Michael Riordon

the view from where I live

Mustafa Tamimi has died

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(Photo: Activestills.org)

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old resident of Nabi Saleh died from injuries sustained after an Israeli soldier shot him in the face with a tear gas canister, which blew off half of Tamimi’s face.

In this short video, posted by the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, Mustafa Tamimi lies unconscious after being shot.

Why are Israeli soldiers attacking his village, Nabi Saleh?  This pungent article on Nabi Saleh by American writer Max Blumenthal is worth reading in its entirety; it’s not long, but contains in microcosm the whole history of the Israeli colonization of Palestine.  Here’s a relevant excerpt:

“The village has been besieged by its neighbors from the religious nationalist Israeli settlement of Halamish since Halamish was constructed in 1977 on land privately owned by Nabi Saleh’s residents.  Recently, the settlers seized control of a fresh water spring that has belonged to Nabi Saleh since the village was built in the 19th century.  In December 2009, the settlers uprooted hundreds of the village’s olive trees in an attempt to re-annex land awarded back to Nabi Saleh in an Israeli court case.  Since then, farmers from Nabi Saleh have been subjected to routine attacks by settlers and prevented from working their land.  The Israeli army has come down firmly on the side of Halamish, suppressing the demonstrations with disproportionate force while doing little, if anything, to prevent settler violence.  But if the spirit of Nabi Saleh’s young demonstrators are any indication, the army has a long way to go before it breaks the villagers’ will.”

For decades across Palestine, people have been risking their lives in non-violent resistance to the theft of their land, and the occupation of their lives.  In the concluding chapter of Our Way to Fight, Lamyaa Yassin explains why Israeli violence keeps escalating against unarmed protestors.  Though she’s speaking of her own village, Bil’in, the same vicious pattern applies throughout the occupation, including Nabi Saleh.  “As time goes on,” says Lamyaa, “the soldiers get more violent.  I think they see that everyone here is still strong, still struggling, and this bothers them very much.  They must think that by now, after so many home invasions, jail and beatings, people would be too afraid, but this is a struggle for our land and our lives, so we continue.”

(Photo: Lazar Simeonov)

So many good people, many of them young, die under Israeli military attack.  Because the governments of the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, France, Germany, Italy and others support Israel unconditionally, ensuring that it remains comfortably immune from international law, they are accomplices in crimes against humanity.  Essentially these crimes are committed in our name.

What can we do?  In the introduction to Our Way to Fight, I quote an eloquent Greek blogger: “We have a duty to move here, there, anywhere but back to our couches as mere viewers of history, back home to the warmth that freezes our conscience.”

We can refuse to be helpless.  We can inform ourselves, and refuse the lies.  We can tell others what we know and think, refusing to be silent.  We can pass along information like this as widely as possible, to counter the tidal wave of misinformation fed to us non-stop by the mainstream media.  And:

BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel – remains one of the most effective non-violent tools available to us.  A good place to start on the whys and hows is here, at the portal of the BDS Movement for freedom, justice and equality.

Thousands of international, national, and local campaigns are in progress world-wide.  There are countless ways to get involved.  To connect with what’s happening where you are, here is a list of solidarity organizations.

For Mustafa Tamimi and so many others still living, still struggling, please take action.

Author: Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.

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