A plea for Ahed Tamimi’s protection

on 14 Comments

The Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick of Che Guevara black and red portrait fame has done it again: He has painted a minimalist poster of another iconic leader of her people and of a worldwide liberation movement, this time of an oppressed child who had slapped power with her bare  truth. When I read his rationale for painting the new portrait I cried. The man’s pacifism, sincerity, and especially his concern for Ahed Tamimi’s life touched me.

Like Jim Fitzpatrick, I am apprehensive about the 17-year-old Ahed’s life. No one really denies the real reason for incarcerating her: to teach a lesson to other Palestinians, especially the children among them. Fitzpatrick is taking the essence of the lesson, regardless in which direction it will be resolved, to its ultimate conclusion. He is saying this is a model for every native and underclass oppressed child in the world. And he knows how meaningful and dangerous that can be:

“Ahed Tamimi, to me, signifies nobility in the face of oppression. This is a kid, a child,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think I would have been petrified. Wherever she’s getting her courage from, there’s a resonance of it echoing across the world. I’m just a part of it. There are organizations doing more than I could do, but I do think the pen—in my case, the brush—is mightier than the sword.”

Remember, Che Guevara didn’t live to celebrate his portrait. Ahed’s arrest was in direct and clear response to the Israeli public outrage at seeing the iconic Palestinian teenager giving physical expression to her anger with occupation and the occupiers. They had shot at close range and severely injured her cousin and friend, Mohammed Tamimi, and then had come to physically stress their frightening infringement of the rights and freedom of all Palestinians right there at her family’s front yard. She gave expression to her loathing of the occupation by attacking the soldiers with her bare hands.

What moves me most is the realization that right there and then, but for the grace of God, we could have lost Ahed. Members of the Israeli occupying armed forces have killed Palestinian children younger than Ahed for lesser offenses or for no offense at all. Tens, hundreds, if not thousands of times. It is not unknown, even in living memory, for settler colonialists, say in Australia, to have organized native-hunting parties for the fun of it. And Palestinian lives are cheap, we all know. Remember Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the Dawabsheh family? That is why I want to give kudos to those two soldiers who resisted the temptation to put their deadly weapons to use against Ahed and her mother and cousin. Their deaths would have hardly registered a bleb on the rising statistical curve of the occupation’s Palestinian victims. But then those soldiers shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Kudos are reserved for the scores of young Israeli conscientious objectors who resist serving the occupation. There are those in Israel, you know!

What makes my heart sink is the fear of Israel’s lynch mobs: The same crowd that had successfully agitated for her lockup and compelled their occupation army and the entire governmental system behind it to invade the Tamimi’s peaceful home in the dark of night to snatch Ahed and her mother from their bed will be driven crazy by the inspiring image Fitzpatrick has artfully drawn and made available for all to download freely. Israeli crowds had lynched presumed enemies before. That is what scares me about the world class image my fellow pacifist artist has just released. The same fascist agitators who demanded Ahed’s arrest may not shy away from staging a lynching. Perhaps her military judge has a point in claiming that he is banning the media from his military court for Ahed’s sake. Stretch that just a little and you can imagine him justifying her imprisonment for life for her own safety.

“This girl is memorable, her face is memorable, she seems a courageous, dignified girl—she captured my imagination. And I think she’s capturing the imagination of the world. She symbolizes resistance.”

Jim Fitzpatrick image of Ahed Tamimi, inspired by a photo by Haim Schwarczenberg. The billboard was photographed by Manal Tamimi who lives in the occupied West Bank. @screamingtamimi

How fully I agree with you, my friend! You dub her “the real Wonder Woman.” She is a symbol of a wonder generation or even wonder generations. You remember all those improbable images from the First Intifada, the image of the child, stone in hand, facing a tank its tracks twice his height and its gun turret four times that. And the children held in place by soldiers while other soldiers swung bricks at their arms to break their bones on orders of their high commander. And the Tamimi boy, Ahed’s brother with one arm in a cast being freed from a soldier’s stranglehold “tooth and nail” by his mother and sister. Then again, the same boy demonstrating with the second arm in a cast.

That was enough to make one of the sanest politicians in Israel go crazy, why wouldn’t the daring of his sister whip up the masses into a frenzy demanding her blond head? No wonder you want the whole world focusing its attention on Ahed as a protective measure. This is the microcosm rendition of the oft repeated human rights axiom that, across the globe, one’s stand on Palestine is the true measure of their humanity. Indeed, sumud—steadfastness—and their instinctive holding onto their homes, land and olives, renders the Palestinians a wonder nation.

That is a worthy note to end on. But please, everyone, keep our Ahed Tamimi in your thoughts and keep her and all the hundreds of imprisoned Palestinian children at the focus of your actions till Israel comes to its senses.

About Hatim Kanaaneh

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel. His collection of short stories entitled Chief Complaint was released by Just World Books in the spring of 2015.

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14 Responses

  1. eljay
    February 19, 2018, 1:15 pm

    Kudos to Mr. Fitzpatrick for creating this poster.

    I sincerely hope that Ms. Tamimi does not conveniently…
    – suffer a fatal “accident”; or
    – commit “suicide”,
    …while in the “most moral” custody of the world’s only oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

    • Citizen
      February 19, 2018, 2:33 pm

      I wonder if, during the next US national elections, the Bernie contingent will be wearing Ahed’s image on their t-shirts, so that it will get on even mainstream US TV eventually?

      Whatever Brand Israel does with this girl, it will be a deeply political decision heard around the world.

      • niass2
        February 19, 2018, 7:06 pm

        I asked about that plan and no one responded.

