Sima Bu Jawdeh
The name found on the lips of both youth and adults, whether whispered in underground basements beneath the shelling, or flashing boldly on international news headlines, Ahed Tamimi has made her way into people’s hearts. And with that, she has also made herself a target that oppressors seek to seize.
Ahed Tamimi’s tale doesn’t begin with a slap—it begins far before that. Ahed was born into a family of activists in the West Bank, in a small village called Nabi Saleh. The Tamimis organized weekly peaceful protests, even if they had a possibility of entailing danger.
Ahed Tamimi was pictured standing up to soldiers at the age of 11. A couple of years later, she intervened with her mother and aunt to stop the arrest of her brother by a gunned Israeli soldier. She was pictured fearlessly biting that soldier.
Yet, it wasn’t until Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel –which generated widespread revolts on the streets of occupied Palestinians – did Ahed’s name circulate globally.
On Dec. 15, Ahed was videotaped confronting a soldier and slapping him in an attempt to prevent him from entering their home moments after an Israeli soldier had severely wounded her cousin with a rubber bullet. On Dec. 19, the Tamimi household was subjected to a pre-dawn raid, and Ahed was arrested and detained on 12 charges.
It is unimaginable for us to live in constant confinement, always swallowing our pain when a family member dies too soon, or having to be exposed to night raids on multiple occasions.
When multiplication tables and scraping our knees were the biggest challenges to us at seven-years-old, for the Palestinian children in occupied Palestine it is simply going through a day without hearing the roar of an Israeli warplane or shuffling the stones in their pockets when walking past intimidating gunned men.
Ahed Tamimi’s case sent shockwaves internationally, even having human rights group such as Amnesty International demand her release through a petition. Ahed was compared to Joan of Arc and Malala Yousafzai. However, she didn’t get the same international approval that Yousafzai received—in fact, she has been denied access to visas to multiple countries she was going to address in.
However, Ahed Tamimi is not to be compared with any figure, as she is an icon in and of herself. A candle in the dark raising the voice of the Palestinians’ plight and shedding light on the 350 imprisoned Palestinian children.
But, when will this injustice continue until? The human rights of Palestinians were breached long before Ahed’s detention. Is the international community turning a blind eye to people in need of aid? In the twenty first century, we pride ourselves on advancement, yet the fact that we are unable to provide innocent children a safe haven reflects our failure as a humanity.
Is the fate of every second-generation activist behind bars? The only way to resist the injustice is to not forget, to not forget Ahed Tamimi, the children in prisons, the struggle of the Palestinians, even though everything is being done to forget them.
Let Ahed Tamimi’s name not be an ornament on the news, but an iconic one reflecting a human being we must fight for even if we do so through our will to remember.