Again, I’ve been silent. And this time I’ve been silent about what I’m angry that everyone is silent about!
Let’s talk about Ahed Tamimi.
Heard of her?!
Ahed is a young Palestinian activist – and now a lead figure of the resistance against Israeli occupation of Palestine. She is fantastic, fiery, fierce – and only 16. This unarmed girl has been indicted on five charges of assault for aggressions against an Israeli soldier. And now she is branded as “dangerous” and condemned to an Israeli detention center.
In this detention center, supposedly-liberal Israeli journalist Ben Caspit suggested that she should pay a price “in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”.
Do I need to spell out precisely what he is suggesting and what that “price” means? I think we’re equipped to grasp nuance – especially when such threats are too-often made against women who challenge the power structure.
My feminist sisters – where is your outrage?!
Human rights advocates, activists, agitators – where is your #IamAhed and your international political campaigns?!
Let’s recall all the other actors and their now-iconic images of resistance, the women and girls who stood up to soldiers, faced oppressors, spoke truth to power. We glorify and romanticize these images, and pat ourselves on the back for standing on the right side of history for this conflict or that one. On what side of history will we stand when it comes to Palestine?
Or, is Palestine where we draw the line? Our commitment to rights, equality, justice ends here. We might as well add a footnote or asterisk to all our missives and rants and protests. Except Palestine, we should say. We’re all about equality and stuff, but just not there. Anything but that. It’s the untouchable issue, where our campaigns – and our courage – fall short.
There are three times when my Palestinian and feminist identities were seemingly at odds – and I had to make choices:
(1) Voting for Hillary Clinton. She would do no favors for Arabs, show no support for Palestine, but I voted for her anyway. Although the election went wrong, I made the right choice. And I’m still with her.
Feminist 1: Palestinian 0
(2) Celebrating Wonder Woman as our first feminist superhero on the big screen. Nope, my feminism will never include Zionism. I’ve said this before.
Palestinian 1: Feminist 0
(3) Supporting Ahed Tamimi. Here I reconcile my two identities. My feminism is firmly pro-Palestinian. What I said for Wonder Woman rings painfully true for Ahed – this is yet another incident that exposes white women’s feminism and its indifference to peace in Palestine. When it comes to Palestine, we fail to challenge the dominant narrative. We fail to act in favor of social justice. We fail to honor our commitment to human rights and equality.
And – we fail to see that a feminism rooted in oppression is no feminism at all.