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Posts Tagged ‘Nariman Tamimi

Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring 16-year-old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi?

by 28 Dec 2017

Palestinian activist Ahed with her mother Nariman [Al Jazeera]

Their campaigns on empowering girls in the global South are innumerable: Girl Up, Girl Rising, G(irls)20 Summit, Because I am a Girl, Let Girls Learn, Girl Declaration.

When 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of Tehrik-e-Taliban, the reaction was starkly different. Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, issued a petition entitled “I am Malala.” The UNESCO launched “Stand Up For Malala.

Malala was invited to meet then President Barack Obama, as well as the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and addressed the UN General Assembly. She received numerous accolades from being named one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine and Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine to being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, and again in 2014 when she won.

State representatives such as Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard as well as prominent journalists such as Nicholas Kristof spoke up in support of her. There is even a Malala Day!

But we see no #IamAhed or #StandUpForAhed campaigns making headlines. None of the usual feminist and rights groups or political figures has issued statements supporting her or reprimanding the Israeli state. No one has declared an Ahed Day. In fact, the US in the past has even denied her a visa for a speaking tour.

Ahed, like Malala, has a substantial history of standing up against injustices.

She has been protesting the theft of land and water by Israeli settlers. She has endured personal sacrifice, having lost an uncle and a cousin to the occupation. Her parents and brother have been arrested time and again. Her mother has been shot in the leg.

Two years ago, another video featuring her went viral – this time she was trying to protect her little brother from being taken by a soldier.

Why isn’t Ahed a beneficiary of the same international outcry as Malala? Why has the reaction to Ahed been so different?

‘Children of the stones’: the day Palestine was reborn

Ramzy Baroud
by Ramzy Baroud

There are multiple reasons for this deafening silence.

First is the widespread acceptance of Israel state-sanctioned violence as legitimate. Whereas hostile actions of non-state actors such as the Taliban or Boko Haram fighters are viewed as unlawful, similar aggression by the state is often deemed appropriate.

This not only includes overt forms of violence such as drone attacks, unlawful arrests, and police brutality, but also less obvious assaults such as the allocation of resources, including land and water.

The state of Israel justifies these actions by presenting the victims of its injustices as a threat to the functioning of the state.

Once declared a threat, the individual is easily reduced to bare life – a life without political value.

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has described this as a time/place sanctioned by sovereign power where laws can be suspended; this individual can therefore now be made a target of sovereign violence.

Terrorists often fall within this category. Thus, the execution of suspected terrorists through drone attacks without due judicial process ensues without much public uproar.

11-year-old Ahed cries during the funeral of her relative Rushdi Tamimi, who was shot by Israeli forces during a protest in November 2012 [Reuters/Mohamad Torokman]

The Israeli police have deployed a similar strategy here. They have argued for extending Ahed’s detention because she “poses a danger” to soldiers (state representatives) and could obstruct the functioning of the state (the investigation).

Casting unarmed Palestinians like Ahed – who was simply exercising her right to protect her family’s well-being with all the might of her 16-year-old hand – in the same light as a terrorist is unfathomable. Such framing open the way for authorizing excessive torture – Israel’s education minister Naftali Bennett, for instance, wants Ahed and her family to “finish their lives in prison.”

Ahed’s suffering also exposes the West’s selective humanitarianism, whereby only particular bodies and causes are deemed worthy of intervention.

Anthropologist Miriam Ticktin argues that while the language of morality to alleviate bodily suffering has become dominant in humanitarian agencies today, only particular kinds of suffering bodies are read as worthy of this care.This includes the exceptionally violated female body and the pathologically diseased body.

Ahed’s father Bassem Tamimi stands inside a waiting cell ahead of the verdict in his trial at Israel’s Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 20, 2012 [AP/Diaa Hadid]

Such a notion of suffering normalises labouring and exploited bodies: “these are not the exception, but the rule, and hence are disqualified.”

Issues of unemployment, hunger, threat of violence, police brutality, and denigration of cultures are thus often not considered deserving of humanitarian intervention.

Such forms of suffering are seen as necessary and even inevitable. Ahed, therefore, does not fit the ideal victim-subject for transnational advocacy.

Relatedly, girls like Ahed who critique settler colonialism and articulate visions of communal care are not the empowered femininity that the West wants to valourise. She seeks justice against oppression, rather than empowerment that benefits only herself.

Her feminism is political, rather than one centred on commodities and sex.

Her girl power threatens to reveal the ugly face of settler-colonialism, and hence is marked as “dangerous”.

Her courage and fearlessness vividly render all that is wrong with this occupation.

Ahed’s plight should prompt us to interrogate our selective humanitarianism. Individuals who are victims of state violence, whose activism unveils the viciousness of power, or whose rights advocacy centres communal care, deserve to be included in our vision of justice.

Even if we don’t launch campaigns for Ahed, it is impossible for us to escape her call to witness the mass debilitation, displacement and dispossession of her people.

As Nelson Mandela said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

Palestinian non-violent activists killed by Israel

Naomi Wolf posted:

“All the Western MSM have ‘”dies after clashes’ suggesting this minister was violent and the context was militarized or aggressive. Only the Guardian includes the fact that the group was a peaceful group of protesters planting olive trees, in its subhed (that is journalism speak for the explanation below the headline).

See the demonization of Palestinians and Islam almost like an organic law and the story moves from East to West?

