After the creation of the State of Israel on the land of Palestine in 1948, and the displacement of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their land, some 100,000 of them were expelled from their cities and villages and took refuge in Syria. The experience of those who, over time, have fully integrated in the Syrian society, and its stark contrast with the plight of Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries, open multiple ways to understand the 1948 Nakba in their popular memory.
By conducting field interviews with members of three generations of the Palestinian community in Syria - the first, second and third-, Anaheed Al-Hardan is following and studying the evolution of the Nakba concept -being the main indicator describing the past and present of Palestinian refugees- in the discourse of the Arab thought, the Syrian policy towards the Palestinians, and the commemoration of the Nakba by the Palestinian society. Anaheed’s meticulous research sheds light on the importance of the Nakba and its deep-rooted connotations among the different Palestinian groups that it contributed to create; yet at the same time challenges the common idea at the national and nationalistic levels that memories of the Nakba are general and constant, and do not change among Palestinians. Her study also critically examines the changing meaning of the Nakba in light of the twenty-first century war in Syria.