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Parents and Teachers launch campaign to include the Nakba in B.C. Curriculum

Posted On: 05-04-2024 | International , Palestinian Diaspora
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Vancouver / PNN / 

Parents, teachers, and community groups have called on the BC Ministry of Education to include the Nakba into the curriculum. 

The Nakba refers to the events between 1947-1949 where at least 700,000 Palestinians were violently displaced by Zionist militias during the creation of the state of Israel. 

The campaign has continued to gain momentum after teachers voted in support of a motion at the 2024 Annual General Meeting of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) in mid-March.

“As a Palestinian parent whose family was forcefully displaced in 1948 from Yafa, I want to advocate for my children's inclusion and empowerment in their education,” said North Vancouver parent Sama Ghnaim. “It's more than just telling our history; it's about ensuring all children are deeply acknowledged and valued within the school system. It’s about empowering them to contribute to social justice and intergenerational resilience.”

The group notes that even educators who do talk about Palestine have faced increasing scrutiny over their work. “It’s a scary time to be a Palestinian educator right now. Something as simple as sharing parts of my history or culture feels risky. It is crucial that students have the opportunity to learn about and critically discuss a topic which has been misunderstood for too long,” says a BC educator who has decided not to disclose their name for fear of backlash.

“UN human rights experts are accusing Israel of acts of genocide and students are grappling to understand what is happening,” said Tara Ehrcke, a teacher and delegate at the BC Teachers’ Federation Annual General Meeting. “Teachers passed this motion because the Nakba is essential context to the history of Palestine and Israel, yet it is not discussed at all in schools. Like any other historical event, educators need fact-based guidance.”

“As a Jewish parent whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors, I believe my children need an education that equips them with the knowledge and tools to build a future where genocide is no longer possible,” said Tamara Herman, a Vancouver-area parent and member of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV). “Our kids will be confronted with the future impacts of the genocide that Israel is currently committing in Gaza. Receiving a partial history of the creation of Israel that includes the Holocaust but erases the Nakba robs them of the knowledge and tools they need now and in the future.”

The Nakba means “catastrophe” in Arabic and refers to the displacement and dispossession of at least 700,000 Palestinians by Zionist militias when the state of Israel was created between 1947-1949. Zionist militias committed dozens of massacres, destroyed over 400 villages and forced Palestinians to flee their homes. These Palestinian refugees have never been able to return to their homes or villages or to reclaim their property. The UN has commemorated the Nakba and called for refugee return, property restitution and compensation for Palestinians.


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