GUEST BLOG: Lois Griffiths – Happy Birthday Ahed Tamimi

By   /   February 1, 2018  /   3 Comments

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Sixteen year old Ahed Tamimi ‘s birthday is on 31 January of this year. She will not be having a party. Instead she will still be alone, in an Israel prison.

Sixteen year old Ahed Tamimi ‘s birthday is on 31 January of this year. She will not be having a party. Instead she will still be alone, in an Israel prison. Her case has attracted the attention of people of conscience around the world. Rallies are being held in many cities in Europe, America, South America , South Africa, Australia and  New Zealand. Some groups are holding birthday parties on Ahed’s behalf. This cake was made for a Berlin rally. Birthday cards from around the world are being posted to Ahed.

The American peace campaigners Code Pink have designed a card.

Will she receive them? Who knows?

Samidoun.net has posted an Amnesty International report, summarizing Ahed’s case. 

“16-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has been called the ‘Rosa Parks of Palestine’. For years, she and her family have bravely stood up against the Israeli occupation. But she now faces up to 10 years in prison over an altercation with Israeli soldiers. Ahed Tamimi was arrested on 19 December along with her mother, Nariman Tamimi, and cousin Nour Tamimi after Nariman, also a prominent activist, posted the footage online. Ahed confronted the soldiers amid a demonstration in Nabi Saleh against US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The incident took place on the same day that Ahed’s cousin, 15-year-old Mohammad Tamimi, was hit in the head at close range by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier. His family told Amnesty International that he required surgery that involved the removal of part of his left skull. Israel refuses to release Ahed pending trial. Court proceedings against her will begin on January 31, the day of her 17th birthday. Rather than celebrating with family and friends, eating cake, and having a party, Ahed will spend her birthday in a military courtroom. She will sleep that night in a prison cell. Ahed is one of 350 children imprisoned by Israel.”

The AI report should have added that Ahed has received disturbing threats.   Ben Caspit, a prominent Israeli journalist, demanded  that the army should “exact a price” from the Tamimi women “in the dark, without witnesses or cameras.”

Interesting that the AI report described Ahed Tamimi as the ‘Rosa Parks of Palestine’. I grew up in America. I can remember the Rosa Parks incident. She  is the African-American woman who refused to move to the back of the bus when ordered to. This happened in Alabama in 1955. The incident captured the public’s imagination, and indignation, and strengthened the civil rights movement. 

Others have compared Ahed Tamimi to Anne Frank. Sometimes one particular case will resonate worldwide in a way that grim horror statistics cannot.

Will worldwide public anger at last  demand that Israel be boycotted until it releases all child prisoners, not just Ahed? Or, as many fear, will the western world  continue to look the other way.  I can’t  bring myself to use the phrase ‘international community’.

Maybe the moral leadership so lacking, will come from France. French academics and writers published a collective letter in the prominent newspaper Le Monde, focusing on the case of Ahed Tamimi and of the approximately 360 Palestinian child prisoners, some as young as 12,  in Israeli prisons. 

“We call for the support and intervention of the President to stop the detention of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons. We especially wish to draw attention to the case of Ahed Tamimi, pursued by the Israeli government. ” The letter praised the ” courage of an unarmed teenager confronting two heavily armed soldiers.” The letter also pointed out that ” the twelve counts of indictment brought against her could carry a sentence of 12 years in prison. Israeli military courts deal exclusively with Palestinian prisoners, with a conviction rate of 99.74 percent. Thus, the future of Ahed Tamimi appears dark without intervention.” The writers challenged the French President, “We call on the President to provide urgent support for the immediate release of Ahed Tamimi and the dismissal of all charges against her.”

We have a new Government. Does it dare play a new role on the world scene? Do we have moral leaders to challenge the Government?  

I hope there will be a good  turnout for the Free Ahed Rally being held in several centres, on 03 February at 2pm.   Please remember, this is about children. Shouldn’t we care about all children, everywhere? What if Ahed were your daughter?

 

Lois Griffiths is a human rights activist 

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3 Comments

  1. john says:

    Ahed Tamimi is a hero and also finally a young woman becoming a symbolic figure for the Palestinian peoples plight against European colonialism and Zionism that has been a death sentence for the Indigenous population!! Free Ahed Tamimi Free Palestine

  2. Donna Miles says:

    Ahed is a symbol of resistance and a great role model for courage and activism. Thank you for this article Lois and see you at the Free Ahed Rally on the 3rd.

    • Indeed, Donna. I suspect Israel’s greatest fear is that a non-violent, pacifist resistance will arise in Gaza and the West Bank, much along the lines of Ghandi and our own Parihaka. Faced with unarmed, non-violent resistance, an Israeli military backed by an arsenal of atomic bombs, huge tanks, modern firearms, and stormtrooper-garbed soldiers will lose the all-important battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world.

      A single young woman, with the eyes of seven billion eyes upon her, can humble a military that has won previous conventional wars.

      2018 is becoming the year that women flexed their strength.