ahed nai saleh meme

I’ve made a meme of excerpts from the opening pars of this engaged & engaging piece, in the hope that it will move readers to read the entire Tablet article,  to become aware of the nature of these “West Bank” centers of civil resistance, & to hopefully become engaged themselves in its struggle for a #FreePalestine, & I think it can only help & perhaps significantly advance this cause if we promote this article’s optimistic prognosis & program of the civil resistance.

& maybe it will help if i add some more excerpts (with some emphases of my own) From Mark LeVine about Nabi Saleh:

Nabi Saleh was where I re-found my humanity. It has become the heartbeat of Zion—the Zion of the Matrix, the post-Apocalyptic holdout for the rainbow vision of what remains of humanity after we destroyed ourselves, not of the nationally and religiously and racially exclusivist Zionism of the real world. Indeed, the only time I feel hope when I’m in Israel or the Occupied Territories is when I’m in Nabi Saleh or one of the other resistance centers, when Palestinians, alongside international and Israeli activists, work together with one goal—to stop the occupation, even at the price of their own well-being and even life (Israeli and international activists have routinely been beaten and even shot during these protests).

Resistance Theater

Along with the village of Bil’in, and more recently the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and half a dozen other locations in the West Bank such as Atwani and the Jordan Valley, Nabi Saleh has been the site of regular (for the most part, weekly) protests against the Occupation for much of the last decade. What makes these protests so important is that they have become the testing ground for militant civil resistance against the Occupation, perhaps the most important tool left to Palestinians to hold the line against (turning back is a distant dream) the ever-expanding territorial encroachment by Israel across the majority of the West Bank that remains under its direct control.

I use the term “civil” rather than “non-violent” resistance because the protests are by no means free of violence. They start off that way—every Friday dozens of people gather at the center of the village, pick up their hand made signs, begin their chants, and march one and all—old and young, Palestinians and (Diaspora and even Israeli) Jews, locals and “internationals” – to the patch of hill between the top of the village and the valley road and spring below, which is coveted by the nearby settlement of Halamish (in fact, only six weeks ago, in October, the Israeli government issued orders seizing yet more land from the village to expand the settlement).

But when the marchers approach the top of the hill, the hill itself, which is usually still empty, suddenly fills with Israeli soldiers at the bottom along the road that leads to a nearby military encampment. And then the performance begins. The soldiers tell the protesters to go back; they refuse. They threaten to fire teargas; the people march forward. Either the tear gas starts or some of the kids start to throw stones (they rarely get close to the heavily armed and fully protected soldiers) but within a few seconds the ‘production’ is in full swing. I say ‘production’ because Nabi Saleh is nothing if not theatre; take your pick: theatre of the oppressed, of the absurd—a “dialectical” or “episches Theater” of the type developed by 20th century luminaries like Piscator and Brecht who desperately wanted to create a political theater that could better represent the intense ferment of inter-war Europe, particularly from below.

If it’s a good day, no one gets too badly hurt. The people protest, kids throw stones and taunt the soldiers well over 100 meters away. The soldiers, if they’re not in a bad mood, don’t unload dozens of canisters at a time, and sometimes people make it to the bottom of the hill, where they sit and chant a few feet from the road while the internationals and the Tamimi family takes video and pictures. A few will try to cross the road to reach their spring, which rarely happens as the soldiers inevitably grab them and push them back. When someone does get through, it’s like scoring the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl.

At some point Ahed or one of the older kids gets up and walks over to the Israeli in charge and uncorks a monologue against the Occupation and his presence on her land that is every bit as eloquent as any Martin Luther King, Jr. unleashed against Jim Crow. Ahed has no fear—NO FEAR. Her hair alone, the likes of which have not been seen around here since Samson, could hold its own against a squad, if not a platoon of Israeli soldiers. I think the soldiers actually have a grudging respect for her and her family. They might be enemies, but they know what they’re really doing there, and they know Ahed and her family are doing precisely what they’d do in her position, if they had the courage.

