Seizing Catastrophes: The Temporality of Nakba among Palestinians in Denmark

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    Based on fieldwork among Palestinians in Denmark the article investigates the Palestinian temporality of Nakba that is equivalent to a time of security in the sense that it is concerned with existential threats and emergency action. The Arabic term Nakba literally means catastrophe and is in Palestinian national discourse used to designate the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, when more than half of the Palestinian population were expelled from their homeland – a reverse national myth about how Palestine failed to come into being. Yet, according to Palestinians in Denmark, the Nakba cannot be relegated to a distant past but takes place in the present. They use the term Nakba not only to refer to the catastrophe of 1948 but also to designate current catastrophes, such as the Danish Muhammad cartoons affair in 2005 and the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2008. Through an analysis of the 60th commemoration of the Nakba in 2008 and clashes between the police and young Palestinians in 2006, the article demonstrates how Palestinians in Denmark seek to reverse the reverse myth of 1948 by seizing contemporary catastrophes to enact not only past and present Nakbas, but also potential futures. The article concludes that having lost the right to a place in the national order, the Palestinians are at the mercy of time, awaiting the moments of potential becoming.
    TitelTimes of Security : Ethnographies of Fear, Protest and the Future
    RedaktørerMorten Axel Pedersen, Martin Holbraad
    ISBN (Trykt)978-0-415-62859-4
    StatusUdgivet - 2013
    NavnRoutledge Studies in Anthropology

    Bibliografisk note

    Anja Kublitz is Assistant Professor at Global Refugee Studies, Department of Political Science, Aalborg University. She has a PhD in anthropology and has conducted 8 months of fieldwork in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and 16 months of fieldwork among Palestinians in Denmark. Her research interests are among others mutations of conflicts and configurations of political activists. Her recent publications includes ‘The Cartoon Controversy: Creating Muslims in a Danish Setting’. Social Analysis, 2010, 54(3):107-125, and ‘The Sound of Silence: The Reproduction and Transformation of Global Conflicts within Palestinian Families in Denmark’, in: M. Rytter and K. F. Olwig (eds.), Mobile Bodies, Mobile Souls. Family, Religion, Migration in a Global World. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2011, pp. 161-180.


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