The Nakba and its Generational Impact on Palestinian lives: Memory, Identity, and a Future rooted in Justice
Nov 19 2021
Recorded Friday, November 19th, 2021
Featuring Palestinians who lived through the 1948 Nakba and their descendants:
Nida El-Muti, Dina El-Muti, and Hasan Hammami
In conversation with Peter Beinart (FMEP Non-resident fellow)
The Nakba, the displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland from 1947-49, is among the root causes of the conflict in Palestine-Israel and critical to understanding the failure of the decades-long “peace-process,” and the level of justice and reparations required to achieve a sustainable future. We will hear the personal stories of those who survived the ethnic cleansing of their cities and villages, and learn from them and their descendants how the trauma of the Nakba and Israel’s ongoing policies of erasure have shaped their lives. We’ll also ask about their visions for the future, what justice looks like, and how they sustain connections to their homeland from the diaspora.
Nida El-Muti: Born in Jericho to Fatima Radwan, a survivor of the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre, Nida was raised in Ramallah and at sixteen immigrated to New Jersey with her mother. Nida put herself through school at Rutgers University, earned a masters in human physiology and worked at Robert Wood Johnson in the department of microbiology, and at Rutgers medical school as a senior technologist in the IVF program. For fifteen years, Nida taught anatomy and physiology at Eastern Illinois university. She is currently retired and living in Chicago.
Dina El-Muti: Born in Denton, TX, Dina grew up in a small town in East Central Illinois, and is now a recent transplant back to Texas, specifically, Houston. The granddaughter of Fatima Radwan, who lived through the 1948 Nakba, Dina is the mother of two little boys and a trauma clinician who has worked for organizations including Defence for Children International, Palestine (DCI-P), the Treatment & Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC), and various social service organizations serving children who have experienced early childhood trauma. Dina attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for undergrad and earned a masters in social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dina grew up on the hyphen: both Palestinian and American, on a steady diet of Edward Said, Malcolm X, and her grandmother Fatima’s timeless stories that fundamentally changed the trajectory of her life and work.
Hasan Hammami: Born in Jaffa, Palestine in 1932, Hasan was educated at the Christian Brothers College in Jaffa until he was forced to flee on a cargo sailboat at age 15, with 3000 people, during the Nakba. At 18, after 3 years at the National College of Choueifat and the American University of Beirut, Hasan had to abandon his education to help support his family by working for the oil company Aramco in Saudi Arabia, where he lived in a desert labor camp. He completed his engineering education at the University of Nottingham, England and joined Procter and Gamble where he launched manufacturing operations in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and with increasing responsibilities led large projects in several parts of the world. Father to three daughters and a step-son living on 4 continents, Hasan has served organizations such as the Arab American Association and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, among others, focusing on civil and human rights for all, advancement of Arab Americans and Interfaith work. A US citizen for 37 years, a citizen of the world for nearly 70, and with 25 country moves behind him, Hasan, now 89, continues to grow & share as a retiree in Florida.
Peter Beinart is Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also a Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, an Editor-at-Large at Jewish Currents, and a CNN Political Commentator. He tweets @PeterBeinart and publishes on peterbeinart.substack.com
educates US audiences about the Nakba; the mass expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian population from their homes and lands during the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. P48 centers Palestinian scholarship and testimonies in order to accurately convey the generational impact of this foundational event, and the realities of the ongoing Nakba, which is characterized by seven decades of dispossession and a denial of basic human rights.
Resources Shared During this Webinar
To watch the video clip of Fatima’s story, played during the webinar, please visit “Surviving the Nakba: Fatima’s Story,” [the clip we played begins at the 3:34 mark].
On the 1948 Nakba
- “An Oral History of the Palestinian Nakba” by Nahla Abdo & Nur Masalha
- Nakba Archive: https://www.nakba-archive.org/
- “Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory” edited by Ahmad H. Sa’di & Lila
- [Webinar] “The Palestinian Nakba: What Happened in 1948 and Why It Still Matters,” co-hosted by Project48 and the Middle East Institute and co-sponsored by FMEP, featuring Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Jerusalem poet Mohammed El-Kurd, Professor Rashid Khalidi, Lubna Shomali of Badil, and Umar Al-Ghubari of Zochrot. Cohosted by FMEP, Project48, and the Middle East Institute, Co-sponsored by Carnegie Endowment and Institute for Palestine Studies.
- [Webinar] “Palestinians, Israelis, 1948, & Now: On Researching, Teaching, and Asserting the Reality of the Nakba” featuring leading scholars Sherene Seikely, Leena Dallasheh, and Shay Hazkani. Co-hosted by FMEP & Project48.
On the Deir Yassin Massacre
- A 2017 expose in Ha’aretz: “Testimonies From the Censored Deir Yassin Massacre: ‘They Piled Bodies and Burned Them‘”
From Hasan Hammami
From Dina El-Muti
- “We must never forget the massacre in Deir Yassin” (Dina El-Muti in Electronic Intifada)
- “The scars of Deir Yassin and our determination to survive” (Dina El-Muti in Electronic Intifada)