But if the afternoon is getting late and Shabbat and the weekend are beckoning, the soldiers’ fuses invariably get short. At some point the commander calls or signals her father or another family elder in some way and lets them know it’s time to go home, the play is over. Usually the adults try to disperse the crowd at that point. The international activists and the Israelis as well as the older Palestinians usually begin marching up the hill, more or less out of breath from the tear gas but not too much the worse for wear. One or two might be hunched over or have big welts from being hit by plastic coated steel bullets, but if they weren’t shot at too close range, or in the eye, the injury isn’t too serious. The kids stick around and throw a few more stones, but it all fizzles out soon enough. Solidarity and love pervades the air. It’s the closest to Selma most Americans there could ever hope to get, and in that sense it’s truly like reliving history. Because Nabi Saleh is, in a way, Selma.

Sometimes, however, the Israelis are in a particularly pissy mood, and then all hell breaks loose. It’s hard to describe the experience of being caught in one of these attacks. More tear-gas than you can imagine, rubber bullets, real bullets whizzing by (and if you’re unlucky, into) you, sound grenades that can pop your ear drum from meters away. Members of Ahed’s family have been killed in these attacks; one had his head half blown off by a tear gas canister fired at him from close range.

Every year it seems like the gas gets worse. The last time I was there I misread the wind and got lost in a cloud and, for the first time there, felt like I was going to die. The gas paralyzed me, I could neither breathe nor move, and I literally sunk to the ground watching my life go by, before a small hand reach into the haze from above, grabbed me, and with a strength I still can’t comprehend, literally pulled me up the hill above it. The hand belonged to Ahed’s cousin Muhammad, then around 11 or 12. The same Muhammad shot in the head earlier in the day when Ahed confronted Israeli soliders responsible for his injuries for which she is now being detained.

Once the performance is over, people either head home back to other towns in the West Bank, to Israel or for many of us, enjoy the ritual of dinner with the Tamimis and a night spent sleeping on their living room floor. In these quiet evening moments Ahed and the other kids actually seem like normal kids, dancing and playing, talking, practicing English with guests when they’re not sitting patiently for interminable interviews by activists and journalists. Meanwhile her father Bassem and uncle Bilal immediately upload the days videos and photos onto the internet to make sure a permanent record of the protests exists. Most of the time it’s rather banal watching, but sometimes they capture the horror of their own family members being shot and killed.

If they’re lucky, Saturday and the beginning of the next week are calm and life returns to normal, at least till next Friday when it begins again. But often it’s not so lucky. If you scroll through the videos on the Nabi Saleh YouTube channel you’ll find innumerable videos of midnight raids by Israeli soldiers, of attacks with “shit water” that is sprayed for no reason all over the village and even inside their home, of family members being dragged away into custody for no reason. Most everyone in the family has been beaten, arrested, and even shot. Ahed and her young kin as well as the women of her village are usually left to fight the Israeli soldiers because if an adult man were to go anywhere near a soldier he’ll be shot dead without a second thought.

Believe me when I tell you that you have no idea what life is like for the people of Nabi Saleh, even when you’ve spent many Fridays with them. Or for the people of Bil’in, or the Jordan Valley, or Jenin, or the Hebron Hills. Never mind Gaza. Simply put, we get to leave. They are fighting for their futures, for their lives. This is Palestine.

[Having copied & read (again) to here, & (again) what comes next, i  don’t feel like deleting any of  it, & will just  add some emphases….]

My Daughter and Their Daughter

The first Friday I spent with the Tamimi family I texted my daughter, who was then about 8, a picture of Ahed, with the caption “This is the bravest girl I’ve ever met and I hope you grow up to be like her.” And I meant it, although until Trump was elected President I didn’t think she’d actually have to fight like Ahed, to confront cops here the way Ahed confronts soldiers there. The night Trump won I reminded her of that text, and let her know I might have to bring her to Nabi Saleh sooner than I’d hoped for training. I wasn’t joking, she wasn’t laughing.

Israelis like to criticize Ahed’s role as a child engaged in the struggle against the Occupation, just as they criticized young people throwing stones during the Intifada. They say that the role of children on the front lines shows that Palestinians hate Israelis more than they love their children, and similar arguments. Like many Israeli arguments, this one seems reasonable until you consider it a bit more closely. Let’s start with the obvious question: If Israelis love their kids so much, why do they send them to be brutal occupiers year after year, decade after decade? To shoot, arrest, torture, and kill Palestinians, including thousands of children? Why do they sell their children’s souls for a piece of land that is already inhabited by someone else who’s been there for centuries, when they’ve already conquered most of the land decades ago?

