Ahed Tamimi addresses Coventry meeting “It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

Ahed Tamimi addresses Coventry meeting 

“It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

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Ahed Tamimi speaks to Coventry meeting

The following report was written by a Coventry Socialist Party who attended the meeting with Ahed Tamimi. An edited version appears in the current issue of The Socialist, the weekly Marxist newspaper of the Socialist Party.


“It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

These were the words of 17 year old Ahed Tamimi, the young Palestinian arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli military who rose to worldwide prominence as a symbol of resistance against oppression and occupation.  Ahed spoke via Skype to a recent enthusiastic meeting of Coventry Friends of Palestine, organised around the issue of the treatment of Palestinian child prisoners.

Horrendous treatment of children

Karen, a member of the National Education Union (NEU) in Coventry and regular visitor to Palestine, and Mahmoud, a Palestinian living in Coventry and member of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, explained in detail the situation facing Palestinians with regard to how the occupying Israeli military treats children.

It was explained how between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted each year according to UNICEF. Reports have stated that ill treatment of prisoners is “widespread, systematic and institutionalised”.

Night time arrests

The whole process was described in graphic detail – 40 to 50 per cent of children are arrested between midnight and 5am, with the arrestees being blindfolded and tied. They are rarely informed of the reasons for their arrest with parents not being allowed to accompany their children when they are taken without warning by the military.

After arrest they are transferred which can take hours, often being kept at military bases in the West Bank, being denied access to food, water, toilets and other basic human rights.

Mahmoud reported how child prisoners are not informed of their rights, are denied access to legal counsel, suffer solitary confinement and are ‘encouraged’ to sign confessions written in Hebrew.

When in court it may be the first time they have had access to legal support or the first chance to see their parents since being arrested.

Long term effects

Punishments include prison terms, fines, suspended sentences, with 60 per cent transferred to prisons inside Israel – an act which is against the Geneva convention. The average fine is the equivalent of around £300, a huge sum of money for a people often denied the right to earn a living.

But it is not just the immediate effects of military detention, which include dropping out of school. There are long term psychological effects such as repressed memories, sleeping problems, bed wetting – no one let alone a child should have to suffer these things.

All of this needs to be put in to the context of the Occupation, it is not a separate issue but a direct consequence.

Ahed Tamimi – a symbol of resistance

Ahed began by saying that “The most difficult thing for a human to lose is their freedom”

She explained how she had suffered verbal and sexual harassment at the hands of the authorities in an effort to break her. Despite her formal education being interrupted by her arrest and detention, she had continued her education within prison with other Palestinian prisoners including arrested teachers, who organise regular classes for their comrades.

After a battle with Israeli authorities to be allowed out of the country, she and her family had spoken around Europe to large rallies to explain what is taking place and to help increase the solidarity movement.

Ahed went on to explain that in her view “It is true that suffering is high. But we are not victims. We are freedom fighters”

She urged the Coventry meeting to “keep up the solidarity and to put pressure on the government to end the occupation”.

The way children are treated is a direct result of the occupation and is a brutal consequence of this nightmare. As speakers pointed out, this is taking place in the context of the 1948 Nakba, with the forced expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their land with now millions living outside historic Palestine in refugee camps.

Fight for socialism

Ahed, along with all Palestinians resisting the Occupation, are inspiration to millions around the world.

We need to build a mass movement of ordinary people here in the UK to show solidarity with the Palestinian masses – capitalist governments around the world, with the EU and United Nations, are part of the problem not the solution, only the solidarity of working class people can be relied upon.

The continuation of capitalism in the region means war, instability and oppression. We support the fight to build a revolutionary socialist movement across Israel-Palestine with our sister organisation the Socialist Struggle Movement, and the wider Middle East. Mass struggle can put an end to racism, insecurity and the nightmare of occupation. Socialism would guarantee the right to self-determination of all national groups, as part of a voluntary, socialist confederation of the Middle East.

If you are interested in discussing the ideas contained in this article, and want to find out more about the work of the Socialists in Israel-Palestine and the fight for revolutionary change across the Middle East, please fill in the form below.

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Coventry commemorates Nakba

Coventry commemorates Nakba 

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Flash mob organised by Coventry Friends of Palestine

Saturday afternoon saw  Coventry people come together to take part in a flash mob organised by Coventry Friends of Palestine, to commemorate the Nakba. The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to the forced displacement and exile of the Palestinian people from their land following the creation of the state of Israel.

The event was part of week of action taking place across the UK and further afield, starting on Saturday 7th May and culminating on 15th May, the day on which the Palestinians officially commemorate.

Speakers included Andy Pettit from Stop the War Coalition, anti arms trade campaigner Paul McGowan, and Manal Timraz.

Members of Coventry Socialist Party supported this event, carrying the red banner of our international organisation, the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) and holding placards in English, Arabic and Hebrew of the Socialist Struggle Movement, our sister organisation in Israel-Palestine. We also distributed our Israel Palestine Bulletin which details the work of the CWI in the region.

With speeches, brilliant music and leaflets being distributed, the event made sure that the ongoing struggle of the Palestinian people does not go unrecognised. The establishment media and political parties are silent on this issue – therefore it falls to ordinary people across the world to build a movement in solidarity with the oppressed of the Middle East.

Coventry has a proud history of solidarity with the Palestinians, with big demonstrations organised against the attacks on Gaza, and ongoing events and actions to deepen that solidarity.

With the increase in settlement building in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza by the governments of Israel and Egypt, that solidarity will become even more vital and necessary. Coventry Socialist Party looks forward to continuing the solidarity and putting forward a programme and policies that we think can end the cycle of violence in the Middle East.

We are pleased to share this document from Socialist Struggle in Israel-Palestine that looks at the current situation, and also at our online resources page on this website

If you are interested in getting in touch and finding out more, please fill in the form below

What’s on in Coventry – Dates for your diary

What’s on in Coventry – Dates for your diary

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The coming weeks will see a number of protests, rallies and meetings taking place in Coventry. We have compiled a diary below of some of the events we are aware of. If you would like to help us put forward Socialist ideas at these events, for e.g distributing leaflets, our newspaper The Socialist etc. Please get in touch!


Tuesday 26th and Weds 27th April – Junior Doctors are on strike! Please support the picket lines at Walsgrave from 8am

Thursday 28th April – International Workers’ Memorial Day. Commemoration organised by Coventry TUC 12-1pm, in the garden behind Drapers next to Council House. Includes speakers from UCATT, Coventry TUC and other trade union organisations

Saturday 30th April – May Day event organised by Coventry TUC. Shout out against austerity. 12 noon, Broadgate Square. Speakers include Matt Wrack, leader of the FBU

Thursday 5th May – Local elections. Vote TUSC!

Saturday 7th May – Coventry Friend of Palestine are organising a Flashmob as part of international solidarity events to coincide with the anniversary of the Nakba (creation of the state of Israel). For more information and other events, visit their FB page

Thursday 12th May – 7.30pm Methodist Hall, City Centre. Coventry Socialist Party post election public meeting. Panama Papers, Tories split over the EU, rise of Socialism in the US. How can we build the fight for the 99 per cent. FB event here

Saturday 21st May – #wearecov protest against the English Defence League. The EDL are coming to Coventry. There will be a counter protest. Provisional time and location – 11am Broadgate Square.

Thursday 2nd June – No to the bosses’ EU – yes to a Socialist Europe. Public rally on the EU referendum organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. More details to follow