Khader Adnan’s dignity

on 4 Comments
Ofer Khader Adnan
 A posters depicting Khader Adnan outside Ofer prison where he is being held.
(Photo: Activestills)

As I write this on day 60 of his hunger strike, Khader Adnan is still alive, as far as I know. There is no news yet today about his condition, although I came across a claim that he has fallen into a coma. We may be outraged that Israel upheld his detention and did not release him, but how could it have? Adnan in his own words made it clear that his protest is not only for himself, but for all prisoners detained illegally. Israel releasing Adnan would mean admitting that its detention of him was illegal, and then who knows, the whole house of cards could crumble—illegal imprisonment, illegal arrest, illegal occupation, illegal land confiscation, illegal annexation… 

It is surprising that there has been no mention of how Adnan was arrested by Israel in Area A, supposedly under the control of the Palestinian Authority, the supposed basis for an independent Palestinian state, to supposedly come about in a negotiated two-state settlement. Check out the location of his village of ‘Araba on B’Tselem’s map. Quite a hoax they all got going. 

Of course the judge appeared cold and callous by Adnan’s bedside. He should naturally be angry at Adnan’s subversion. The imprisoners are to have all the power. How dare Adnan find a way to have power, to retain his dignity. For despite all their domination, torture, interrogation, and secret evidence, Adnan can still control whether he eats. He can decide not to eat. He exercised this self-control, even though his jailers attempted to have every sort of control over him. 

Adnan has decided not to eat knowing the inevitable outcome. Herein lies his incredible bravery and his power of non-violent resistance. We can hope that Adnan’s choosing death would bring about change akin to that which resulted from Mohamed Bouazizi’s choosing death in Tunisia. But even if it does not, at least Adnan knows that he has retained self-control and dignity in the face of grave injustice, oppression, and cruelty. I hope this knowledge will provide solace and comfort to his family. May it also inspire and humble the rest of us. No poem, no work of art, no oration could be more moving than a man patiently, persistently, painfully taking his own life.

About Claire

Claire is a pseudonym for a mother living in Haifa.

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4 Responses

  1. Boycott Israel on Campus
    February 15, 2012, 11:54 am

    There were speeches at the University of Michigan Central Student Government (CSG) last night, Feb. 14, 2012, detailing Khader Adnan’s condition and imploring the CSG to issue a resolution urging the boycott of all products from Israel.

    You can be sure that not one student will ever demand such a resolution at the University of Michigan. U-M has one of the strongest “BDS movements” in the United States, and it consists solely of their own meetings where the acronym “BDS” is occasionally spoken of favorably by an audience member or a guest speaker.

    That is the apex of the BDS “movement” in the United States. Not one student on this continent is visibly demanding any resolution for divestment or boycott against Israel. If a thousand Khader Adnans went on hunger strike tomorrow, you would still see no divestment resolutions promoted on any American campus.

    Let us not pretend that a single student cares to change that situation– even if 9 million Palestinians went on hunger strike tomorrow and slowly died on YouTube.

    That is the bitter truth of BDS “activism” today.

  2. NormanF
    February 15, 2012, 4:21 pm

    There is nothing humane or dignified about starving oneself to death. It will not change Israeli policy. Islamic Jihad is a banned terrorist group. Israel will continue to detain suspects who constitute a threat to the public safety or state security as long as the circumstances require it. Every democratic country practices administrative detention. It is not always always possible or practical to put a suspected offender on trial. He must be locked up when that is necessary to protect the lives of others. And this is not a procedure abused by Israel and it has more safeguards than than that provided for example in US law. Israel faces a daily terrorist threat that simply put, is not going to disappear in our lifetime. That is why administrative detention will remain part of Israeli law.

    • seafoid
      February 15, 2012, 4:47 pm

      Israeli policy will destroy Israel. You and your settler neighbors are the virus.
      Israel won’t even last your lifetime.

  3. piotr
    February 16, 2012, 2:09 am

    “That is why administrative detention will remain part of Israeli law.”

    One can call it “law”. Actually, this is quite puzzling: from what we read, ANYONE can be sentenced by Israeli military court, it is only slightly more complicated then “administrative detention”.

    Note that Adnan is “one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad”. After Eilat attack IDF arrested more than 200 “Hamas leaders” near Hebron. IDF is quite vigilant in destroying various threats to the security of the state, including pine nuts, mushroom, various legumes, condiments and pasta, water cisterns, tents, and statements issued at various occasions sound particularly fantastic. One of the all-time records was when a women died of tear gas inhalation (and asthma?). According to IDF, she was actually a victim of a honor killing, then two different varieties of cancer, she was never close to the demostration (that was actually true: IDF saturated a huge area with tear gas), and, finally, that in an Israeli hospital she would survive (again, quite possibly true).

    Israeli legal process, even military, has one inconvenience: while evidence can remain secret, the actual accusation cannot. And that can be a bother. Abu-Sisi was kidnapped in Ukraine as a mastermind of Hamas rocket research and production, and a person intimately familiar with the place of Gilad’s detention. This turned out to be unusually preposterous and we did not hear about Abu Sisi ever since.

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