The Sheer Horror of What I’ve Witnessed

Zaheer Mohiuddin was part of the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine delegation in July-August 2017. This delegation was co-sponsored by PPF, American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Interfaith Peace Builders. Zaheer continues to reflect on his time in Palestine, and he writes here about several of the people he met who have been arrested or killed since the delegation met them just over a month ago. 

It’s been about a month since I’ve returned from Palestine. Every time I sit down and try to write about my experience – I freeze – unable to find the words that can encapsulate the sheer horror of what I’ve witnessed. In light of some recent events, I’ve finally managed to muster some words…

1. My host at the Dheisheh Refugee camp in Palestine was arrested the night after we stayed at his home – bringing the tally of his group of friends arrested or killed by Israel to nine of ten. On September 4, Raid al-Salhi, whom I had breakfast with along with my host, died from wounds after being shot more than five times point-blank fleeing a raid by the Israeli army. Raids occur nightly in this refugee camp – designed to intimidate and eliminate Palestinians resisting the illegal Occupation (More coverage on Raid here and on raids here). The captain of the Israeli army unit responsible for the camp has repeatedly expressed little regard for human life, even instructing soldiers to shoot at the youth’s knees to disable them and elongate inevitable death.

For every person that dies at the hands of Israel, graffiti artists in Dheisheh paint a memorial to them along the walls of houses in the camp. Their faces are a reminder to the residents to never give up.

2. Issa Amro was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) on September 3 for expressing his opinions on Facebook. I met with Issa in Hebron where, within the span of two hours, he confronted the Israeli military and freed two Palestinians being harassed right in front of us (see a video here). The PA and Israeli military routinely arrest political dissidents under the banner of ‘security coordination’. Issa is internationally recognized as a human rights defender by 32 U.S. Congressman (incl. Bernie Sanders) & Amnesty Int’l among other human rights groups. He is currently facing a trial in Israeli Military Court over 18 charges relating to peacefully resisting the Israeli occupation (ex. yelling at Israeli soldiers).

3. Aung San Suu Kyi, laughably a Nobel Peace Prize winner and de facto leader of Myanmar (Burma), continues to remain silent over the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya minority. Her silence appears to be politically motivated.

*Ignorance / silence is complicity*

We have limited time & resources and can’t fight in every social justice battle. What we can do though, is be aware and give a damn about the war. Whether its #BlackLivesMatter or #FreePalestine or #DontForgetRohingya, there is something you can do for each and every one. He who does not oppose evil commands it to be done [da Vinci].

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith”.