“We should extend our struggles to one another in order to end all of the world’s injustices. We are all victims of some kind of occupation. We, as Palestinians, won’t let anyone suffer alone.”
These are the words of Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl from Nabi Saleh who was arrested from her home on Tuesday, December 19th at 4am in the morning. Around 30 Israeli soldiers and Border Force raided the home of Tamimi in response to a viral video that showed Ahed, Nariman Tamimi (her mother) and Nour Tamimi (her cousin) refusing to let IDF soldiers enter their house. The video shows Ahed slapping the soldier in an attempt to keep him off her personal property upon which he had no legal right to stand on.
Ahed’s anger and defiance that is seen in the video reflects the state one would be in after seeing their young, 14-year-old cousin being shot in the face by a rubber bullet at the hands of these same occupation forces only a day ago. Her cousin, Mohammad Tamimi has just returned after going through a coma induced by rubber bullets fired to his head by IDF soldiers during a protest just last week. This sort of injustice is what Ahed has grown up around, whether that be her seeing her two uncles being killed during weekly protest right before her eyes, the incarceration of her father who at one point spent three years in administrative detention without trial, the murder of her aunt at the hands of occupation forces, the imprisonment of her brother and the continuous annexation of Palestinian land around them. These brutalities of living under occupation gave Ahed no choice but to resist, fight back and never back down. From a ‘shy girl that barely whispered’ the horrors of occupation forcefully transformed her into a girl that was able to look her oppressor in the eye and not falter.
The recent video of her defying a group of Israeli soldiers left the occupying force of Israel restless as it displayed the power and bravery existent within every Palestinian child. This led to an organised campaign against her which saw people like the Minister of Education Naftali Bennet declaring that the two Palestinian girls “should spend their lives in prison.” Since her arrest, her mother and her cousin have also been arrested. The three Tamimi women are currently in prison, while Nour and Nariman are together, Ahed has been placed with hard-core Israeli criminals. Remember, she is only 16. When talking to Mariam Barghouti, Ahed’s mother amply described living under occupation as ‘a place of butchered childhoods’.
But despite these horrors, the Tamimi family’s refusal to give in to their oppressors will has inspired the world. As Nariman said, ‘All Palestinian women raise their children to be strong, to demand their rights and to stand against the occupation here on our land’. Upon arrest, Ahed was interrogated by prison guards but until now she is refusing to speak. ‘Despite the abuse and ongoing imprisonment, she is remaining silent and refusing any cooperation with the occupation’ said her father, Bassem Tamimi. Such display of courage within a mere 16-year-old should be enough to awake the sleeping giants within us all.
One of the many reasons Ahed slapped the soldier, was because we failed her. We failed to carry out our duty of pressuring and stopping this occupation, we failed and remained silent when her young cousin was shot in the face, we failed the children of Palestine. Children should not be left to confront their oppressors so blatantly, but when the world failed the children of Palestine, they were left to yet again ‘butcher their childhood’ and fight the world’s most unjust army alone. But there is still time to act now. Each of us has a responsibility to see Ahed’s struggle as our own. Share her story on social media, call up your local politicians and demand that they raise the issue of illegal imprisonment of young children with higher officials. Sign petitions, hold demonstrations, pressure local Israeli embassies. Do whatever it takes to expose Israeli crimes and spread the voice of Palestinians. The day we allow these acts to pass as the ‘norm’ is the day we have lost. Be enraged. Be defiant. Do not falter in the face of injustice. The name ‘Ahed’ means ‘Promise’, in her honour let’s make a promise to not remain idle until she sees justice, and allow this rage to remain burning until the entire land of Palestine sees justice. This is our ‘Ahed’.
Action Steps to Free Ahed and her family:
- In the US: Call your member of Congress to support H.R. 4391, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. Tell them specifically about Ahed’s arrest, and urge them to act for her release. Click here to tell your member of Congress to support the bill: https://secure.afsc.org/onlineactio…/j_LHjVjM1Em0U2EvvYMFyQ2
International supporters: Call your government officials and demand action for Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian child prisoners, and freedom for Nariman Tamimi.
Call your country’s officials urgently:
Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop: + 61 2 6277 7500
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland: +1-613-992-5234
European Union Commissioner Federica Mogherini: +32 (0) 2 29 53516
New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully: +64 4 439 8000
United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson: +44 20 7008 1500
United States President Donald Trump: 1-202-456-1111
Call your nearest Israeli embassy and let them know that you know about the detention of Ahed Tamimi in Nabi Saleh and other Palestinian child prisoners. Demand Ahed, her mother Nariman, and the other detained children be immediately released. Contact infomation here: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israel
- Sign Petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/free_ahed/
- Join one of the many protests for Jerusalem and distribute material and post on social media with #FreeTamimi hashtag.
- Boycott and build the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and complicit corporations by printing and boycotting the goods and services on the ethical consumer choices against occupation by Zainab Rights .
- Share this post and spread awareness