African writers recently gathered to commemorate Nakba Day, when 76 years ago Palestinians were violently displaced and dispossessed from their land in 1948. The event took place on May 15 at The People’s Forum, New York, through a night of readings.

Previously, African writers spoke out against the violence in Palestine that started last October. This monumental event not only commemorated 76 years of the Nakba but also sought to amplify the present-day Palestinian liberation struggle and demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Nakba Day is about resisting expulsion and erasure through demonstrations, strikes, protests and by memorializing the names of villages that were uprooted or destroyed in 1948. Since October 7, 2023, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, with 72% being women and children. We are witnessing another Nakba today.

The May 15 event was titled “Nakba Then and Now: Refuse Silence” and presented by Radical Books Collective along with the Polis Project. This event was part of the Publishers for Palestine coalition’s “Exist, Resist, Return: A Week of Action for Nakba Day,” a call to withdraw labor except for Palestine, boycott the war machine, pledge support to local campus encampments, amplify Palestinian voices, and foster a sense of community and solidarity.

Some of the African writers who read from their works included Maaza Mengiste, Mona Eltahawy, Mukoma wa Ngugi, and Omar Berrada. However, participants from all walks of life took to the stage to share their thoughts and express solidarity through poetry, essay, spoken word, song or a personal reflection.

We are grateful for this opportunity for writers and non-writers to honor the memory of the Nakba and support the Palestinian struggle for freedom. See a recording and photos from the night of readings below.


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