And is that second soldier restraining the one choking Abu Ain — or restraining Abu Ain from keeping himself from being choked bythe first soldier? http://www.theguardian.com/…/palestinian-minister-dies-conf…

Israeli Army violence won’t stop our resistance

The Palestinian minister who died after a non-violent protest on Wednesday was a symbol the Palestinian Authority’s support for non-violent popular struggle.

Non-violent Palestinian leaders from across the West Bank talk about how Israel responds violently toward their activities.

Yael Marom published this Dec. 10, 2014

Ziad Abu Ein exits a Palestinian home that settlers vandalized with graffiti reading "Death to Arabs" in late November. (Photo by Rabbis for Human Rights)

A general strike in Ramallah, three days of mourning in the Palestinian Authority and calls for increased protests and non-violent resistance to the occupation.

Those were only some of the responses to the death of Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein, who died during a protest marking International Human Rights Day Wednesday.

Abu Ein, who was the Palestinian Authority official responsible for popular resistance against West Bank settlements, took part in a press conference organized by four Palestinian villages and Israeli human rights group Yesh Din Wednesday morning.

The press conference was timed to coincide with a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice demanding that the Israeli army dismantle the illegal settlement outpost of Adei Ad, in the northern West Bank, and International Human Rights Day.

“We tried to go and plant olive tree saplings today when the soldiers attacked us,” said Abdallah Abu-Rahme, of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC). “The soldiers pushed Abu Ein; he was injured and fell to the ground. He is an older man who had various health conditions, and he died as a result of the blows he sustained.”

The type of direct action used Wednesday is an example of the way non-violent popular resistance has been organized in the West Bank since the Second Intifada. The struggle, which initially came in response to construction of the separation barrier and the ensuing land grabs, uses tools aimed at bringing resistance against injustice to the locations where they those injustices are taking place.

When the resistance is against the separation barrier — they march toward the wall, when it’s about land theft, they attempt to reach those lands and demonstrate there. In the case of today’s action, the activists set out to plant olive trees, a Palestinian symbol, on lands that were confiscated.

Palestinian protesters flee tear gas at a protest in which Palestinian Minster Ziad Abu Eid died. Activists set out to plant olive trees on lands usurped by Israeli settlements, December 10, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In recent years the Palestinian Authority has assumed a larger and larger role in that struggle. Issa Amro, one of the leaders of Youth Against Settlements, an organization that practices non-violent resistance in Hebron, spoke to +972 about Ziad Abu Eid.

“I have known him since he assumed his current role as the official responsible for popular struggle in the West Bank and against settlements,” Amro said. “He really tried to advance the non-violent struggle. He tried to organize non-violent [popular] committees, to organize the youth, political parties and students. He had a vision that 2015 would be the year of Palestinian non-violent struggle.”

Amro said of today’s events: “The army and the settlers turn the leaders of non-violent struggle into targets. That’s their way of preventing us from recruiting more people and more young people into our struggle. Look at how the army responds to non-violent struggle — with disproportionate violence toward the activists.”

Amro brought up Nariman Tamimi, one of the more prominent activists in the resistance by residents of Nabi Saleh against the confiscation of the village’s spring by settlers, who was shot in her leg last month. “They don’t want this type of struggle because if there is a non-violent movement it will weaken the occupation. They say the occupation is there for security, but if the struggle is non-violent then they can no longer justify the occupation.”

Munadir Amira, one of the PSCC’s leaders in the West Bank village of Ni’ilin, told +972: “This is a crime intended to stop these types of non-violent actions. They want us to be violent; they want us to not even open our mouths; they want us to just accept what Israel does.

But we won’t remain silent. This is another example of crimes that are committed by the occupation against non-violent activists. But this crime will not stop us from resisting the occupation. We will continue our struggle and even step it up. In the coming days there will be more actions at the same location and across the entire West Bank.”

Israeli security forces arrive at a tree-planting demonstration marking Land Day in the West Bank village of Bil’in, March 27, 2014. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Asked about the mood in the Palestinian street, Amira said: “Everyone is in shock, but not me. I know the way the Israeli army behaves towards us. Every small mistake by a soldier can cost us our lives. They use gas, they shoot at us. He isn’t the first to be killed in a non-violent action. They kill us — we know that we will pay a price, but that is the price of freedom.”

“Zia Abu Ein was a symbol of the Palestinian Authority’s support for the popular struggle,” said Muhammad Zawara, an activist in the PSCC from the Bethlehem-area village of al-Ma’asara. “He represented the strategy of non-violent action, of protest, and of promoting those tools as a central strategy of the Palestinian Authority.”

Attorney Gabi Lasky, who represents human rights defenders and activists in the popular struggle, and who is a Tel Aviv City Council member for Meretz, said: “On one hand, in a situation of occupation the security forces defend the settlers and land thieves and implement an apartheid regime in the territories. And on the other hand they prevent the residents of that occupied territory from struggling against that [land] theft and apartheid.”

“Instead of ending the injustice they try and curb and prevent non-violent protests. In doing so, the security forces use violence against anyone who attempts to realize their most legitimate right — to protest. That’s what happened here. And this time, like in previous incidents, it ended with death.”

On the non-violent struggle, Lasky said: “The Israeli occupation has found many ways to use force against Palestinian violent struggle. But it doesn’t have an answer to non-violent struggle, aside from sending its leaders to prison.”

Related:
Palestinian minister dies after reportedly struck by Israeli troops

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.


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