Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Dear Ahed

Pam Bailey | 11-01-2018

We have been given the address for the Israeli jail where 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi is being held, her detention repeatedly extended as she awaits her sentence. Here are letters from four We Are Not Numbers writers, "sisters in arms." If you would like to write her a letter as well, send it care of this address: HaSharon Prison, Ben Yehuda, P.O. Box 7, 40 330 Israel. For more ways to help, visit the Samidoun website

Haneen and son

Dear Ahed:

I am writing this to you in the hope that one day you will read my words and be as proud of yourself as we are of you.

Dear Ahed, I see in your eyes a flame that would burn anyone who opposes you if they looked into them too long. While your curly, blonde hair is seen by some as little-girlish, I see a tree standing strong against the wind.

Dear Ahed, you give us all hope and courage. I too feel brave when I watch your videos and read about your history of fighting the enemy without being afraid.  

Once I saw you in a dream. I woke up crying, wishing you were free of prison, worrying about what they might do to you. But then I see your picture, look into your eyes and I smile.

I hope you know how much your courage has inspired us all in the midst of our desperation. You remind me what it means to be a Palestinian woman.

Yours,

Haneen Abo Saud
Gaza Strip

___

Dear Ahed,

Courage is such an attractive quality, and you're the most attractive. 

Tarneem

You probably won’t be reading much at the moment, but you should know that you did it, Ahed. You managed to scare the most powerful army in the world. You're scaring them because they know you are strong enough to stand up for yourself and others. You are scaring them because they know you won't allow yourself to be another number on their list.

Ahed, stay strong and keep scaring them with your strength, keep scaring them with your hard looks from your glassy eyes, keep scaring them with your “attitude,” keep scaring them with your fearlessness and, most importantly, keep scaring them by dressing and looking however you want, as long as your brave soul is on display.

I watched a video of you walking into an Israeli military court. I could see that little half smile on your face—half frustration, half anger. That day, they tried to show you who's tough and you dared to be tougher. You should know that Israel will imprison you longer because you're stronger. It will punish you because you're a child who fears no more. It will extend your detention because you're a Palestinian who attracts worldwide attention and admiration. It will try to squelch your spirit because you're an icon of nonviolent resistance. 

The Israeli military officials accuse you of throwing stones, yet they drop bombs and shoot rockets over Gaza and hurl sound grenades and tear gas at Palestinians in the West Bank. Israeli military officials accuse you of threatening an Israeli soldier with nothing but a slap, yet they threaten Gazans with loss of their lives and raid homes, beat children and confiscate property in the West Bank. Israeli military officials accuse you of obstructing a soldier during the performance of his duties, yet they obstruct fishermen and farmers while they simply attempt to earn a living.  Israeli military officials accuse you of incitement, yet they taunt Palestinians in their media every day.

You're now inside a dark, cold jail. Don't let them imprison your mind as well. Focus on your own, inner voice that has never betrayed you. It's okay to cry and to shout if you need to. We all forget you’re still just a teen, and yet you are suffering what would break most adults. But in the end, your brave heart will save you.

Ahed, these days—what may be years—won’t weaken you; instead, they will expose the inhumanity of the Israeli occupation. Thank you for reminding us all of our own courage within us. But what I want the most is for you to be able to return home to your father’s arms and be just a kid.

In solidarity,

Tarneem Hammad
Gaza Strip

___

Dear Ahed,

Rana

You are a beacon of valor and honor at a time when the whole world has deserted us.

When you were born, you opened your pretty, blue eyes to find soldiers barging into your home, wreaking havoc on your family and the people of the village of Nabi Saleh. That scene was repeated regularly throughout your young life. The Israeli soldiers want to uproot you from your homes, to banish you, to wipe out your existence so they can replace you with their illegal settlements.

You are only a child, but you have known nothing of childhood. Girls your age in other parts of the world are busy buying different shades of nail polish, mobile phones and designer clothes. But you were always different. You had to be different. You couldn’t stand idly by, watching those heavily armed soldiers storm in and out of your home and your land as they wished. You stood up to them. No so-called leader in the entire Arab world has exhibited even a tenth of your bravery and spirit.

My lovely girl, the daring look in your unblinking eyes reflects your powerful soul. You have inspired us in countless ways. Please be assured we will not rest until you and all imprisoned Palestinians are free. You are Ahed Tamimi, daughter of Baseem and Nariman, but you also are the daughter of all of Palestine.

History will record that the Tamimis stood up in the face of tyranny when all Arab leaders abandoned us.

You will be free,

Rana Shubair
Gaza Strip

___

Huda

Dear Ahed,

You have proven that a young girl can do much more than anyone expects. We are all proud of you, but as another Palestinian girl, I am particularly proud. You brought hope to all of us. May that slap on the soldier’s face awaken all of the people who have been ignorant or indifferent toward our cause and injustice in general.

Stay strong and courageous; you’re not alone. You are being cradled in the hearts of every person who cherishes his or her humanity.

Sincerely,

Huda Dawood
A Palestinian refugee in Lebanon

 

Posted: January 10, 2018


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