And if Israelis were so concerned about Palestinians’ children, how come they harm and kill so many of themyear after year? Give me a break. Let me be clear: I don’t want my kids anywhere near the violence and hatred I’ve witnessed in Israel/Palestine, but if I were forced to choose, I’d send my kid to fight against a brutal occupation a lot sooner than I’d send her or him to enforce it. I can understand why Bassem watches with pride through the tears as his daughter becomes a leader of the Palestinian struggle before the world’s eyes. What I can’t imagine is how Israelis can watch as their children arrest, beat, shoot, and otherwise humiliate and oppress Ahed’s family and the entire Palestinian people. As Michael Lerner warned two decades ago, their “settler Judaism” is among the gravest threat to Judaism since the Holocaust. If this is Judaism, Hitler won. If you don’t understand this, you’re not paying attention.


No Way to Stop the Performance

But all this is beside the point, because no one is sending their kids to do anything. It’s impossible to stop them. They are growing up in the midst of an unimaginable and unending Occupation. They live without hope and with trauma and violence that is exceeded in only a few even more tragically star-crossed places like Syria, Yemen, Rohingya, or eastern Nigeria. The only hope they have is in fighting, however they can, against the Occupation. “To resist is to exist” the Zapatistas have long said (and Palestinians as well) – “morir para vivir” (dying in order to live). It’s a common theme wherever oppression rules the land. As I wrote above, no one can control Ahed; not when she was 8, and not when she’ll be 18.

Ahed’s parents could chain her to a bed but I’m sure she’d find a way to break those chains. She could very well single-handedly break the chains of a half-century occupation if the Israelis aren’t careful (and they know this, which is why they’re now trying to lick her away, far from the media, people forget about her). People are already imagining her as the first true President of Palestine. Others worry all the focus and hype directed to her is dangerous and doomed to backfire. I think it’s more likely she’s going to be the first Prime Minister of Israel/Palestine; Israelis would be lucky to have her.

[& I think it can only help & perhaps significantly advance the cause of #FreePalestine if we promote this optimistic prognosis & program of the civil resistance.]

People are also criticizing Ahed and the Tamimis for “staging” or otherwise planning her protests. Of course they do. That’s the whole point. They understand that the only way they stand a chance against the Israelis is to play by the script, by the rules of engagement that both sides in the theater that is that hill have more or less agreed to. The script allows the Tamimis and their supporters to at least slow the inexorable take-over of their land. The Israelis get to use their relative “restraint” to show how moral they are. Except for shooting her cousin, of course. And all the other shootings, beatings, arrests, and so on. And now, of course, arresting Ahed (when they came for her cousin last year she and her mother starred in another viral video, in which they grabbed the soldier and pulled Muhammad away from him, pulling his balaclava off his face in the process).

Finally, Ahed is being criticized for saying in one interview that she supports all forms of resistance, even including suicide bombings. As of the time of writing, I haven’t seen or heard the interview where she allegedly made the comment, and I’ve been told her words were mistranslated or taken out of context, as she was arguing that people shouldn’t be surprised at whatever actions Palestinians take, not endorsing a specific action. But assuming the claim is true, I certainly don’t agree with that and if I saw her again I would say so. I also know that’s not at all the position of her family or anyone in the village. Nabi Saleh could as easily become a factory for suicide bombers as Nablus, or Jenin, or Falluja, or Raqqa. But it’s simply utterly foreign to the idea of civil resistance the Tamimis and other Palestinians have developed to use such violence, which they know full well is counter- productive and morally dubious.

Yet this comment also has to be contextualized before being condemned, not least of which by remembering that whatever the historical weight thrust upon her, Ahed remains a young girl who’s lived her entire life under Occupation, and despite the innumerable times she’s repeated the Nabi Saleh mantra of civil resistance, sometimes you just get too pissed, sometimes you can’t stick to the script, even when you more or less believe in it. Let’s remember what former Prime Minister Ehud Barak admitted during the al-Aqsa Intifada: if he were a young Palestinian, he’d have joined a terrorist group. In other words, he wouldn’t be protesting at Nabi Saleh; he’d have long ago blown himself up in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

In reality, the Tamimi family has a long history of nonviolent resistance against a brutal occupation that has stolen their land, brutalized their people, destroyed their homes, and arrested and killed their family. If you want to condemn Ahed’s comment, then you need to condemn the very real violence that has produced it with a lot more vociferousness.


