“Thank You for Your Tears, but I Don’t Want Your Sadness”

“Thank you for your tears, but I don’t want your sadness. Nor do I want your money. Please save that for the people in your own country who need it. My people have dignity and don’t want your pity. We’re not the victims. The brainwashed Israeli soldier who carries his rifle and shoots with no humanity-he’s the real victim. We want you to see us as the freedom fighters we are, so you can support us the right way.”

Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi gave this message to a group in South Africa after a documentary screening featuring the peaceful protests against occupation in her village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank. She talks about the sympathy and money that people would offer her after hearing her story and this was her response. Although this message was shared in 2016, it really hit hard. As we’re flooded with the genocidal assault of Gaza in real time, my first reaction is often tears, it is human to cry but what comes after. How do we channel this into long haul solidarity actions that are as sustainable as they are piercing. Everything in her book, co-written with journalist Dena Takruri, is critical reading.

On November 6th, Ahed Tamimi was taken by the Israeli Occupation Forces again and released weeks later. Now is the time to share her story and the numerous stories of Palestinian resistance at every opportunity. She ends her story with these lines:

“By now, you have reached the end of my story and you too have a decision to make…. Are you going to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and help in whatever way you can- whether by spreading awareness to others, pressuring your government, or further educating yourself about what’s happening? Or will you ignore what you’ve learned, put this book down and carry on with your life as usual? The choice is yours.”

Thankful to our book club for reading this together, so many of the people in this group are meaningfully engaged in actions online and offline.

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