Friday, December 23

15-Year-Old Palestinian Girl Denied Visa for U.S Speaking Tour

[ Ed. note – Ahed Tamimi is the blond-haired Palestinian girl who has been seen in countless videos and who always seems to stand out–not only because of her striking looks and young age, but also because of her persistent determination in resisting the Israeli occupation. That’s her in the photo above–taken, I think, about five or six years ago. Here is a much more recent photo of her:

Tamimi was slated to be part of the No Child Behind Bars/Living Resistance speaking tour that is to tour the US beginning on January 15, 2017, but according to an email sent out yesterday by the Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), she has been denied a visa to enter the country. I guess the thinking at the State Department is that anyone who bunches their fist and shakes it in the face of an Israeli soldier must be a terrorist.
Of course it isn’t difficult in the least to figure out why the Israeli government would prefer not to have someone like Ahed–described by FOSNA as “charismatic and articulate”–going from city to city in America discussing the brutal injustices she and others her age are subjected to on continuing daily basis. It would take a fair bit of mainstream media bellowing about “Hamas rockets” to offset the public relations disaster.
But the tour, it seems, will proceed anyway, and even though Ahed will not be here physically, plans nonetheless are being made to link her to US audiences via live-stream video. Of course the girl is subject to arrest any time–or alternately Jewish settlers could just happen to attack her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh before the video teleconferencing is set to begin. You never know how these things are going to work out. About all I can do is say a prayer for Ahed and her family, and I encourage others to pause now and do likewise.
The email from FOSNA:
Living Resistance Tour Update

Dear Friends,
It is with great sadness that we share that the U.S. Consulate has failed to provide a visa for Ahed Tamimi to travel to the United States at this time. Though we will continue to advocate for Ahed to gain access to the United States for future speaking opportunities, it does not at present look as though Ahed will be able to join us in person for the Living Resistance Tour.

Efforts to silence voices such as Ahed’s only serve to motivate us at FOSNA to amplify Palestinian struggle and resilience. We will not give up. Arrangements will be made to bring Ahed to each of the tour cities via video to speak on the situation on the ground and share her story. We will amplify her voice, even though she cannot be with us in person. Ahed will be joined by Amanda Weatherspoon, a Unitarian Universalist minister whose ministry is centered on collective liberation and cross-movement solidarity between oppressed peoples. Together, these powerful women will connect state-sponsored violence and the criminalization and incarceration of youth in the United States and Palestine. Nadya Tannous, a writer and organizer in the Bay Area who has researched the detention of Palestinian minors since 2013, will join the tour to provide additional insight into the realities Palestinian minors face within the Israeli detention system.
Despite this setback, we will move forward with the tour to build coalitions that will organize around halting state repression and state-sponsored violence. To see when the tour will travel to a city near you, check out the Living Resistance website. To help organize publicity and audience outreach in your city, get in touch with the tour organizer, Nadya Tannous. Finally, you are always able to financially support this effort via this link.
Tarek Abuata

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