Malala or Mandela?

Not long after her arrest, the scholar Shenila Khoja-Moolji rightly asked why the world has shown such support for Malala Yousafzai, but not for Ahed. Both are young women who’ve faced incredible violence and oppression, and both share the same grit and determination. But it’s also clear that Ahed is a very different person with a different story. She’s suffered less physically, at least so far. But she also didn’t have the luxury of being “saved” by her former colonizer. Spirited away to the UK to be healed, given citizenship, given a Nobel Prize. Feted around the world as a symbol of what a Muslim women can and should be. And, of course, Malala stood up to America’s mortal enemy, the Taliban, while Ahed is fighting America’s darling, Israel. As long as there’s no understanding of how close Israel’s treatment of Palestinians mirrors the Taliban’s treatment of women – no rights, permanent confinement to ever smaller prisons, violence and murder without regard to international law or morality – there’s no chance Ahed will ever be seen in the same light as Malala.

God bless Malala. I bought her book for my daughter. We watched the documentary. I hope she grows up with Malala’s courage and determination. But Ahed doesn’t have that chance. She doesn’t have that fresh start. She probably wouldn’t even get a visa to go to the UK or the US today. She won’t sell millions of books. And the Israelis will likely convict her of assault and stick her in a prison for years, hoping the world forgets about her. Even if they do, they’ll never break her. She may not be Malala, but Ahed could well wind up Mandela. That much becomes clear the moment you meet her.

And it’s our job, the job of every person with a conscience, to support her, her family, and all the Palestinians and their Israeli and international allies who risk so much to fight for the little land that hasn’t been swallowed up by Israel, and in so doing to fight for a future in the Holy Land when Palestinians can breathe the air freely, without tear gas, or shitty water, or the smell of blood and tears, around them; and as important, where Israelis can reclaim their humanity.






I’ ve memed & am sharing this quote from Ben Taub, http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/aleppos-evacuation-is-a-crime-against-humanity, today, not because I’m unhappy that the UN Security Council passed the resolution (which some have already rightly described as toothless [1, 2, 3) condemning the Zionist State’s settlements in the West Bank of occupied Palestine: toothless or not, it may well have some resonances that may bring more strength & encouragement to ‘activists living in other repressive parts of the world’ (& in those parts that don’t seem to be repressive but continue to support & be complicit in all the repression & oppression, etc). & I’m sharing it mainly because I feel it’s important for all who seek solidarity worldwide against all these repressions & oppressions to always remember that the international community really is satisfied with what’s going on.

‘The international communityprofits from it. ‘The international community’ is a company of self-interested nations. ‘Inter-national’ activities are either competitions or collaborations, alliances or confrontations, etc etc. Good for World Cups, Olympics,war coalitions, peace-keeping interventions, sporadic humanitarian actions. No  real hope that this ‘community’ would put an end to repressions & oppressions that bring the repressors & oppressors profits & power. Just as there is no real hope that this ‘community’ will do anything really substantial about climate change. So what could be a way for a worldwide solidarity, a worldwide resistance to oppression & repression that is simultaneously committed to preserving life on our perilously warming planet, to circumvent & transcend the national structures & strictures, to become the force that is necessary to make the necessary changes? Something to meditate about…

THE MONARCH IS NO FOOL, & HE IS SOLIDLY BACKED BY THE EMPIRE– three sentences (with numerous parentheses)


He is no fool (though many of his opponents think he is & deride him publicly accordingly), the four-times elected (presently in his third time in a row) monarch (surely the correct word, “a sole and absolute ruler of a state or nation”, which by now for all practical purposes I’d say he is) of the Zionist State (I prefer not to use the name this state has in my opinion usurped & has no real right to, because it has for millennia been the Hebrew name for all Jewry in the world, most of whom live outside & are not represented by that state), Mr Rightson Godgiven (this is a fair Englishing of his Hebrew name; look up Yahu).

