Exchange to Change May 2017 20170524 EtC mei 2017-web - Page 7

INTERVIEW activism is the retaliation of the state through criminalization of activists, human rights violations and violence. There have been situations in the past when my personal security was at risk but I continue to fight because I believe in social justice and social transformation. On the upside, being an activist provided me with the critical lens to understand our world today and why injustices and inequality exist. E2C: Could you tell us a bit more about your own role in this protest movement and why you decided to engage in this? I would say ‘social’ rather than ‘protest’ movement as we also propose alternatives apart from challenging, exposing and opposing. As for my role, I see myself as a facilitator-campaigner and activist researcher who provides a contribution to agrarian, social justice and women’s movements in terms of (i) creating linkages and providing a space for various movements to come together and discuss how to amplify their voices in development policy circles; (ii) providing urgent, timely and grounded analyses and research. I do not overestimate my role or importance since much of the work or activism I do, is done collectively. E2C: Did your engagement in this affect your personal and/or 7 professional life? If yes, how? ‘The personal is political’, as feminists say. My activism cuts across both my personal and professional life so in many ways they overlap, interlink and weave together. I try to walk the talk and that means being consistent in what I believe in and do: from the very mundane things to the bigger battles and struggles. What my activism has also taught me is that there is nothing normal or moral about systems of oppression and repression. That you can imagine a better world. You need to build or be part of social movements that you believe in. Ruwa Altalhami | Palestinian State E2C: Could you provide some background with regards to the reasons and origin of the activism you protested in? I participated in a street protest against the violations of rights in East Jerusalem. The protest took place in July 2014 during the holy month of Ramadan after the kidnap and murder of 16-year-old Palestinian teenager Mohammad Abu Khdeir. Three Israeli extremists kidnapped him outside a mosque next to his house. They forced him into a car, beat him and burnt him alive. Investigations revealed soot deposits in his lungs. E2C: Did it make any difference? The purpose of the movement was to protest against the violations of the rights of Palestinians, express anger and expose Israeli practices on the local and international level. The protest was stopped by the Israeli forces, they fired tear gas towards Palestinians who were protesting and closed the streets with cement blocks. The clashes continued for several days. E2C: Could you tell us a bit more about your own role in this protest movement and why you decided to engage in this movement? I decided to participate in this movement to support the Palestinian case. As a Palestinian who lives in East Jerusalem, I strive consumer boycot like any other to defend the basic rights of Palestinians and fight against any violation that takes place in the region; especially in my home town. The teenager victim was my neighbour and I felt the need to expose Israeli violations against children and Palestinian citizens, which violate all international human rights laws. demonstrate volunteer grassroot E xchange to change M ay 2017