Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year old Palestinian, is not a new activist. The first time the Internet acknowledged her heroic acts was in 2012 when a picture of Tamimi raising a fist at an Israeli soldier went viral. This time, the young warrior has been freed from an Israeli prison after serving 8 months for slapping a soldier in December.
According to NY Times, Tamimi gained maturity and knowledge during her 8-month sentence. She says, “I learned how to stay patient, to be in a group. I did my best to use the time to study. I came out more educated, and (I) understand the world better than when I went in.”
Tamimi has hopes for studying international law and continuing to fight for her people’s rights. In prison, she realized the importance of using education as her weapon and encourages others to do the same. Tamimi’s resistance is a symbol for the courageous youth all over the world fighting for equality on a daily basis.
Here are some steps we can all take to follow Tamimi’s footsteps:
1. Read International News Sites
Education is the first step in activism. Simply keeping yourself updated on what’s happening in your community is not enough. It’s important for you to know what’s going on around the world. There are several quick ways to stay caught up. Read the news for 30 minutes/day, download an informative podcast to listen to on your way to work, and remember that knowledge is power and power is freedom.
2. Help Your Local Activists
People you see around you may be your future representatives. If you see someone your neighborhood calling for a community meeting on an issue you care for, consider supporting them by attending their meeting, going to electoral rallies, are building discussion groups around the topics the activists speak on. If you happen to disagree with something in your neighborhood, talk with your friends, start speaking at the park near your house, get your voice out there! Your ideas deserve to be heard and everyone’s involvement is valuable. We can only make a difference if we stand together and united.
Be an activist yourself! This world is not perfect. Fight for the injustices that affect your everyday life whether that is gender discrimination in the workplace or racist comments on the train. There is a lot of wrong in this world, but we are responsible to make it right. Nothing will happen if you respond to injustice with silence. Every voice, every email, and every Tweet matter. Avoid from thinking your battles don’t matter and fight with every inch. Why keep waiting if you can act now? Believe in yourself and the hope we have been shown through the young activists.
Tamimi is an icon for Palestine and for human rights. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, praised Tamimi for being a “model of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, independence and statehood.”
It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the brave young people that are standing up for injustices around them. It’s difficult for a child to fight against authority figures knowing their life or the lives of their loved ones are at risk. Tamimi has accomplished a lot through her resistance. She has inspired many Palestinians and teenagers around the world. We can use the stories of youth activists like Tamimi to encourage us to keep fighting for the continuing injustices all around us. As people seeing these videos/pictures of raw activism, our goal should be to help, uplift, and continue the legacy of fearlessness.