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