Sunday, March 11, 2012

"We want our children to have normal lives."

In November 2011, a Palestinian woman named Manal Tamimi visited us in New York City to give a presentation about the non-violent Intifada that members of her village, Nabi Saleh in West Bank, have been organizing for the past two years.

Five months later, we were able to visit her at her home in Nabi Saleh where she lives with her husband Bilal and her four children. The entire population of the village consists of members of the same extended family, the Tamimis, who have been organizing peaceful protests to obtain their right to water.

The two hours we spent at her home were very emotional for our team members. Bilal and Manal told us about the death of their cousin, Mustafa Tamimi, who during a Friday protest in December 2011 was shot with a tear gas canister in the head from short range and died one day later in the hospital. We learned that since the month of Ramadan, the Israeli army stopped blocking the entrance to the village on Fridays, the day of the protest. However, the response by the Israeli Defense Forces to the weekly protests continues to be excessive, as evidenced in the photos taken by our team members last Friday.

During our interview we asked the Tamimis what they want from life. Their response was simple: “We want our children to have normal lives.” The children of Nabi Saleh live under constant fear of their homes being demolished, their parents and family members being arrested or even killed, as in the case of Mustafa Tamimi and many others. When we asked them how we could help, they told us that the best way to support the people of Nabi Saleh would be by telling their stories to others we know when we get back to the US. By posting our daily experiences on this blog, we hope to do exactly what the Tamimi family asked us to do: share the stories of the brave Palestinians that we will encounter throughout our fact-finding mission.


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