A letter to Tariq Abu-Khdeir

As a reaction on Alex Kane’s article on Mondoweiss about his visit to Abu-Khdeir family , I wrote this letter to Tariq.

Dear Tariq,

It’s been seven weeks since your traumatizing experience began with the horrible murdering of your cousin and friend Mohammed. As if that was not enough, you became a victim of the occupation’s violence yourself. You are only fifteen, your life should be about music, friends, school, as every teenager’s life should be. But unfortunately, the world is not as it should be. Too many children, too many teenagers, too many people have to deal with horror and violence. Too many teenagers and children do not have the choice but to become adults way too early.

The Israeli police treated you in the worst imaginable way, and then, the Israeli justice denied you justice. I will never forget your mother’s words the day they released you into house arrest. We asked her, if it helped that you had the US citizenship, and she totally agreed, “otherwise he’d have been pushed aside like a dog. He’d been left to rot in jail”, she said. That was while the journalists were assaulting you just after you came out of the court building with your mother and Ahmad Tibi. You know, your mother was really really upset about what happened to you. And obviously about what happened to Mohammed. Who would not have been upset in that situation? It was only a brief encounter, but I was deeply impressed by her courage to stand up and speak her mind in front of the media in spite of everything. She remained calm and described with well formulated arguments the injustice you and your family were facing. She is a strong woman, your mother, you can be proud of her.

When I saw you that day, with your face still swollen and distorted, I wondered if and how you would deal with this worst holiday one can ever imagine. Can a person, and especially a teenager, ever accept such outrageous injustice? Will you be able to go back to a normal life? Will the psychological impact of that experience allow you to grow up as an adult without being scared of whatever can happen? I hope so, and it seems, even a short time after that, you already started dealing with it in a very mature way.

The day you finally could leave Palestine, the day your holiday turned into a nightmare seemed to come to an end, the Israeli police raided and ransacked the home of your relatives in Shu’fat. Several of your uncles and cousins have been arrested, without charge. I remember the anger I felt that day, I remember asking over and over: has this family not suffered enough? I remember how desperately I wanted to forget about my commitment to non-violence in front of the soldiers, when the day after, I walked through Jerusalem as the army had closed the access to the old city for Palestinian citizen but waved me through without even looking at my bright red passport.

How must you have felt learning this news? How must your mother have felt?
Now, you are back in the U.S., you could try to forget what happened, you could try to live a normal teenager’s life, with music, friends, school. It might even be the easier way. But you chose to speak out. You keep telling your story, as painful as it might be, in order to show the world what is happening in Palestine. You agree to stand for all the Palestinian teenagers who get through the same ordeal, or worse, every day, while nobody really seems to care for them. And this is why I want to express my admiration for you. It is not a matter of course that a teenager gets over such a traumatizing experience to help others. You can be proud of the person you are. Thank you, Tariq!

I wish you all the best and hope you will be able to get back to something like a normal teenager life. I wish you to have a quiet school year, to enjoy the company of your friends, and much energy to keep going on. Good luck!

For further reading about Tariq and Abu-Khdeir family:

Tariq Abu Khdeir goes to Washington — and finds surprising support

Israeli police ransack Tariq Abu Khdeir family home and arrest relatives in apparent revenge raid

Mohammed’s Father (EAPPI summer team 2014 paid a visit to Abu Khdeir family in Shu’fat)

Short description of Tariq’s story by Addameer

Video of Tariq being brutally beaten up by Israeli police

Wikipedia article about the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir

*** *** ***
I have been sent to Palestine and Israel by HEKS-EPER and Peace Watch Switzerland as Human Rights Observer in the frame of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the sending organizations. If you like to publish the information contained in this article or disseminate it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communication Officer eappi-co@alqudsnet.com or Peace Watch Switzerland palestine@peacewatch.ch More information about our program can be found on www.eappi.org and www.peacewatch.ch

The middle east is under

The middle east is under trouble. And the USA is partially responsible for the dangers that take place there. USA is like a silent god.

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