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In solidarity with Rashida Tlaib, Twitter erupts with emotional tributes to Palestinian grandmothers

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Social media networks were flooded with odes to Palestinian grandmothers over the weekend, as Palestinians from across the diaspora shared photos and stories of their family matriarchs with the hashtag #MyPalestinianSitty.

The hashtag took off after US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib took to Twitter to express her sadness over the fact that she would be unable to visit her grandmother, or sitty in Arabic, after Israel banned her and congresswoman Ilhan Omar from entering the country on the basis of their support for the BDS movement.

“This woman right here is my sity,” Tlaib wrote, alongside a photo of her smiling maternal grandmother on the streets of Ramallah.

“She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity. I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.”

In a subsequent tweet, Tlaib told her followers that she would be refusing Israel’s offer — which she initially accepted — to visit her grandmother under “humanitarian” circumstances, which would have prevented her from publicly engaging in or discussing anything political about Israel-Palestine.

“When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions. I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies,” Tlaib said.

Following the series of tweets from Tlaib, hundreds of people, primarily Palestinians in the diaspora, began posting photos of their grandmothers alongside the hashtag #MyPalestinianSitty.

In their tweets, Facebook, and Instagram posts, people shared emotional stories of their grandmothers surviving war, ethnic cleansing, and life in exile.

As tweets poured in and the hashtag began trending on Twitter, Tlaib began retweeting people’s stories, and shared more photos of her maternal and paternal grandmothers.

Many also took the chance to voice their solidarity and thanks to Tlaib, who they say has given their identities as Palestinians and their families’ stories unprecedented recognition on the international stage.

The hashtag gained attention from mainstream news networks like NBC and CNN, while prominent Palestinian-American activists like Linda Sarsour and Remi Kanazi, California congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar, and Palestinian government leaders like Hanan Ashrawi also shared their own stories.

Ilhan Omar took to Twitter to say she was “overcome with emotions” after the hashtag began trending and upon realizing “how we are finally humanizing one of the world’s most dehumanized peoples.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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3 Responses

  1. Kay24 on August 19, 2019, 5:57 pm

    If anyone was watching Morning Joe today, they would have seen former Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat, spew zionists talking points, and using buzz words like Rep. Tlaib hating Israel more than loving her grandmother. Same boring script, same accusations, same talking points, same ole BS from apologists. They are running short of accusations and buzz words now. No one is buying.

  2. Misterioso on August 20, 2019, 9:53 am

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=49&v=CDJWDeXS88Y

    Short CNN Video: Erin Burnett: “Excuse for banning Tlaib and Omar is a blatant lie” August 15/19

  3. CigarGod on August 20, 2019, 11:15 pm

    Brilliant!

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