up in my eyes felt superficial and undeserved.

One performer, Aysha El–Shamayleh, was particularly powerful. The last words of her final performance that night have stayed with me: “So to my generation – slow dance with the devil. You are never sinful, just human and forgiven. And I dare you to keep on living.”

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