Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, is today commemorating the first anniversary of the death of Ali Kased, long-time activist and organizer for Palestinian national rights. He died of heart failure on April 3rd, 2005, after spending his entire adult life fighting for the Right to Return and self-determination for all Palestinians.
Kased was born in Ein Yabrood, a village near Ramallah, Palestine, on May 27th, 1942, six years before Al-Nakba, or “the Catastrophe,” when over 750,000 Palestinians were driven off their land by European Jewish settler-colonialists and their British allies. These Palestinians and their descendants now number over 6 million people, the largest and longest suffering refugee population in the world, still struggling for the Right to Return to the homes and lands from which they were exiled in 1947-48 and again in 1967.
Al-Awda in North America was established with the active support of Ali Kased, who influenced hundreds of Right to Return activists throughout the U.S. and Canada. And, as this Right continues to come under brutal attack from “Israel,” the U.S., and even from some elements within Palestinian society, we remember Ali Kased and the principle that guided his work: unwavering steadfastness that is representative of the Palestinian people and their yearning to be free.
Today, we celebrate Ali Kased’s life. A life lived as simply as his peasant parents before him. A life lived without the accumulation of individual riches or privileged positions of power. A life in which every waking hour was dedicated to the liberation of all oppressed peoples, whether Palestinians in Gaza, Haifa, or Syria. Colombian farmers resisting government death squads. Iraqis yearning for an Iraq free of imperialist domination; or Black workers in the U.S. Today, we celebrate the life of one of our own.
And especially now, at a time when the Arab world is under attack, when the Palestinians are facing an existential threat, when the rights of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. are being trampled upon, we remember Ali Kased and his determination to be free, his determination to live a life of dignity and respect, his determination to dedicate his life to these ideals. And although he never had the opportunity to return to a liberated Palestine, the people he left behind-his family, his friends, Al-Awda members and supporters-will continue his work until the Right to Return is secured and all of Palestine is free.
And also today, Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, in coordination with Kased’s family, are proud to announce our intention to launch, in the near future, a scholarship fund-in Ali Kased’s honor and in his name-to support the higher education aspirations of Palestinian refugee students.
Long Live Palestine! Right to Return for all Palestinian Refugees! Freedom and Liberation for Palestine and Iraq!