[Pnews] Palestine - Ahed is only 16, and no father is prouder of his daughter than me

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 29 11:17:53 EST 2017


  Ahed is only 16, and no father is prouder of his daughter than me

Bassem Tamimi Dec 29, 2017

This night too, like all the nights since dozens of soldiers raided our 
home in the middle of the night, my wife Nariman, my 16-year-old 
daughter Ahed <https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.829893> and Ahed’s 
cousin Nur <https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.830151> will spend 
behind bars <https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.831838>. Although it 
is Ahed’s first arrest, she is no stranger to your prisons. My daughter 
has spent her whole life under the heavy shadow of the Israeli prison — 
from my lengthy incarcerations throughout her childhood, to the repeated 
arrests of her mother, brother and friends, to the covert-overt threat 
implied by your soldiers’ ongoing presence in our lives. So her own 
arrest was just a matter of time. An inevitable tragedy waiting to happen.

Several months ago, on a trip to South Africa, we screened for an 
audience a video documenting the struggle of our village, Nabi Saleh, 
against Israel’s forced rule. When the lights came back on, Ahed stood 
up to thank the people for their support. When she noticed that some of 
the audience members had tears in their eyes, she said to them: “We may 
be victims of the Israeli regime 
<https://www.haaretz.com/misc/tags/israel-occupation-1.478159>, but we 
are just as proud of our choice to fight for our cause, despite the 
known cost. We knew where this path would lead us, but our identity, as 
a people and as individuals, is planted in the struggle, and draws its 
inspiration from there. Beyond the suffering and daily oppression of the 
prisoners, the wounded and the killed, we also know the tremendous power 
that comes from belonging to a resistance movement; the dedication, the 
love, the small sublime moments that come from the choice to shatter the 
invisible walls of passivity.

“I don’t want to be perceived as a victim, and I won’t give their 
actions the power to define who I am and what I’ll be. I choose to 
decide for myself how you will see me. We don’t want you to support us 
because of some photogenic tears, but because we chose the struggle and 
our struggle is just. This is the only way that we’ll be able to stop 
crying one day.”

Months after that event in South Africa, when she challenged the 
soldiers, who were armed from head to toe, it wasn’t sudden anger at the 
grave wounding of 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi not long before that, just 
meters away, that motivated her. Nor was it the provocation of those 
soldiers entering our home. No. These soldiers, or others who are 
identical in their action and their role, have been unwanted and 
uninvited guests in our home ever since Ahed was born. No. She stood 
there before them because this is our way, because freedom isn’t given 
as charity, and because despite the heavy price, we are ready to pay it.

My daughter is just 16 years old. In another world, in your world, her 
life would look completely different. In our world, Ahed is a 
representative of a new generation of our people, of young freedom 
fighters. This generation has to wage its struggle on two fronts. On the 
one hand, they have the duty, of course, to keep on challenging and 
fighting the Israeli colonialism into which they were born, until the 
day it collapses. On the other hand, they have to boldly face the 
political stagnation and degeneration that has spread among us. They 
have to become the living artery that will revive our revolution and 
bring it back from the death entailed in a growing culture of passivity 
that has arisen from decades of political inactivity.

Ahed is one of many young women who in the coming years will lead the 
resistance to Israeli rule. She is not interested in the spotlight 
currently being aimed at her due to her arrest, but in genuine change. 
She is not the product of one of the old parties or movements, and in 
her actions she is sending a message: In order to survive, we must 
candidly face our weaknesses and vanquish our fears.

In this situation, the greatest duty of me and my generation is to 
support her and to make way; to restrain ourselves and not to try to 
corrupt and imprison this young generation in the old culture and 
ideologies in which we grew up.

Ahed, no parent in the world yearns to see his daughter spending her 
days in a detention cell. However, Ahed, no one could be prouder than I 
am of you. You and your generation are courageous enough, at last, to 
win. Your actions and courage fill me with awe and bring tears to my 
eyes. But in accordance with your request, these are not tears of 
sadness or regret, but rather tears of struggle.

/Bassem Tamimi is a Palestinian activist./

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