In her 1969 book On Death and Dying, Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined five major emotional stages that people tend to go through while coping with the death or loss of a loved one: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Over three months have passed since the killing of his son Bahaa, but Muhammad Alayan has not been able to experience any of them. The 60-year-old lawyer has been too immersed in the struggle to recover the body of his slain son to actually contemplate his loss.
“More than a hundred days have gone and I couldn’t sit with my wife and three (remaining) children at one table together and realize that there is an empty chair no longer occupied by Bahaa,” Muhammad Alayan told me. “We have had no time to discuss his absence because our entire lives have revolved around getting him back.”
When Muhannad Halabi stabbed two Israeli men to death and injured a woman and a baby in Jerusalem’s Old City, he started what many Palestinians have called the “intifada of the knives.”
Halabi was shot and killed by Israeli police during the attack in early October last year and the 19-year-old law student was branded a “terrorist” by the media. His parents, however, have a sharply different view: they regard Muhannad as a hero.
“I will always be proud that my son sacrificed his life for the liberation of his homeland,” said his mother Suhair.
In his final posting on Facebook, Muhannad expressed deepanger about the incursions of Israeli settlers into the compound around al-Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites. He had just watched a video of a Palestinian woman being arrested by Israeli police at al-Aqsa.
Israel is citing vague security fears to justify removing Palestinians from Jersulm, but those who have been targeted are putting up a fight.
For Palestinian activist and filmmaker Samer Abu Eisheh, walking in the narrow alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City is like being embraced by his mother.
It was in Jerusalem where he fell in love for the first time and where he met his wife and partner in struggle, Rawan Abu Ghosh. It was in Jerusalem where he has led protests against the occupation with roaring chants and where he was chased on numerous occasions by the Israeli police.
“You are so precious to us! It’s only when you were taken away from us that we realised how indispensable you are,” squealed Umm Hussam as she embraced Zinat al-Jallad, commonly known as Umm Ihab, in a tight embrace.
It was Umm Ihab’s first day back among her “sisters’ in Bab Hutta in the Old City after four days in an Israeli jail and an additional five days under house arrest. There’s little need to ask the women gathered around Umm Ihab how much she means to them as their reception of her speaks volumes. The 61-year-old cuts a motherly figure even to her older friends.
“We couldn’t sleep when she was arrested,” Ikram al-Ghazzawi told MEE. “I wished I could do something, anything, to free her. We cannot imagine our lives without her,” she added.
“Umm Ihab is universally loved because she supports everyone in need,” said Zina Amr. “When any of us is arrested, Umm Ihab is always the first to come to our hearings and to welcome us when we are released. Her tenderness and defiance is an example for all of us,” added Amr, before handing out letters of support that the women have received from Algeria in which Algerian women stress their solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem. Continue reading “The steadfast women of Al-Aqsa remain defiant”→
It has been the liberal discourse of human rights that precipitated the move from decolonial struggle into a rights based one.
The establishment of the Palestinian Authority following the signing of the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the PLO ushered structural transformations in Palestinian politics, society, and struggle.
The struggle for liberation was then transformed into a diplomatic quest for statehood on 22 percent of Palestinian land; the revolution was hijacked and the Palestinian masses were gradually sidelined from political action and public space altogether. If the first Palestinian Intifada had constituted the culmination of people’s engagement in mass politics and direct action, the decades that succeeded it saw the exact opposite. People were dragged to the margins, stripped of their agency, and turned into spectators as a small elite was negotiating on their behalf by exploiting their sacrifices and claiming to be their sole legitimate representative. Continue reading “How the Human Rights Industry Undermines Palestinian Liberation”→
“I’m honestly still trying to kick the nationalist habit,” jokes activist Ahmad Nimer, as we talk outside a Ramallah cafe. Our topic of conversation seems an unlikely one: living as an anarchist in Palestine. “In a colonized country, it’s quite difficult to convince people of non-authoritarian, non-state solutions. You encounter, pretty much, a strictly anticolonial – often narrowly nationalist – mentality,” laments Nimer. Indeed, anarchists in Palestine currently have a visibility problem. Despite high-profile international and Israeli anarchist activity, there doesn’t seem to be a matching awareness of anarchism among many Palestinians themselves.