Living Memory: Palestinian Artists Mark 75 Years of the Nakba


FMEP & Project48 proudly present a very special podcast commemorating 75 years of the Palestinian Nakba. We are honored to share the voices of 10 powerful Palestinian artists, sharing their works and that of other iconic Palestinian creators.

Featured artists are: Ahmed Abu Artema, Hala Alyan, Suad Amiry, Zeina Azzam, Cherien Dabis, Fady Joudah, Tamer Nafar, Raja Shehadeh, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Waleed Zuaiter – reading their own work and that of other iconic Palestinian artists. Bios and links to the works of each artist can be found below.

The Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) is the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land, and the destruction of Palestinian society during the creation of the State of Israel – a destruction that continues today. Learn more at: For more programming from FMEP on the Nakba please visit:

Occupied Thoughts by FMEP · Living Memory: Palestinian Artists Mark 75 Years of the Nakba

This podcast was produced by Nadia Saah for Project48 and Kristin McCarthy for FMEP, and edited by Jeffrey Carton.

Published May 12, 2023

Project48 provides educational material, eyewitness testimonies, images, videos and artifacts that bring to life the Palestinian Nakba (“Catastrophe” in Arabic), its generational impact, and the struggle for return of Palestinian refugees. The Nakba refers to the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians during the creation of Israel as a Jewish majority country on land that had a two-thirds majority Palestinian Arab population. The Nakba is present-tense, as the displacement of Palestinians and the destruction of Palestinian life has been ongoing for over a century.

Participant Biographies & Works (alphabetical order)

Ahmed Abu Artema

Ahmed Abu Artema is a Palestinian writer and activist who believes in civil nonviolent struggle to achieve justice, freedom, and equality. Ahmed’s family was expelled from their home in the Ramle district in 1948, and he was born in 1984 in Rafah, Gaza, where he now lives with his wife and four children. As an independent journalist in Gaza, he has written for dozens of publications (and in English in several U.S. publications The New York Times, the Nation, and the Journal of Palestine Studies) and authored a book in Arabic called “Organized Chaos.” He has also contributed to several documentaries, including the Al Jazeera film “Which Rafah Are You From?” about the tragic separation of Rafah following the Camp David Accords and its impact of displacing thousands of families, including his own. In 2018 he was featured in a documentary film by Karim Shah produced by Al Jazeera news network, “Gaza: Between Fire and Sea.

Ahmed read his poem, “If I Was A Bird.”

To follow Ahmed’s writing and poetry, see his author pages on Mondoweiss, Al Jazeera, and Electronic Intifada.

Hala Alyan

Hala Alyan is the author of the novel “Salt Houses,” winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize. Her latest novel, “The Arsonists’ City,” was published in March 2021 and was a finalist for the 2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize. She is also the author of four award-winning collections of poetry, most recently “The Twenty-Ninth Year.” Her work has been published by The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets, LitHub, The New York Times Book Review and Guernica. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter, where she works as a clinical psychologist.

Hala read “The Interviewer Wants to Know About Fashion”

For more of Hala’s work, please visit:

Suad Amiry

Suad Amiry a Palestinian writer and architect, has been living in Ramallah since 1981. Born in Damascus, Amiry grew up between Amman, Damascus, Beirut and Cairo. She studied architecture in Beirut (at the American University of Beirut), Michigan, and Edinburgh. Amiry is author of Golda Slept Here, Mother of Strangers, Damascus, Menopausal Palestine: Women at the Edge, Nothing to Lose but Your Life, and the highly-acclaimed Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, which has been translated into 17 languages and was awarded the prestigious 2004 Viareggio Prize. She is the founder and Director of the Riwaq: Centre for Architectural Conservation. She lives in Ramallah with her husband, the academic and political activist Salim Tamari.

Suad read a poem from her book “Golda Slept Here”.

Zeina Azzam

Zeina Azzam is a Palestinian American poet, writer, editor, and community activist. She was selected as the Poet Laureate of the City of Alexandria, Virginia, in April 2022 and serves in this position for three years, from 2022 to 2025. Her full-length poetry collection, Some Things Never Leave You, will be published in June 2023 by Tiger Bark Press. Zeina’s chapbook, Bayna Bayna, In-Between, was published in 2021 by The Poetry Box, which nominated one of her poems (“Traveling with the Speed of Light”) for the Pushcart Prize. In November 2022, The KNOT Magazine also nominated  Zeina’s poem, “Death in War,” for a Pushcart. Her poetry appears in a number of literary journals including Pleiades, Mizna, Sukoon, Passager, Gyroscope, Barzakh, Pensive Journal, Split This Rock, Streetlight Magazine, Cutleaf Journal, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Voice Male. In addition, Zeina’s poems are published in anthologies and edited volumes such as Bettering American Poetry, Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees, Resilient Kitchens: American Immigrant Cooking in a Time of Crisis, Making Levantine Cuisine: Modern Foodways of the Eastern Mediterranean, Tales from Six Feet Apart, and Gaza Unsilenced. Zeina participates regularly in poetry readings locally and nationally. She serves as a mentor for We Are Not Numbers, a writing program for youth in Gaza, and volunteers for humanitarian organizations that support Palestinian  development. She is also active in Grassroots Alexandria, a local group that advocates for the civil rights of vulnerable communities in Alexandria, Virginia, where she lives. Her educational background includes an M.A. in Arabic literature from Georgetown University, an M.A. in sociology from George Mason University, and a B.A. in psychology from Vassar College.