In many ways, he’s a genius, & has proved himself to be a superb manipulator not only within the Zionist State (where he has securely established an administration whose functionaries do his bidding, where the taxes of citizens pay for the subsidizing of settlers in the occupied “West Bank” while the health, welfare, educational; cultural & social needs of the citizens within the State proper are ignored, where activities against his policies & practices are suppressed &/or punished, where an indoctrinated &/or terrified populace is continually conned into not feeling compassion or objecting to the continuing brutality of the continuous occupation & the continuing non-acknowledgment of the Nakba that has been ongoing for almost 70 years, & of the Zionist State’s responsibility for it, where everything that a humane observer would excoriate & rage about is allowed to continue through the power of fear &/or the Big Lie of “the nation-state of the Jewish people”, to the extent that most of the populace don’t even feel complicity in the crimes against humanity their state is continuously committing) but also in the international arena, as his latest triumph in getting Egypt to withdraw its resolution from the Security Council agenda yesterday.

Except that here (as in numerous previous ventures & interventions by him outside of & on behalf of the Zionist State) he mightn’t have succeeded had there not been powerful interests who do not want to see the Zionist State’s power in Palestine & in the Middle East weakened, not because they favor or love or even care for Zionism as such (though having more “white” Jews there might seem better to & for them than having it all inhabited by “black” Arabs), but because there is more profit & power for them if things continue as they are. As monarch of the Zionist State he has solid backing from the “Western” global neo-liberal Empire…

Aya Zinati: “We Are Not In The Same Boat. A Letter to Israeli Feminists”

[My translation / Hebrew original below / מקור בעברית בהמשך]

To Israeli feminists and activists I say clearly and emphatically: No, we’re not in the same boat, and we’re not partners in the same struggle.

Such partnership is not possible because we don’t undergo the same oppression. We can’t be partners because you (and to be fair, I’ll say the crushing majority of you) don’t acknowledge the injustice of the Nakba and the oppression of the occupation that began in 1948, continued in 1967, and to this day.

This injustice and this oppression cannot be separated from what we’re undergoing today. We were expelled, murdered and raped in 1948 and in 1967 and the vast majority of you denied and continue to deny this fact, and whenever we bring it up you choose to abandon the struggle. For this reason it’s important to make clear that we, the Palestinian women living within the borders of the State of Israel, and also the Palestinian women living in the West Bank, Gaza, and in the Palestinian diaspora, have been conducting a single (although changing and developing) feminist-national struggle for many years, from back in the days of the British occupation and even before that. We have struggled against the Zionist occupation since 48, and at the same time we have conducted a struggle against the patriarchy that dominates in most of the strata of our Palestinian society. We do not need beside us Israeli women who are willing to “support” us in a way that is partial, conditional, limited and stuttering. For how is it possible to champion values of feminism and equality, but not to acknowledge and not to be willing to speak about oppression and occupation? I need to note that a very few of you are indeed willing to speak about the occupation, and particularly about the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, but those voices dissolve under the majority of you who aren’t willing to speak about this at all. How can a settler-woman in a house and on land that she has stolen from another Palestinian woman and family expect us to sit at a table and speak about partnership and women’s rights? It’s impossible, period. A Palestinian woman who participates in such a discourse places herself from the outset in a weak and hypocritical position, and is perhaps unaware of the danger in such a discourse.

We are in two boats, and they’re essentially different. We, the Palestinian feminists, don’t need women who’ll preach morals to us, or tell us how we ought to conduct our struggle – just as you wouldn’t be willing to accept men who’ll tell you how to conduct your struggle. We know very well how to conduct ourselves, how to demand and obtain our rights, what to say and when! We know that our journey is very long and hard. It includes resistance to the occupation, resistance to the patriarchy, and resistance to women who think they’ll redeem us from oppression while they themselves take part in our oppression but don’t have the courage to acknowledge this. You want a shared and comfortable struggle, but we’re not comfortable at all with this equation, and in this struggle too we’ve decided to break the silence. We erred and were silent a lot, and there are those who are still silent, but the day will come when they too will reach the right conclusions. Once we thought that you’d take it in, that you’d understand, that you’d acknowledge, but to our regret nothing has changed, and to be truthful it isn’t worth the effort, when we find ourselves expressing and explaining our position again and again, and while every new Israeli women’s project that wants to work in partnership with us repeats your willingness to speak only on gender problems in society, your evasions of speaking in a truthful way about the price the occupation extorts from is, and your expectations that we’ll be willing to give up.


