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Some of the Warriors That Shined in Palestine 

posted on: Apr 24, 2024

By: Malak Hassouna / Arab America Contributing Writer 

During the ongoing conflict in Gaza, people have used social media platforms to speak on the crisis. Many women did not intend for their lives to take such a turn, and this would be their career perspective, if you can even call them that. These people have shown us continuous activism and raised awareness regarding their cause in more ways than one. 

First, I would like to point out Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American national, and an Al Jazeera reporter, who was killed by Israeli forces on May 11, 2022.  While covering the raid of Jenin in the occupied northern West Bank. This is not my first mention of Shireen. If you recall, my article regarding Ramy Youssef spoke a bit about how his crew for his show was on the ground when this happened.  Her death sparked outrage not only in the Palestinian community but globally as it was an unjust killing of a longstanding TV journalist while wearing a press vest and standing with other journalists. Additionally, these press individuals were not given any warning, and there were no Palestinian combatants present when the journalists were shot, thus contradicting an Israeli statement implying that it was Palestinian fire. It additionally made a public nightmare for the IOF as it was all seen on video. 

Many Palestinian officials and people spoke out regarding the unjust killing of a well-known and respected member of the community who was outspoken regarding the violence that happened to Palestinians at the hands of Israeli Occupation Forces. 

Ahed Tamimi is a famous Palestinian activist in the Occupied West Bank. I am sure we all remember her from the recordings and photographs in which she confronts Israeli troops during a raid on her home in 2017. During the raid, her 15-year-old cousin Mohammed Tamimi was shot. She retaliated by slapping and kicking the troops out of their house. She was jailed for her fortitude and accused of assault, provocation, and hurling stones. During her trial, the judge questioned her, “How did you slap the soldier?” She replied, “Untie my hands, and I’ll show you how.” Tamimi is currently studying law to help “hold the occupation accountable.” 

She was one of the most high-profile people arrested by Israel in retaliation for the Hamas October 7 attacks. The military tried to keep her in jail without charge, but then she was released during the swap. However, when she was released from jail, she made it her mission to shed light on the awful conditions within and emphasize the daily humiliation that 30 female inmates continue to endure. The scarcity of necessities, such as food, water, and blankets, creates a bleak image. Tamimi also mentions threats related to her father’s incarceration. Tamimi stated that ten additional female inmates arrived from Gaza, leaving their children behind on the streets and that their position is severe.

The smilest face we see in Gaza, through the entire Bisan Owda, is now a journalist, yet she is a former videographer. Owda was raised in Beit Hanoun. She had so many interests before the genocide in Gaza. She was interested in storytelling early on, reading, basketball, and astronomy. Owda’s movies include a range of tones, from hopeful to cheery to melancholy to afraid to furious, both across and within stories. We see her march with thousands of people carrying their things across the Strip during their repeated forced displacements, flames rising from blazing buildings in the distance, and residents’ boots treading across sand and rubble. 

Plestia Alaqad is a Palestinian journalist and poet from Gaza living in Melbourne, Australia. Alaqad had a mainly happy upbringing in Gaza, thanks to her mother Rana’s efforts to shelter her from the “horrors that sometimes descended on the strip.” Alaqad attended The American International School. She studied New Media and Journalism at Cyprus’ Eastern Mediterranean University, where she will graduate in 2022. Alaqad formerly worked as an HR professional at a marketing agency and spent her leisure time building a tiny Instagram following. She also provided media training regularly while working as a freelance journalist. Before the 2023 Israel-Hamas conflict, Alaqad’s web material primarily comprised of tourism content to destinations like Cyprus and Turkey. Alaqad, who was scheduled to start a new job on October 8, 2023, rose to prominence online after she began posting video diaries capturing life in Gaza during the 2023 Israel-Hamas conflict on Instagram. Other news organizations have shared Alaqad’s films. In her videos, Alaqad has stated that, in light of the conflict, she understands her late grandfather’s sentiments about his experiences during the Nakba, the mass flight and deportation of Palestinians during the 1948 Palestine conflict Alaqad wrote poetry in her journal and delivered it as a featured act at Sydney’s 2024 Bankstown Poetry Slam.

Hiam Abbass is a well-known Arab actress who has played prominent roles in both Hollywood and local films. Left her country 30 years ago to pursue her aspirations of becoming a film star, following generations of women in her family who were formed by exile and “learned to leave everything and start anew.”The documentary, the Palestinian entry for next year’s Academy Award for Best International Feature, follows Abbass and Soualem as the mother-daughter duo laugh, weep, and recount the lives of four generations of women in their family.”Bye Bye Tiberias” premiered at the Venice International Film Festival more than a month before the latest Israel-Hamas conflict, which was precipitated by the terrorist group’s lethal entry into Israel on October 7. Her involvement in Western media and projects has helped bring much attention to the Palestinian cause. Especially the talks they had with people with different perspectives on the Palestinian-Israel issue. 

The ongoing conflict in Palestine has thrust a spotlight on the unwavering spirit of its women. From journalists documenting the harsh realities to activists defying oppression, these women are not only fighting for their homeland but also leveraging the power of digital spaces to spread awareness. This essay explored the stories of Shireen Abu Akleh, Ahed Tamimi, Bisan Owda, Plestia Alaqad, and Hiam Abbass – all women who have utilized various digital platforms to amplify their voices and the Palestinian narrative.

Their efforts perfectly exemplify the rise of feminist digital activism. Social media platforms like Instagram have become battlegrounds for truth, with Palestinian women like Alaqad offering firsthand accounts of the conflict, challenging biased mainstream media narratives. Journalists like Owda use their videography skills to capture the human cost of the struggle. At the same time, established figures like Abbass leverage their international platforms to keep the Palestinian cause in the global spotlight.

However, the fight for a free Palestine is far from over. Feminist digital activism is crucial in garnering international support and pressuring for a peaceful resolution. As the world continues to watch through digital lenses, the stories and struggles documented by these courageous women will undoubtedly shape public discourse and hopefully pave the way for a more just future for Palestine. It is our job to continue the fight, therefore, I would like to share an a list of resources put forth by my dear friend Zoe Smith. 

Master List of Resources to Send Aid

Help Gaza:

Help Palestinian Women: oogle_crisis+watch&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=crisis+watch&ut m_content=gs+ad& le_donation&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=donation&utm_content=gs+ad&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwrIixBhBbEiwACEqDJfdhYEgAcO5gxBMHJlhYI8YX su4c50eo10alVkukzKZH4t4i2aEB1RoCujMQAvD_BwE

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