Joanna Barakat


My story is that of an indigenous Palestinian and of an American immigrant. To Palestinians, al Nakba, or the catastrophe, refers to the ethnic cleansing (including attacks, massacres, demolitions, and expulsions) that accompanied the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. The Nakba of the Native Americans is dismissed so easily by many Americans as part of the bigger picture that created the nation that we now so proudly identify ourselves with. This strange irony of being a Palestinian living and identifying with a place that belonged to another group of indigenous people who have also been ethnically cleansed from their native land and dehumanized is represented with the spray painted American flag and the hand embroidered Palestinian motifs of stars, trees, and feathers. Brainwashed by our education, our media and our national rhetoric, we disregard the truth and the events that have actually occurred to allow us to create this American identity that we hold on to so tightly. How different is my being American to someone who claims to be Israeli?
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