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PALESTINE: The Frail Bodies Resisting Israeli Occupation Strike Fear into the Hearts of their Captors

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Jamila Bouheirad. (Archive Photo)

Article written by Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Political & Media Advisor to Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad

Algerian hero Jamila Bouheirad once told me when I met her in 2008: “The French colonial authority condemned me to death when I was only eighteen years old. My mother came to see me, and it was supposed to be the last visit. My mother told me not to cry or fear anything, because Algeria would remember me, and that Algeria deserves all of our souls. My mother was never weak, she did not cry, instead she saluted me and she was assured of our final victory. After she left, the French prison guard that was watching us and listening in on our conversation was crying, and I thought she was crying because I was going to be executed. So I asked her, ‘why are crying? My mother and I did not cry, so why do you cry?’ She responded, ‘I weep for France, because I’m certain that we will leave Algeria as long as Algerians have this strong faith and determination.”

Determination and faith were the basis of every people’s victory again colonials, tyrants, and mercenaries, and they are the foundation of the national liberation movement that spread across Africa and Asia against Western colonialism.

Today, we’re living through a new experience that requires the Arab to have unprecedented faith and determination, because the Palestinians are facing the Israeli occupation with their frail bodies. Their bodies have become their tools to resist because all other tools for resistance were taken away from them, except for their strong determination and deep faith in Palestine, and that Palestine deserves sacrifice, and that Palestine will remain through the suffering and sacrifices of resistors and martyrs.

Yet the question here is why did Muslims and Arabs assume that Palestine is the responsibility of those prisoners alone while Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim officials are occupied with settlements and concessions that do not contribute to our cause or actually challenge the Zionist plans for Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf?

These compromises and recognitions are hollow words which the Israeli occupation does not take seriously. The occupation is not afraid of the disunited Arabs, but it is concerned over those prisoners who believe in their cause and are willing to lay down their lives for Palestine, thus showing future generations the true path to defend the sacred cause.

There is no doubt that while Israeli prison guards are confronted with those Palestinian prisoners, they feel frustrated and concerned that a cause defended by such brave people could never be defeated.

The other question is that a billion Muslims and non-Muslims are living today in the month of Sha’baan, preparing to receive the holy month of Ramadan. However, they did not turn the holy fasting of the prisoners into a fast heard of by humankind in the four corners of the earth and did not turn this determination into a global movement for Palestine.

The loser here is not the prisoners at all, but the biggest losers are those defeatist Arabs and Muslims. They undermine their position in the eyes of the world and lose their value in the eyes of others. What place in history will be for Arabs and Muslims have if they don’t stand up for their brothers and their cause?

The disregard from most Arabs and Muslims to the importance of this ongoing battle of these defenseless heroes only points to the separation of these Arabs and Muslims from the real life cycle, the balance of power, and the essence of strategic thinking that keeps nations strong in the eyes of others.

The failure of these people to respond appropriately to the great sacrifices made by these prisoners for Palestine, and for all Arabs and the Muslim nation. This failure is one of the most important aspects of extinction. Nations descend and become extinct when the compass is lost among its people, and when the bonds between its sons are broken, it becomes almost impossible to meet on a common ground.

In other words, the failure we have seen from most Arabs and Muslims to show solidarity with the prisoners and to carry their cause to the region and the world is not a Palestinian shortcoming.

There is no doubt that the battle waged by these prisoners with their bodies and their noble souls is an honourable battle and a winning battle by all standards. The spirit triumphs over the body, determination and faith will win over the chains, the prison walls and the cruelty of the jailer.

This battle calls upon us to stop and think about the future and destiny of our nation in the absence of its nationalist parties. The sectarian Islamist parties have torn the nation and handed it to the Western enemy, and made it a prey for looting and squandered Arab lands and rights.

It is a battle that calls for reflection and for questioning who are the prisoners; are they the ones who challenge the harshest of actions with their bodies and will?

Or are the true prisoners those living in the illusion of compromises, lies and false personal victories that do not exceed the limits of their already limited thought ?

It is a battle that shows that these Palestinian prisoners are the true free men, and that those others, who do not have the will and the tools of victory are the true prisoners in body, spirit, mind, will and determination.

***

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