Ahed Tamimi’s Occupied Childhood
Aged-17, Tamimi is world famous. Courageous activism begun at age-10 made her one of the most extraordinary figures of our time.
Fearlessly and redoubtably she’s challenging lawless Israeli occupation harshness, its ruthless apartheid rule, its contempt for Palestinian rights, its endless state-terror against them.
She was unlawfully imprisoned for over seven months for slapping a heavily armed abusive Israeli soldier in response to being slapped after demanding IDF forces leave her family property where they don’t belong.
“(E)xtremely happy” to be free, her joy was tempered by thousands of other Palestinians politically imprisoned in Israeli gulag hell.
Expressing their sentiment, she “call(ed) for national unity inside Palestine; for the people of Palestine to remain strong and united in their resistance; and for everyone to stand with the rights of political prisoners and work for their release.”
Her father Bassem earlier said his remarkable daughter will “lead the resistance (against oppressive) Israeli rule.”
During a 2017 visit to South Africa, she said “(w)e may be victims of the Israeli regime, but we are just as proud of our choice to fight for our cause, despite the known cost,” adding:
“(W)e…know the tremendous power that comes from belonging to a resistance movement…shatter(ing) the invisible walls of passivity.”
She urged support for the just Palestinian liberating struggle, the right of its people to live free from Israeli persecution and domination – what everyone worldwide deserves.
Despite the Netanyahu regime banning her foreign travel, she went to France in mid-September, and spoke at a Fete de L’Humanité (Festival of Humanity) event, saying:
“I want to say to Trump that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Palestine.” Diaspora Palestinians “do not need (US) money…to return to our land. We must be united in the face of the occupation.”
“We are not victims. We are fighters for freedom.” At Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, she was honored by the Real Madrid football club.
In Europe for a series of political events, she likely faces harsh Netanyahu regime retaliation on return home, possibly again imprisoning her for political reasons.
She’s the most redoubtable symbol of Palestine’s liberating struggle, undaunted by Israeli threats against her.
Israel considers her and other Palestinian freedom fighters “terrorists” and “incite(rs)” of “hate” and “violence” – how its ruling regimes operated from inception, not Palestinians.
On October 4, Vogue magazine published a letter by Tamimi on “life in and after prison,” saying:
“I am a child of the Israeli occupation. It has always been there. My first real memory is of my father’s arrest in 2004 and visiting him in prison. At the time, I was three years old…”
“Life behind bars was very hard.” Despite Israel breaking up her study class, she read books and managed to pass her final exams.
She was allowed family visits for 45 minutes every two months, separated from her loved ones by a glass barrier.
All imprisoned Palestinians are “symbol(s) of the occupation,” not her alone, she stressed.
“Since I was released on July 29, I have become a spokesperson for the Palestinian cause, which is not easy.”
“With this role comes a great deal of responsibility and pressure. In parallel, I am on a suspended sentence for the next five years.”
“If I say something they don’t like, I can be imprisoned for another eight months. I must tread carefully.”
“People often ask where I find my strength and courage to stand up to the occupation, but I am experiencing a situation which forces me to be strong.”
“Of course, it is also due to the influence of my parents. They remain my biggest inspiration. Yet I believe that everyone in my village is like me.”
“I am not special. Do I sometimes wish that I could just let go and not be strong? No. Under occupation, you must be. I have always challenged my fear and found the strength I needed.”
“…I am not a normal teenager.” Her parents, older brother, and other relatives have been imprisoned despite guilty of no crimes.
Normality is impossible in Palestine. “Under the occupation, everything is a crime…(T)he occupation…is wrong,” not Palestinians struggling to be free.
Everything she and others do react “against the (unlawful, oppressive) occupation…Two states will never come to pass” – because Israel and Washington reject Palestinian self-determination, falsely claiming otherwise.
Tamimi wants to study law but unsure where given what she and other Palestinians endure.
“I have a dream to work internationally, five years from now, doing high-level advocacy for Palestine and speaking at the International Criminal Court in the Hague,” she said.
“I understand that I have this role now, but I have no privacy any more. Sometimes I feel like I am losing myself – my personality. People ask me what life was like in prison, but I wish I didn’t have to talk about it. I just want to forget.”
Committed to continuing nonviolent resistance, she’s especially vulnerable because of global prominence gained.
She persists courageously because no one should endure oppression by a vicious occupier.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."