Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reflections of what it's felt like to share "Asking Israel Why it Tortured my Friend"

Yesterday Electronic Intifada published my article, "Asking Israel Why it Tortured my Friend." In it, I describe my experience standing up in a "Our Soldiers Speak" presentation at DePaul University and asking Israeli soldier Benjamin Anthony to explain why soldiers tortured my friend Musab Raba'i. I've been surprised by what an emotional experience asking this question and sharing the results has been. I hope you'll forgive me for taking a moment to sort through my own feelings.

This article has gotten a lot of attention, but it's far from the best thing I've ever written. In fact, I wrote it at 1:30 am and the wonderful people at EI saved it from typos and spelling errors. Of course, Musab and his family have always deserved attention. Still, I feel ambivalent. I've wanted people to know what happened since Musab was tortured. I've wanted other people to be angry and sad. Now they are, but it doesn't make me feel better. I feel the same way I always did. I'm still angry and sad.

One morning, not unlike the one when Musab was tortured, I was walking with Musab while he grazed his sheep. Quietly, matter-of-factly, he told me a story from his childhood. When he was young, Musab was playing by his house near Havat Ma'on settlement. A settler grabbed him and put a gun to his head. Musab told me his brothers saved his life by running out of their house, terrifying the settler, and grabbing Musab.

There are so many stories like this that need to be told. It feels strange to know them when other people don't - and don't want to. Srg. Benjamin Anthony tried to humiliate me when I asked him why Israeli soldiers tortured Musab. He said I was ignorant and must have been mislead. I know that's not true. And I know we will continue to work for justice and peace in Palestine. This feeling of grief, anger and outrage will not go away.

I still wake up wondering what might happen to Musab today or tomorrow. Then I get out of bed and I try to do everything in my power to end the occupation of Palestine. Sometimes it feels like there is very little I can do. The day Musab was tortured, I felt completely helpless. But there is always something I can do. So I do it, because I wont feel better until Palestine is free.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Palestinian Women’s Resistance in Rural Palestine: A Call for Stories

Many western academics write about Palestinian women as though all Palestinian women are middle class and urban. Rural Palestinian women and women’s resistance outside of the intifadas are mostly ignored in the academic and popular literature about Palestine. If you have a story of women’s resistance to occupation and/or patriarchy in rural Palestine, consider writing it down and sending it to me. I will be using these stories as research for a paper on rural Palestinian women’s resistance and resilience and as background for my master’s degree thesis on women’s resistance in the village of At-Tuwani. I will not publish your story without your permission and I will send you a copy of anything that I write based on your material. I welcome your thoughts and feedback on my research and writing.

About me:

I am a Women’s and Gender Studies master’s degree student at DePaul University. From 2007-2010, I worked to support Palestinian nonviolent resistance in the village of At-Tuwani. At-Tuwani is a small, farming village located south of Al Khalil (Hebron) facing violence from Israeli soldiers and settlers. I currently continue to work closely with the At-Tuwani women’s cooperative and in the Palestine solidarity movement through Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago and the Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights.

I became interested in soliciting stories about Palestinian women’s resistance in rural Palestine after my research showed that the voices and perspectives of rural Palestinian women are almost completely absent from academic literature and reporting on Palestine. Many of the articles I have read about Palestinian women’s resistance do not reflect my experiences and observations from living in rural Palestine or the concerns voiced by my Palestinian friends and colleagues in At-Tuwani.

More information about me and my work is available at my blog Please feel free to email me any questions you have about this project.

How to submit your stories:

To submit your stories, send me an email at Please include the location of the story and when it took place. All stories about women’s resistance to occupation and/or patriarchy are welcome. I define resistance broadly and believe that for Palestinian women ‘to exist is to resist.’ Once again, I will not publish or distribute your stories without your permission and I will send you a copy of anything I write. Please include your name and contact information with your submission so that I can be in touch with you.

For my current research, I need stories by March 5th. However, I will continue to be researching this topic through May 2013 and welcome stories at any time.

Thank you so much for your help with my research and your work for a free Palestine.