March 4 – May 3, 2019: North America Nakba Tour

Welcome once more to Umm Akram and Amena ElAshkar! Our guests have arrived, and the first event for the 2019 North America Nakba Tour will take place Monday, March 4 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Check out our schedule for the first week of the Tour:

Events are being organized in more cities throughout the South and Midwest – but we still have gaps in our schedule. You can help to make sure the critically important voices of these stateless Palestinian refugee women are heard in your community! 

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 Umm Akram (Mariam Fathalla), now 89, to share her personal story of the most tragic event in Palestinian history.

On May 14, 1948, as Zionist leader David Ben Gurion was proclaiming a Jewish state in Palestine, his troops drove out the inhabitants of the ancient Palestinian town of al-Zeeb. 18-year-old Mariam Fathalla (Umm Akram) was one of them. She and her young husband fled to Lebanon. By year’s end the 4,000-year-old community had been leveled. More than half of all Palestinians were killed or expelled and more than half the cities, towns and villages disappeared, a crime that Palestinians call al-Nakba (the Catastrophe). Now 89 years old, Mariam has spent the last 71 years in crowded, makeshift refugee camps in Lebanon. She has raised three generations, all waiting to return to Palestine. She has seen five Israeli invasions of Lebanon, as well as the 1976 Tel al-Zaatar camp massacre that killed more than 2000 refugees there.

Amena ElAshkar, 24, is a Palestinian journalist and translator. the granddaughter and great granddaughter of Nakba survivors and has known no home other than a refugee camp.

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 and Southern California 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.
  • Donate!
  • 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!

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/Tuscaloosa
March 16       Mobile
March 17       New Orleans
March 20       Houston
March 22-23  Austin/San Antonio/College Station
March 25        Dallas
March 26-27 Tulsa/Oklahoma City/Norman/Stillwater
March 28        Arkansas Ozarks
March 30-31  Memphis/Nashville
April 3-4         Louisville/Indianapolis
April 5-6         Champaign/University of Illinois
April 7-8          Midwest college towns
April 10-11      St. Louis
April 13           Columbia, MO
April 15-16      Lawrence/Kansas City
April 17           Omaha/Des Moines
April 18-19      Sioux City/Sioux Falls
April 20-21      Minneapolis
April 22-24      Madison/Milwaukee
April 26-27      Chicago
April 29-May 3 Southern California


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