      • echinococcus
        February 20, 2018, 3:02 am

        Which Bernie, the Kibbutz-grown shepherd dog who continues to defend the genocide of Gazans?

  2. Citizen
    February 19, 2018, 2:51 pm

    The NYT, “the paper of record, ran an AP piece hi lighting Ahed as a “protest icon.” https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/02/12/world/middleeast/ap-ml-israel-tamimi-on-trial.html

    She was treated as one adversary in a fight between adversarial propaganda groups. No mention of the fact the international stance opposes the occupation with international law on its side, with only Israel on the other side, supported de facto & via increased ambiguity & opaqueness by the sole superpower. Here’s the AP’s sole input on historical context:

    “The case touches on what constitutes legitimate resistance to Israel’s rule over millions of Palestinians, already in its 51st year after Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in 1967.”

    “Touches on”? I’ll say.

    Sarah Silverman has tweeted in support of Ahed, drawing a ton of hasbara bot hatred.

  3. Ossinev
    February 19, 2018, 3:12 pm

    Liked the poster and the implicit message of courage and defiance against the odds but have to be honest and say that I thought the “Wonder Woman” logo and accompanying wording look slightly “commercial” to me and undermined the whole. A simple statement along the lines of “Ahed Tamimi bravely resisting Israeli brutality against children” IMHO would have been better.
    As for the continued detention and the “charges” against her = “Assaulting security forces, incitement and throwing stones”. – well the “charges” themselves demonstrate just how pathetic Israel has become. A slap and a kick against a heavily armed and combat outfitted IDF soldier by a five foot tall 7 stone 16 year old female = as”assault” in the right wing Zio mindset. FFS!! The Yahoo has recently been in Munich brandishing parts of an alleged Iranian made drone allegedly shot down in Israel and no doubt illegally imported into Germany ( I don`t think it is illegal to import cartoons without licence into the EU but I know that it is illegal to import unlicensed military hardware parts). He has warned Iran/Hezbollah “not to test our resolve”. OMG !! that means that the IDF elite Menachem Began Child Snatch Brigade has been put on close standby to spearhead a major incursion into Syria and have recently been carrying out enhanced counter “slap and kick” drills !

    Israel has morphed into a nation of pathetic delusional Fascists breast fed by the US and its mad cohorts of Dispensationalists and propped up by an increasingly naked propaganda and political bribing campaign which would be the envy of Goebbels.

    It`s days are numbered and sooner or later the saner Jewish Israelis in Tel Aviv who loathe the right wing settler nutjobs now calling all the shots will be queueing up en masse at the exit signs.

    Tick tick

    • Citizen
      February 19, 2018, 6:13 pm

      I won’t hold my breath because Ahed Tamimi has not been brought to the attention of the US pubic by the 6 corporate US mainstream media.

  4. Ronald Johnson
    February 19, 2018, 5:43 pm

    Wait and see how long it takes Warner Brothers to jump upon the use of their copyrighted logo.


    “Downloading this artwork you agree to the following:

    The above logo design and the artwork you are about to download is the intellectual property of the copyright and/or trademark holder and is offered to you as a convenience for lawful use with proper permission from the copyright and/or trademark holder only. You hereby agree that you agree to the Terms of Use and that the artwork you download will be used for non-commercial use without infringing on the rights of the copyright and/or trademark holder and in compliance with the DMCA act of 1998. Before you use or reproduce this artwork in any manner, you agree to obtain the express permission of the copyright and/or trademark holder. Failure to obtain such permission is a violation of international copyright and trademark laws subject to specific financial and criminal penalties.”

  5. amigo
    February 19, 2018, 6:40 pm

    The zionist entity spends 1/2 it,s time attempting to convince the world it is the light unto the nations and the other half proving it is anything but.

    Go figure.

    • eljay
      February 19, 2018, 8:37 pm

      || amigo: The zionist entity spends 1/2 it,s time attempting to convince the world it is the light unto the nations and the other half proving it is anything but. … ||

      And Zionists do their part by spending half their time promoting the “Jewish State” as a “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations” and the other half pointing out that it’s not quite as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hellholes”, etc.

      • LHunter
        February 24, 2018, 6:10 pm

        And the evangelical Christian Zionists spend half their time defending and supporting a Jewish Israel as a sign that Christ is soon to return and the other half pointing to the genocidal slaughter and damnation of devout Jews upon the second coming.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        February 24, 2018, 10:19 pm

        “And the evangelical Christian Zionists spend half their time defending and supporting a Jewish Israel as a sign that Christ is soon to return..”

        And specially in U.S. their “beliefs” are not to be understood: I have seen same people preaching about Jesus (grace and forgiveness) and defending their right to own guns. I mean Jesus and guns.. Not the combination I was taught about the Christianity when I was a child.. (“The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”, “But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also..” etc.)

  6. niass2
    February 19, 2018, 7:05 pm

    I have seen nothing in the news at all in the past several days concerning this. She/It has dissapeared. It appears its not a big issue to latch onto. You all do write a lot about it but that is just writing. Didn’t even see anything about it on here for at least four days now. Whatever. Your allies know not much about this, nor will they. Your not trying to tell anyone so no one is listening. Why would they. Your Mute.

  7. JWalters
    February 28, 2018, 12:47 am

    It is a story worthy of Kafka, a teenage girl is slapped by an occupying soldier in full military gear, and she slaps him back. Soon she is in jail in a system notorious for its brutality and injustice. Prominent writers and government officials call for brutalizing her. If anyone needed and deserved prayers, it’s Ahed Tamimi, and all those for whom she stands.

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