Nakba Day

Nakba is an Arabic word, translating to “Catastrophe”. It refers to the begin of the occupation of Palestine in 1948 and “Nakba Day” commemorates that event every year.

Earlier today I joined a demonstration that had been organised by the local Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) chapter and a couple of other groups. The participants gathered on Richardplatz, surrounded by heavy police presence.

A handful of counter-protesters showed their blue-white apartheid colours, but stayed behind when the march started.

The whole rally counted something like 300-400 participants (plus as many police) from all kinds of backgrounds. German leftists demanded a socialist and equal state in the Middle East, “Jews for Palestinian Right of Return” showed that not everybody who speaks Hebrew hates Arabs, and local refugees proclaimed “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free”.

Moving through Neukölln’s side streets and all the way up Sonnenallee, the demonstration was received extremely well. Not too surprising, given that this part of Berlin is dominated by a population with Levantine roots.

During a stop at Hermannplatz, various speakers named their hopes and demands, reminding people that today, thanks to Israel, 6.5 Million Palestinians are refugees.

The event ended after about three hours at Kotti. All-in-all quite an interesting Saturday afternoon.

Warsaw: Summary

Poles don’t eat Polish, or hardly at all. Restaurants that specialise in traditional local cuisine are far in between (except in the tourist areas) and it’s much easier to find Italian or Middle-Eastern food.

In that regard, Varsovians and Berliners are pretty much alike. In other regards they are not. One city has clean streets and friendly, considerate people… and the other city is Berlin.

It really is amazing how Berlin looks much more like what I expected Warsaw to look. Sure, both have their fair share of shabby old buildings, but Berlin is the city with rubbish piling in the streets.

The Warsaw locals I interacted with were friendly and helpful and the younger ones have a decent command of English. All-in-all a nice city, I can see myself coming back.