Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Khader Adnan’s dignity
As I write this on day 60 of his hunger strike, Khader Adnan is still alive, as far as I know. There is no news yet today about his condition, although I came across a claim that he has fallen into a coma. We may be outraged that Israel upheld his detention and did not release him, but how could it have? Adnan in his own words made it clear that his protest is not only for himself, but for all prisoners detained illegally. Israel releasing Adnan would mean admitting that its detention of him was illegal, and then who knows, the whole house of cards could crumble—illegal imprisonment, illegal arrest, illegal occupation, illegal land confiscation, illegal annexation…
It is surprising that there has been no mention of how Adnan was arrested by Israel in Area A, supposedly under the control of the Palestinian Authority, the supposed basis for an independent Palestinian state, to supposedly come about in a negotiated two-state settlement. Check out the location of his village of ‘Araba on B’Tselem’s map. Quite a hoax they all got going.
Of course the judge appeared cold and callous by Adnan’s bedside. He should naturally be angry at Adnan’s subversion. The imprisoners are to have all the power. How dare Adnan find a way to have power, to retain his dignity. For despite all their domination, torture, interrogation, and secret evidence, Adnan can still control whether he eats. He can decide not to eat. He exercised this self-control, even though his jailers attempted to have every sort of control over him.
Adnan has decided not to eat knowing the inevitable outcome. Herein lies his incredible bravery and his power of non-violent resistance. We can hope that Adnan’s choosing death would bring about change akin to that which resulted from Mohamed Bouazizi’s choosing death in Tunisia. But even if it does not, at least Adnan knows that he has retained self-control and dignity in the face of grave injustice, oppression, and cruelty. I hope this knowledge will provide solace and comfort to his family. May it also inspire and humble the rest of us. No poem, no work of art, no oration could be more moving than a man patiently, persistently, painfully taking his own life.
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