Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hungry for Freedom, Starving for Justice: a story of a hunger striker Adnan Khader

Sometimes when I ponder about being a Palestinian, my mind travels towards the direction of responsibility, a heavy load of existence, survival, humanity and freedom. A life where everything seems to be some how a beautiful disaster.

When people ask me how I view my self, I answer with I’m a Palestinian woman which in my mind equals to a survivor, a human.

The struggle of the Palestinian people has been a topic that has pre-occupied history for over 64 years, something that has troubled the minds of the political world and has made writers, historians, politicians and religious leaders question concepts of life, justice and the essence of humanity.

To me, the core of the word Palestine, the Palestinians is humanity. History has managed to pigeonhole Palestinians into a category of either “ terrorists ” or “ victim” of a certain political imperialist scenario ; somehow the constant struggle to find a dictionary definition of what it is to be a Palestinian creates an explosion of discourse and political rhetoric rather than simplifying it to “human” or “ person” . Even though Mr.Newt Gingrich believes we are invented , I actually talked my parents and asked them if I was invented they said no ! And I actually believe them! For me my own definition of Palestinian would be: “a person or persons who were forced into a scenario where life became a constant fight for survival, for freedom.”

Hunger for freedom has pre-occupied the minds of Palestinians , the word Freedom itself is so important because when generation after generation grows up in extreme conditions of political and social repression , the dream towards ending the pain becomes a reason to live , to be here , to endure all the pain hoping that our little actions or our existence can one day bring on a free or better future for people who live in the land , for people who dream of the land , for people whose love is Palestine , people who still hold on to the keys of their homes that they fled their homes in 1948 , refugees who are reaching the end of their lives , holding on to every little breathe they have in a hope or a dream of one day to return to their homeland , romantic isn’t it ? An entire group of people with a collective dream of freedom, a dream of life ….

I remember driving past the wall in the area of Bethlehem one Tuesday morning a few months ago and staring at this ugly grey structure that has destroyed the geography of a once beautiful land turning it into huge prisons blocks and bantu stands , feelings of pain and anger filled my heart as I tried my best to avoid eyeing the structure that to me is an extremely visual representation of the Israeli occupation ; until I came upon a graffiti on the wall that read in huge letters “ existence is resistance” these three words filled my face with a smile and a sensation of pride and honor to belong to a people who have dedicated their life to the plight and hope of Justice .

What fills my heart today is the struggle of Adnan Khader, a 33 year old Baker from a village near Jenin in the occupied west bank. Adnan Khader enters his 62 day on hunger strike today after his was put under “Administrative Detention which is imprisonment without trail or charge or evidence in Israeli Jail.”

Mr.Adnan Khader started his hunger strike protest on the 18th of December , his affiliation with an Islamic political group seems to be a good enough reason for being imprisoned and denied his basic human right that is stated in the UN bill of rights Article 19 that reads “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” So what was Adnan’s crime? Freedom to hold opinions? Because he thinks differently than what Israel likes? What would the world be like if everyone who thought differently and expressed it was put in prison?

Khader Adnan’s life at the moment is in the hands of the Israeli military court, an arm of the colonial Israeli occupation of the land of Palestine, Earlier this week, an Israeli military court rejected an appeal against Adnan's continued detention. The Israeli prison service has said Adnan was being dealt with in accordance to his "definition as a security-administrative prisoner".Adnan is using the power of his commitment to survive and endure his hunger , his situation medically is getting worst day by day , and the eyes of the world around him is expecting his death. Solidarity has sparked and continues to spark with a hope of some sort of “humanity or justice” to come from the Israeli military courts, prays and thoughts are tightening around the words of Khader as he holds on to the slight possibility of the dream of seeing his new born child as a free man in a free just Palestine, in a world his children deserve to grow up in, a place where the power of justice and human dignity ignites peace.

For today dear friends, lets take a moment to honor Mr.Khader Adnan and tell his story, because maybe, just maybe his love for freedom can transfer to us and to the world around us to make us as strong as a man, just a man who is giving his life so his country can live, or a least a story of a baker that gave his life for freedom.