A letter by Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has been published by Vogue magazine, in which the teenager “tells the story of her arrest and eight months in an Israeli prison – and the struggles she faces as a symbol of resistance”.
Originally printed in the October 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia, the article is also available online.
“I am a child of the Israeli occupation. It has always been there. My first real memory is of my father’s arrest in 2004 and visiting him in prison,” Tamimi wrote.
“At the time, I was three years old; he has since been arrested on two further occasions. Last year, when I was 16, I was arrested too, during a night time raid, for slapping a soldier who was standing in our yard. I was sentenced to eight months in an Israeli prison.”
According to Tamimi, “life behind bars was very hard”, with the Israeli authorities preventing the girls from making study groups. “Only my immediate family was allowed to visit me,” she wrote, “and that was limited to 45 minutes through a glass barrier every two months.”
Tamimi used the opportunity to highlight how, while she has become “the symbol of occupation”, there are “300 other children in Israeli jails whose stories no one knows”.
The teen noted how becoming “a spokesperson for the Palestinian cause” is “not easy”, since “with this role comes a great deal of responsibility and pressure”. In addition, Tamimi is on a suspended sentence for the next five years – “I must tread carefully” she wrote.
Tamimi wrote in Vogue that she intends to study law, in order that in the future, she can do “high-level advocacy for Palestine and speaking at the International Criminal Court in the Hague”.
“I understand that I have this role now, but I have no privacy anymore,” she wrote.
Sometimes I feel like I am losing myself – my personality. People ask me what life was like in prison, but I wish I didn’t have to talk about it. I just want to forget.