|For our summer fundraising drive, “One Story At A Time,” Mondoweiss staffers are sharing stories we’ve published that inspire their work to share the truth about Palestine. Today’s message is from Tova Perlmutter, Executive Director of Mondoweiss. Read on to learn about who inspires Tova — and please give now. A loyal donor has pledged $20,000 if we can raise $60,000 by August 1.|
In 2016, as a newly minted journalism graduate of NYU — not yet 22 years old — Yumna Patel took a leap. After a few months in Jordan sharpening her Arabic, she moved to Palestine without a job — to tell the stories she knew urgently needed to be told.
As a student, she had been fascinated and horrified by what she saw on a short trip to Israel and Palestine. Like you and me, Yumna was haunted by the violence, discrimination and blatant violations of international law that are under-reported, misrepresented and even denied entirely by Western media. But for her, there was added complexity as she saw the professional ethics taught in journalism classes routinely set aside by correspondents who simply reinforce Israel’s version of events.
I’m proud to say that Mondoweiss editors were quick to recognize Yumna’s talent. The first story she reported as a freelancer was for Mondoweiss, and starting in August 2017 we published articles by Yumna a few times a week. A year ago — thanks to your support — we succeeded in raising enough funds to offer her a full-time position, and we are very lucky she accepted.
Yumna says, “Through Mondoweiss, I have been afforded the incredible opportunity to learn and share essential stories from Palestine affecting communities across the occupied territory. I appreciate that Mondoweiss empowers me to cover the events that must be broadcast far and wide.” Yumna and I are both very mindful that these stories are only possible thanks to you and our other readers. If you have already contributed to this campaign, we thank you.
Because Yumna has lived and worked in Palestine for almost three years, the stories of humanity she sees and reports are the daily reality faced by her neighbors, families she’s gotten to know while reporting over 170 stories from the West Bank. Early this year, for example, I was especially moved by the agonizing story she reported on 70-year-old Mohammed Sabbagh and his large extended family, who live in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The Sabbaghs, who live in five adjacent homes, were delivered an eviction notice by the Israelis in January. The family were told they had 11 days to leave, or they would be forcibly replaced by settlers. Mohammed has lived in the home since he was 8 years old, moving in after being expelled from Jaffa. “We were forced out of our homes by the occupation when I was a boy, and now in my old age they are expelling me again,” Sabbagh said. “It’s another Nakba.”
The Sabbagh story is just one more example of how Mondoweiss documents the reality: the Nakba is ongoing and has never ended. Many know the “independence” story that glorifies (and lies about) events in 1948. But now, more than seven decades later, the violent dispossession continues. It is our responsibility — Mondoweiss’s, to report the stories and yours, to share them — to demand the world pay attention and put an end to this violation.
The ongoing expulsion of Palestinians from their own homes and land is not only a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, it’s a breach of fundamental human decency. Thanks to your investment in the news, Mondoweiss is able to insist, day after day, week after week, month after month, on the details and implications of these atrocities.
Yumna reported that Mohammed wasn’t optimistic about his situation, and can you blame him? Israel’s High Court rejected his claim last year, and without judicial pushback there is nothing to stop this travesty. But you can give families like the Sabbaghs hope for the future, because you’re listening, and sharing, and responding, and that forces the world to do the same.
All of us at Mondoweiss are grateful for the privilege of sharing the truth with the world about Palestine. Thanks to you, the stories we publish are more than just words. You and I know that if we are ever to awaken the world to Israeli atrocities and Palestinian resistance, we will do it with the power of our stories. Please donate to Mondoweiss today, and together, we can make a difference for people like Mohammed Sabbagh.
You are one of those for whom Mondoweiss reporters like Yumna gather and deliver these stories. You share these stories, you use them to change the minds of people around you. You make a difference, every day of the year, one story at a time.