Zeina Azzam read three poems: “My Father Is Now a Memory”[published in, Bayna Bayna: In Between], “Colors for the Diaspora” [published in Lunch Ticket], and “A Refugee Grows Old” [published in Cordite Poetry Review] 

For more poetry by Zeina Azzam, please visit:

Cherien Dabis

Cherien Dabis is a critically acclaimed, award winning Palestinian American film and television director, writer, and actress. Born in the U.S. and raised in Ohio and Jordan, Dabis studied film at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Most recently, Dabis was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for her groundbreaking episode “The Boy From 6B” on Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” Other episodic directing credits include Hulu’s breakthrough comedy “Ramy” and Netflix’s “Ozark.” Her television writing and producing credits include Showtime’s original, groundbreaking series, “The L Word” and Fox’s hit, “Empire.” Dabis got her start with her debut feature Amreeka, which she wrote and directed. The film premiered at Sundance in 2009 and went on to win the coveted FIPRESCI International Critics Prize in the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes. It won a dozen more international awards and was nominated for a Best Picture Gotham Award, 3 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Picture, and named one of the Top Ten Independent Films of the Year by the National Board of Review. It landed Dabis on Variety’s “Ten Directors to Watch” list that same year. Dabis made history when the film broke records in its theatrical release by becoming the most-screened Arab-directed film in US-cinema history.

Cherien read a selection from Ghassan Kanafani’s novella, “Returning to Haifa

To learn more about Cherien and her body of work, please visit:

You can follow Cherien on Twitter at:

Fady Joudah

Fady Joudah has published five poetry collections, received the Yale Series prize, a Guggenhiem Fellowship, the Griffin International poetry prize. His translations of the works Palestinian poets, Mahmoud Darwish, Ghassan Zaqtan, Maya Abu Al-Hayyat and others are widely acclaimed. His most recent translation is of The Blue Light, Hussein Barghouthi’s hybrid prose work. Joudah is also an essayist and a practicing physician of internal medicine in Houston, TX.

Fady read two poems, “Remove” and “Gemini” [published in Tethered to the Stars]

Read Fady’s article on “Remove”, published in the LA Review of Books “My Palestinian Poem that ‘The New Yorker’ Wouldn’t Publish

Tamer Nafar

Tamer Nafar is an Palestinian rapper, actor, screenwriter and social activist. He is the leader and a founding member of DAM, the first Palestinian hip hop group.

Tamer read his poem, “Put Your Arm Around Me”
Follow Tamer across platforms here.

Raja Shehadeh 

Raja Shehadeh is a leading Palestinian author, most recently publishing “We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I” in March 2023. He is also a lawyer and the founder of the pioneering Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq. Shehadeh is the author of several acclaimed books including Strangers in the House, Occupation Diaries, and Palestinian Walks, which won the prestigious Orwell Prize.

Raja read an excerpt from his most recent book, “We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I” .

For more books and articles by Raja Shehadeh, please visit:

Naomi Shihab Nye 

Naomi Shihab Nye is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has appeared widely. She edited the ALA Notable international poetry collection, This Same Sky, and The Tree Is Older Than You Are: Poems and Paintings from Mexico, as well as The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems and Paintings from the Middle East. Her books of poems include FuelRed Suitcase, and Words Under the Words. A past Guggenheim fellow, she is also the author of the young adult novel Habibi, which was named an ALA Notable Book, a Best Book for Young Adults, and winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award as well as the Book Publishers of Texas award from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Naomi read her poem, “Everything in Our World Did Not Seem to Fit”, published in Transfer
For more poetry and writing by Naomi Shihab Nye, please visit:

Waleed F. Zuaiter 

Waleed F. Zuaiter is a BAFTA-nominated actor and Academy Award-nominated producer. Zuaiter will next be seen starring in the second season of SISTER/Sky’s global hit, Gangs of London. He was recently named amongst “The Esquire 40: Meet the Arabs Who are Changing Film and TV,” from Esquire Middle East. Waleed starred in HBO’s Critics Choice Award-winning film Oslo. Zuaiter also headlined the all-star cast in Channel 4’s Baghdad Central, earning Zuaiter a BAFTA nomination and winning the Seoul International Drama Awards Best Actor award (2020). In 2019, Zuaiter starred alongside Sacha Baron Cohen in the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix limited series The Spy, as Colonel Amin al-Hafiz. Zuaiter is the producer and co-star of Omar (2013), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Prize – Best Feature at the Dubai International Film Festival (2013), Best Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (2013), and many other accolades across the globe. As a renowned stage actor, Waleed performed alongside Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in Mother Courage at New York’s Public Theatre. His TV and film roles include, ‘Abboud’ on Netflix’s Altered Carbon, ‘Vincent’ on USA’s Colony ‘Sami’ in Here and Now opposite Sarah Jessica Parker, ‘Charlie’ in Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women opposite Annette Bening, ‘Kamran Barkawi’ in Babak Najafi’s London Has Fallen alongside Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman, ‘President ‘Gamal Abdel Nasser’ in Ariel Vromen’s The Angel, ‘Professor Julian Reed’ in Tim Disney’s William and Saint Judy, opposite Michelle Monoghan.

Waleed read a poem by Mahmoud Darwish entitled, “I Come From There”


Project48 provides educational material, eyewitness testimonies, images, videos and artifacts that bring to life the Palestinian Nakba (“Catastrophe” in Arabic), its generational impact, and the struggle for return of Palestinian refugees. The Nakba refers to the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians during the creation of Israel as a Jewish majority country on land that had a two-thirds majority Palestinian Arab population. The Nakba is present-tense, as the displacement of Palestinians and the destruction of Palestinian life has been ongoing for over a century.