Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1/4/12: Through The Eyes Of Hamas

Hamas Mujahideen (Jihadi fighters)

I must say that Wednesdays are a bit of a pain for a commuter such as myself. I have a class from 12-1:45 and then a break until 4 which is just enough time to feel like an overly long break, but not enough time for me to go home. Luckily, today I had a wonderful time filler that left me even more confused and conflicted by this ever consuming Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As I mentioned in a previous post I plan on dedicated a great deal of time to fully understanding everything I can involving Palestine (the people, the government, the history, etc.) Knowing very little about the Palestinian government I decided to begin this feat by watching a documentary on the Palestinian group, Hamas. Before I go into detail on the documentary, and my thoughts on what I saw, I must implore everyone who is interested in this region and conflict to watch this film (the link is provided here: 

Since anyone who is interested can watch the film for themselves, I won't go into great detail on the specific content. What I will do is focus on providing my thoughts on some very salient themes throughout the hour long documentary which was both eye opening and utterly fascinating. The first thing that really struck me was Hamas's principle of armed resistance in the face of, what they consider, a hopeless situation under occupation. Now, since I have seen first hand the occupation in parts of the West Bank, and can only assume that whatever I saw in places like Al-Walajeh and Beit Jala are greatly amplified in places like Gaza, it was hard for me to do anything but sympathize with their struggle for independence and statehood. Before watching this I would have never believed I would be sympathetic to anything having to do with Hamas, but throughout parts of the film I found myself in complete agreement with some of their arguments. As far as their use of violence, I feel that it does much more harm than good, but again, it is such a hopeless situation that I really don't know if I would do differently, and that is very hard for me to admit. 

Hamas, however, takes "armed resistance" a step father by radicalizing their approach to this way of dealing with the occupation, which brings me to the next theme that resonated greatly with me; martyrdom. The documentarians illustrated many ways in which martyrdom was, and is, used as a primary weapon of Hamas, however, the example that really haunted me the most throughout the film was the story of a Palestinian mother who sent her sons off to be martyrs, and did so proudly and willingly. As a woman I don't understand how a mother could send her child to die, but she was asked this question by an interviewer and her response was both profound and interesting. She said that as a mother, of course, she was devastated at losing a child, but as a Muslim fighting for Allah it is one of the greatest honors to fight and die for the cause of Islam and God, and that brought her great comfort. She has 10 sons, and she said that if she had 100 she would hope they would all be Martyrs. Her son entered a Jewish settlement in Gaza and killed 7 or 8 children at a school before he was fatally shot. 

No matter how hopeless the situation I will never understand, or accept, the purposeful killing of innocent people; this needs to be made clear right away. It is the greatest tragedy in the world when any innocent man, woman, or child (on either side) dies as a result of this conflict. While the ideologies of Hamas make a great deal of sense, their actions, and the execution of their ideologies, are extremely problematic and detrimental to greater peace. So while I condemn to the fullest the use of martyrdom, especially when it targets innocent civilians, I am not against other means of resistance to this occupation. I also should make it clear that when I talk about the occupation I do not do so in the same sense that Hamas would. Hamas views all of Israel as occupied Palestine whereas I see both entities existing side by side with Gaza, the West Bank, and parts of East Jerusalem as Palestine (lands that I consider occupied), and the rest as Israel.  

Unfortunately it is rather late and I just have so many thoughts on this documentary that it is hard for me to adequately make sense of everything that I am thinking, so I will wrap this up here. The point is that I think everyone should watch this film to at least expose themselves to views on this conflict from the side of more radical thinkers. Well rounded knowledge is never a bad thing even if you vehemently disagree with what is being said! 

Stay tuned for a post on how my first birthday abroad turned out :-)
Tisba7 3alah khier ya habibs <3,
Jordana Simone 

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