Around 2012, a video of a young, blonde, curly-haired girl went viral on the internet, sparking international interest in the ongoing occupation of Palestinians by the Israeli military. The girl raised her fist at a fully-equipped soldier, kicking and slapping him in the face while trying to protect her home and family. Her name: Ahed Tamimi.
Five years later, the older (but still very young) Ahed was sentenced to 8 months in Israeli prison.
Ahed was born on January 31, 2001 to parents Bassem Tamimi and Nariman Al-Tamimi in the village of Nabi Salih, located in the West Bank of Palestine.
You have probably heard of Ahed by now. If you haven’t, then we have something to talk about. A recent event that has also been highly publicized was the release of Ahed from jail on July 29.
She has been through a whole ton of suffering before even getting arrested and jailed when she was 16. In interrogation, it was said that she was sexually harassed by an Israeli soldier. Her arrest is a violation of human rights because she is a minor. She stayed in jail for four months.
Ahed is a fighter. She completed her high school degree in jail. After her release, through a documentation through her friend’ story on Instagram, she got ice-cream the same day she was speaking to the press, with a smile on her face, as always.
She confirmed she wants to be a lawyer, with a driven and insightful purpose; to use it to free Palestine. She is correct, technically, if people followed the international law, Palestine would be fully recognizable on any map of the world.
When people look at Ahed as violent, they are forgetting that it is human instinct and nature for someone to fight for their homeland, against genocide, against inequality, and against the murderous occupation of Palestine. tweet
Ahed’s popularity comes from her story. Many people argue that her arrest was valid; when in fact, her resistance and actions come from a very logical point. Her then 15-year-old cousin was shot in the head with a rubber bullet. Her whole family has always been a part of the resistance, and her cousin Janna is also important, documenting everything and putting herself at risk, all for Palestine.
Ahed’s activism is peaceful compared to what she has been through, people are intimidated by her actions because people get intimidated by real bravery, which is uncommon these days. Palestinian activism in Palestine and around the world is most of the time peaceful, just like the protests done in the Great March of Return in Gaza by children and adults alike.
Ahed’s inner conflict that led her to do what she did was her eternal struggle with being a Palestinian and having to be insulted in her own homeland. She watched her family get hurt physically and emotionally. Her actions were all about speaking in what she believed in, about the Palestinian struggle; the struggle people have been talking about for around a century now.
When people look at Ahed as violent, they are forgetting that it is human instinct and nature for someone to fight for their homeland, against genocide, against inequality, and against the murderous occupation of Palestine.
She is a modern revolutionary, a face of hope and persistence for the already brave Palestinian children, adolescents, and youth in and out of our beloved Palestine. Imagine living your life knowing your people are not free, that your land is a land of massacre and injustice, living life with a smile on your face itself is the ultimate form of bravery. Saying you’re Palestinian in a world where many people think you deserve to be part of an endless genocide, and living around a movement that encourages your ceasing to exist by many great world powers, is great enough.
Therefore, Ahed and many people like her are fearless; they know the consequences very well, and they persist to speak the truth, the truth many have remembered to forget.
As the Palestinian-Israeli conflict becomes more complicated by the day, it is hard to keep up with the struggles of Palestinians that makes up the bigger and more entire picture. What happened to Ahed happened to many other Palestinians and it is all a buildup to the struggles of Palestinian citizens that they feel every day. The push and drive and fire in our eyes lead to hope and our appropriate need to fight back to get our country back, righteously.
Ahed Tamimi is the freshest and newest face of Palestine’s Youth Activism. Many people claimed her popularity was because she does not “look like your typical Arab”. This is illogical because she understands the occupation just like any other Palestinian, and is simply fighting for her country, appearances don’t matter, and representation comes in different forms.
It is known around the world that Palestinian children are called: “rock kids”. Palestinians are no match for Israel when it comes to resources and weapons. Palestinians and especially their children use rocks to fight back when attacked by many Israeli attack forces, especially the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). The rocks have become a symbol of fighting, resistance, and inexplicable bravery. Ahed has been a part of this where there is a picture of her raising her bare fist at the face of an Israeli soldier.
It is a fact that Palestinian children are victims of suffering because of the lack of human resources and human rights. They know struggle from the moment they are born until the moment they die, staying in Palestine.
Ahed Tamimi’s a face for the resilience of Palestinian youth, girls, and the oppressed.
Ben Gurion once said: “the old will die and the young will forget”, but here, no Palestinian can ever forget.