Palestinian women demonstrating outside the British High Commissioner’s HQ, 1929

The struggle being conducted by Palestinian women wasn’t born yesterday. Here are some historical facts you should know: the Palestinian feminist movement was born in 1893, when women demonstrated against the establishing of the first Zionist settlements in Palestine, on lands of Palestinian villages. Already at its outset this struggle was interwoven with the Palestinian national struggle. In 1904 the first Palestinian women’s NPO [non-profit organization] was formed. In 1910, Palestinian women in Jaffa set up an NPO for women’s empowerment, which among other things assisted women to study and to get an education. In 1917 women demonstrated against the Balfour Declaration. In the late 1920s many Palestinian women’s NFOs were formed. Some of these engaged in politics and in the Palestinian national project, others in health, education, economics, empowerment, and in advancing women on all levels. The first union of Palestinian women was formed in 1919, with the participation of women from many towns and villages, including Akka, Haifa, Jaffa, Nablus, etc. The first congress of Palestinian women took place in in 1929, with hundreds of women taking part. Many important congresses like it have been held since then, and continue to do so. Women participated in the Palestinian revolution and took part significantly in the uprising and the resistance, were part of the Palestinian army until 1948, and Palestinian women fighters were killed in the course of the fighting beside those women who were killed in their homes, in mosques they were hiding in from the shelling and the shooting, or while they were fleeing with the intention of returning one day. Palestinian feminist history is too long to detail in a short post, and these are only several details from it.
– Does any of you know it? Has any of you invested time in learning about it?

Since 48 the movement has undergone many changes: the messages, the goals, and of course the women themselves, have changed, but we’re proud to be daughters of this strong and empowering movement. We are another generation, and a generation is lacking, because many are not with us physically. Our partners in the struggle live in refugee camps in Arab countries after being expelled in the Nakba, others were expelled to the West Bank or Gaza and live there, in addition to the Palestinians who were already living in the part of Palestine that was occupied in 67. We wish for the moment when all Palestinian women will be able to return to their homes, to their lands, to their homeland, we wish for the moment when we’ll be able to work together without any barriers or limitations. For this too is a right that has been stolen from us, and you choose to deny this. We, Palestinian women, the majority of us, will always be here, in order to say this.

And from here I wonder, and today in a loud and proud voice, how is it possible to talk about feminism and to refuse to talk about the occupation since 48? How is it possible to talk about feminism and not to talk about the Palestinian women who were raped in 48? How is it possible to refuse to hear about cases of sexual harassment by men of the Border Police undergone since always and to this day by women activists during demonstrations and during interrogations? How is it possible to be a feminist and to champion values of freedom and equality, and to represent Palestinian women as weak, and Israeli women as saviors and not as occupiers? How is it possible to dare to demand of the Palestinian women that they put aside their national and political pain, so as to sail with them on a phoney journey of liberty that perpetuates the occupation? You keep repeating “Why drag everything back to the Nakba?”, and we keep declaring “Every day is Nakba” – of brave, strong women, who will change society, but in a different boat than yours, a boat that we have built, and we know where it’s heading.

Aya Zinati is a Palestinian feminist activist, residing in Lod, and a leading figure in the struggle against violence towards women in that city and in Palestinian society within the 48 boundaries

Here is the FB post with the Hebrew original , as shared by Miri Barak, who wrote: “A clear and strong voice. Every day is Nakba”.

וכאן הפוסט עם המקור בעברית

A Song for Palestine (שיר לפלשתינה (א”י

גן נעול.

A locked garden. A shut-up garden. A walled garden. A garden inclosed, a garden enclosed.

The title of  a comprehensive report, with vivid photographs (for those who want to see &/or know) on Zionist Jewish-Israeli landgrabs in the “West Bank” areas of Palestine occupied since 1967, “A LOCKED GARDEN: Declaration of closed areas in the West Bank” has inspired this Song for  (& to & with) Palestine.

My sister, my spouse.

אחותי כלה.

song for palestine meme