Rana Hamada, daughter of Tiberias, the young courage that surprised the Israeli occupation army in front of Ofer prison, and raised the Palestinian flag above the Israeli armed vehicle that was spreading poisonous gas at protestors without baring the consequences: You announced your solidarity with the prisoners in a practical, simple, and captivating manner, so what did we do to support the issue of the prisoners?! And what should we do?
How should we express our solidarity with their just demands? Would that be with hunger strike? taking the path of more than 50 freed prisoner at the Gaza Strip, that started their strike on the 4th of May , and promised to continue with it “until the last Palestinian detainee is released from prisons of occupation?!”
Would that be with sit-in strikes at tents across the country? By participating in the Palestinian campaign to topple the Israeli flags? By participating in demonstrations? Would it be with solidarity speeches? Article writings? Writing letters of love and support? By visiting the prisoners’ relatives? Or to escalate boycott divestment and sanctions activities on the occupying state? Would it be by coordinating solidarity activities with human rights organizations, and civil society institutions on both Arab and international levels? Or, even by launching more solidarity campaigns across the globe?
Would it be also by documenting the stories of the prisoners: their sufferings and steadfastness and the stories of their struggle? Using various documentation methods, especially testimonies about the violations that they are subjected to and that could be used in pursuing legal action against the Israeli occupation in international courts?
If all of that was beneficial, for the prisoners not to remain numbers, what is the most effective method? And how could every one of us (man & woman) become more effective from his own position?
We question, along with our brothers and sisters, our fathers, mothers and children, who fight the occupier with hunger strike, we question “would that be the most effective method in influencing the global public opinion, if known political figures with influential political positions participate in the hunger strike,following the poet Ibrahim Tuqan in his poem:
“If only a leader, amongst us, would fast
Like ¨Gandhi¨, we trust that his fast would be of benefit”?
If Palestinian political leaders from the prisoner’s movement were on hunger strike, inside the fences, where is the strike of the Palestinian leaders outside the fences? Wouldn’t it be stronger, harder and with greater influence?
Shouldn’t we form delegations to travel the world, and to use all means of media coverage to highlight the suffering of the prisoners and their just cause? This will help form an international public opinion that would pressure the state of Israel to stop the violations of the rights of the prisoners and to comply with their just demands that are endorsed by international law. On top of these demands are to close the administrative detention file, and to stop solitary confinement and the prevention of family visits.
Palestinian, Arab, and international messages of solidarity: “Dear Faiha, the prisoners´ hunger strike is one of the finest forms of resistance in defence of freedom and human dignity. In the absence of a just law, and with a judge that is placing the executor and the victim on the same balance, and with the world being blinded and deaf so as not to anger the ruler and controller of this world. Why not?! After having President Obama blame the Palestinian political division for the stumbling of the peace process, and never lifted a brow to take active steps to end the division. Lets raise our voice to say: Enough with this clear American bias against our people, that allowed for Israel´s oppressive measures to continue, to bomb the Gaza Strip, and to take the lives of twenty people more, to be added to the thousands of martyrs from our people. All what the world could do is ask for calmness?! Isn´t that but mere injustice?!¨
Zahira Kamal / Jerusalem
Greetings Dr Faiha, If the international women’s slogan for this year is: Bread and Roses, the slogan for Arab Palestinian women would be: Land and Roses. The suffering of female prisoners is but a condemnation to the brutality and racism of the occupation. When the torturers know how solid their victims are full of national pride, their brutality becomes even worse acknowledging their inability to face those that are right, and their fear of fighting them.
Huda Abu Ghaneemah/ Jordan
“Dear Faiha, Jack Lynch here, emailing from Ireland.
As you may have gathered, I am much taken by the parallels between the struggles of the Palestinian and Irish people. The Irish revolution was fought for on many grounds, not least those of feminism – and Irishwomen have always been to the fore in the struggle. On the question of hunger strikes, you probably know that it is an age-old tradition in Ireland. A person who had a grievance again another could fast outside the others' door to draw notice to their grievance and compel a recompense. From our freedom struggle there are many examples of hunger strikers dying in the cause. Terence MacSweeney, playwright, author and republican Lord Mayor of Cork, died on hunger strike in a British prison in 192o. And, of course, the 10 republican hunger strikers who died in our time (1981) in a British prison in Northern Ireland. They were demanding prisoner-of-war status which had been removed. There was a saying at the time : To outlaw resistance, first they must legalise repression. In the same period of 'The Troubles', hunger strikes were used as a weapon by the republican women in Armagh Jail. The conditions they were suffering under – strip searches and the like – certainly parallel the situation of Hana’ Al-Shalabi as you describe it.
In solidarity and story, Best wishes always.”
JACK LYNCH / Irland