Shocking child abuse
IN RESPONSE to Sameer Naik’s article, “Constant battle in life of fear” (Weekend Argus, July 29), it is a disgrace that Janna Jihad is being lionised instead of helped.
A tour of Palestinian activists coming to share a film with South Africa is outrageous because it promotes brainwashing and manipulation and calls it legitimate activism. It is reasonable to bring activists from all parts of the world to South Africa and to listen and debate their views, but to glorify what is essentially child abuse is another thing entirely.
Janna Jihad is an 11-year-old girl. With Ahed Tamimi, 16, and Muhammed Nawajah, 13, she is touring South Africa as part of the “Pals 4 Peace” tour from July 19 to August 14.
They are in South Africa to promote a film made about the young “activists” (child abuse victims) called Radiance of Resistance.
The film glamorises the activities of the children, who are being encouraged by the adults in their lives to demonstrate against and confront armed and dangerous soldiers.
This in the middle of a situation in which militant actions against those soldiers and violent riots are commonplace.
Janna and Ahed, like most of the people in Nabi Saleh, are members of the Tamimi clan, which has produced many prominent militant extremists.
Bassem Tamimi, a clan elder and the father of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, proudly described Janna as a proud graduate of “the Nabi Saleh school to create the generation of freedom fighter(s) to liberat(e) Palestine.”
What is that school? Why not ask his wife, who proudly described Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of a brutal attack which killed 15 civilians at a pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem, as being “an integral part” of the Palestinian “struggle”.
Refusing to condemn such violence, she said “everyone fights in the manner in which he believes. There is armed uprising, and there is popular uprising. I support every form of uprising”.
Such calls to armed struggle do not go unheeded. On Wednesday, a 19-yearold Palestinian stabbed and critically injured a 43-year-old supermarket worker in the city of Yavneh near Tel Aviv.
Such stabbing attacks against civilians are increasingly common in Israel, incited by the Palestinian leadership who continually exhort young men to “resistance”.
This is the environment in which these young activists were raised in.
Janna has been a journalist since the age of 8, when she first gained media attention as a child star of the Palestinian struggle. In a shocking clip she was filmed screaming “we will kill you” at Israeli soldiers.
In a sane society, she would still be in school, playing with her friends. If her older relatives have objections to Israel’s policies, let them go themselves to film protests, reach out to Israeli leaders and negotiate for a just and lasting peaceful solution to the conflict.
Instead, they have placed the most vulnerable in harms way. As Bassem Tamimi boasted on his blog, women and girls are deliberately placed at the front of marches to shield the men (who throw rocks at the police) from retaliatory fire.
It is to the disgrace of Janna’s family and her society that they have placed her in this position.
They encouraged her to attend protests in which they knew tear gas and rubber bullets would be fired. They trained her to become an activist and a journalist when she was too young to understand what was going on.
Of course she loves and respects her family. Of course she fears the soldiers in her village.
Of course she doesn’t understand why Nabi Saleh was captured by Israel in 1967, or that the Palestinian leadership has consistently refused to make peace with Israel, despite repeated offers of statehood.
It is symptomatic of a political culture which has no solutions, no plans and no endgame.
If this tour was about peace, they would be discussing proposed solutions to the conflict, mobilising to raise awareness to support specific, implementable policies that could better the future of Janna and all other Palestinians.
But the tour, like Palestinian civil society as a whole, is not interested in or capable of doing that. All it is capable of doing is using its youngest and most vulnerable citizens to buy the sympathy of the world.