Ahed #Tamimi speaks

Ahed Tamimi’s Speech at Brussels Women’s Conference

Ahed Tamimi speaking at the The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Struggle Conference (Image by Alberto Hugo Rojas)

Ahed Tamimi spoke with grace and eloquence at a 2017 conference on the role of women in the Palestinian struggle. She noted, “we’re not fighting against the Jews, we are fighting Zionism…Jewish people are also victims of Zionism… please, supporters, show your solidarity…it’s incumbent on everyone in the world to find the solution.”

The European Parliament in Brussels hosted a conference on the role of women in the Palestinian popular struggle on Sept 26, 2017. Ahed Tamimi, who was 16 at the time, was one of the featured speakers.

In a Newsweek oped, I Watched Ahed Tamimi Grow Up And I Know Why She Defended Her Home, Mariam Barghouti writes, “Ahed, now 16, was once the shy girl that barely whispered whenever she was asked questions. Her voice was sweet and it lent itself to a vulnerability that makes you tread carefully and with kindness…(she was) barely nine when protests began…The little girl with the shy voice realized at a young age that she could not afford to be quiet, that whispers are a luxury afforded (to) those that do not have to defend their homes from daily raids, from land annexation, or incarceration.”

Ahed’s mother, Nariman, was scheduled to be at this conference with her, but had to cancel when Ahed’s brother was shot the day before. And yet, Ahed was poised and articulate:

Palestinian women are) suffering day after day after day. We need to overcome our own fears because we really are in an extremely difficult situation…believe me, when I say the situation is almost unimaginable…Can you really understand everything that’s going on in Palestine? It’s difficult when you’re so far away, to understand the day-to-day problems that we face.

She appropriately placed some responsibility at the feet of the world community:

I’ve come here to try and explain to you what the situation is, and to remind you of the situation that we live in… the reason is, you have a responsibility (to) Palestinian people.

We’re paying the price for the Holocaust, which took place in Europe, and that’s having negative repercussions in our lives.

I think that you have a responsibility to not just help us, but also to show solidarity and to demand with all authorities that the Palestinian struggle should be seen as a humanitarian struggle.

…it’s incumbent on everyone in the world to find the solution.

And she clarified what the Palestinians are resisting, noting they are not resisting Jews:

The struggle in Israel and Palestine is not just a struggle between two peoples.

In the media we always see comments which say that we don’t respect the Jews; we don’t respect the Jewish state…

But we’re not fighting against the Jews, we are fighting Zionism.

…We have nothing against the Jewish people…we have a problem with Zionism, and the racism we face on a daily basis.

Zionism is pushing the Palestinian people into the abyss. We suffer from Zionism.

Furthermore, Zionism is also affecting the Jewish people, themselves. It’s affecting those Jewish people who show solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

These Jewish people are also victims of Zionism.

It’s not only the Jewish people who show solidarity with Palestine who are victims. The children of Zionism who are being cultivated to kill, maim, torture and destroy other children, are victimized as well.

Oftentimes the ages of the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian children they shoot are so close, if they lived in America, they might be high schoolers partying together on a Saturday night. Instead, they are pitted against each other, fueled by the ancient rage of toxic patriarchy.

Ahed continued, comparing the apartheid situation that Palestinians endure, with that of South Africa:

While (I was in South Africa) I learned a lot while I was seeing what had happened in the past. Israel is trying to impose its system, it’s trying to impose racial hostility, trying to impose racism, it’s trying to impose the racial and religious struggle in a similar manner as was seen in South Africa…the native inhabitants were able to free themselves, they were able to overcome this oppression despite the fact that they didn’t, in theory, have the necessary resources to do so… they’re a very good example…Palestine could do the same…

She is dedicated to a justifiable freedom for her people:

I firmly believe that our people are a noble people, that our people are fighting for freedom, and…the suffering that we’re going through needs to become a situation where our people can show their dignity and can overcome and free themselves from the occupation that we’re faced with.

And she reflected on the role and strengths of Palestinian women in their struggle:

Palestinian women have a very important role in the Palestinian struggle.

Women are the core of society. Normally they bring up the children and convey the values to the children. Now if they do so, then if they convey the importance of the Palestinian struggles and they can pass this on to the next generations, maybe this will be the key to helping us to overcome the the occupation.

I’d like to leave you with one clear idea, and that is that the world needs to recognize the Palestinian cause: The Palestinian people are protecting their own right to exist.

Ahed Tamimi’s 10-minute speech can be found in the video below, from 23:15 – 34:42.

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