Open Letter to Hillary Clinton From a Young Palestinian Feminist
Open Letter to Hillary Clinton From a Young Palestinian Feminist
By Layali Awwad / commondreams.org
Nov 15, 2015

Dear Secretary Clinton:

As a young Palestinian girl growing up in a patriarchal society, your speeches about women's rights inspired me to imagine a world where gender equality could exist. As first lady, you famously declared, "Women's rights are human rights." That's something I strongly believe, too.

That's why I was surprised to read your article in The Forward. I was surprised because when you chose to speak about my homeland, not once did you mention Israel's human rights violations against Palestinian women and children. Even worse, you described us as lurking terrorists motivated only by "incitement," as if the Israeli military occupation does not exist.

I am not a terrorist. I do not believe in the use of violence. I am a young Palestinian woman who grew up under occupation and is trying to better my life through education. It has not been easy. Starting at the age of five, I had to pass through Israeli military checkpoints to go to school. I was searched and humiliated on a daily basis, along with my parents and sisters. One day soldiers released dogs to chase after us. They shot their guns at us. I could have been killed, as many Palestinians are, for no reason. I could have been Hadeel Salah al-Hashlamun, the 18-year-old woman and college student who Israeli soldiers killed at a checkpoint in September.

There are millions of women and girls like me. What about us? According to your article, we do not exist. We are invisible, like women have been treated throughout history.

Did you know that half of Palestinians are women and girls? Did you know that like our brothers, we also live under military occupation, and that Israeli settlers steal our land? Did you know that pregnant women rushing to the hospital have been stopped at checkpointsand have given birth there? Did you know about Isra' Abed, the young Palestinian mother who posed no threat but was gunned down by Israeli police in Afula? Did you know about Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian child who was kidnapped and burned alive last year by Israeli settlers? Did you know that the Israeli army killed 17 Palestinian children in the last month just for throwing stones, or for nothing at all?

You did not mention any of these things in your article. But I'm sure you know these things. You were the secretary of state and talk about getting the cease-fire in Gaza. I'm sure you know these things, but you chose to remain silent about them. Maybe that's good politics here in America, but it means pretending that people like me do not exist.

Secretary Clinton, you have been an inspiration for women and girls around the world. My own dream is to become a human rights and peace activist, but your article left me deeply frustrated. I know you can be better. Please do not forget us again.

Sincerely,

Layali Awwad

 

Layali Awwad grew up in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and is a Ramallah Friends School graduate. She is a first-year student at Kenyon College in Ohio double majoring in Economics and International Studies.

4.4 ·
3
Trending Today
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 9,864 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
The Corporation (2003)
145 min · 9,800 views today · The Corporation is today's dominant institution, creating great wealth but also great harm. This 26 award-winning documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts and future...
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 9,003 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Before He Was Assassinated, MLK Jr. Was Advocating For An End To Income Inequality
10 min · 6,144 views today · We can honor MLK Jr. by pursuing the causes he was advocating for before he was killed.  ​​ Part 2: The Basic Income, A New Human Right (3 minutes) MLK's idea of a basic...
Watch How Europeans Carved Up African Land They Never Owned
56 min · 5,982 views today · Watch how Europeans gave away African land they never owned, then expressed anger when Africans resisted. The film is called Africa: A Voyage of Discovery, Episode 6: The...
Coping With Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the White House
N Ziehl · 1,900 views today · I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 1,421 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
#ReclaimMLK Seeks to Combat the Sanitizing of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy
Danielle C. Belton · 1,020 views today · Martin Luther King Jr. had more than “a dream,” but you might not notice that on Monday during observances for his birthday. Somewhere between his assassination and today...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 836 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Comprehensive Activist Guide to Dismantling Neoliberalism
Drew Serres · 600 views today · “The creation of today’s market society was not the result of a sequence of spontaneous events but rather of state interference and violence.” – Naomi Klein in The Shock...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 580 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
22 Documentaries That Tell the Truth About How Government Really Works
Tim Hjersted · 575 views today · And 6 that show how people are responding.
Positive Thinking in a Dark Age: A Guide to Gracefully Losing Faith in a Collapsing Dominant Culture
Jim Tull · 372 views today · I recall a Buddhist parable involving a stick that appears from a distance to be a snake, causing fear to rise in the perceiver. As the perception shifts upon closer...
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine · 361 views today · “…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” —Arthur Young; 1771 Our popular economic wisdom says that...
This Woman Gets No Applause...Why? They Are Too Creeped Out...
7 min · 353 views today · Think you aren't being fooled by advertising tricks? Take a look at this so-called expert revealing food marketing's secret weapon. No amount of marketing makes factory farming...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 334 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Live Before You Die
6 min · 287 views today · Travelling the length of the country and back again with a pair of horses and gypsy caravan, Live Before You Die is the ultimate horse-drawn road movie, following a band of...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 277 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
One "Piece of the Oppressor" That I Have Discovered Within Myself
Tim Hjersted · 255 views today · One "piece of the oppressor" that I have found in myself during my inner activist journeys is my use of shame as a method of engaging with the world's problems. Having learned...
The Age of Anxiety
Grace Blakeley · 250 views today · I began to experience the crippling power of anxiety in my third year of university. The panic attacks were one thing, but the most horrifying thing about anxiety, the thing...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Open Letter to Hillary Clinton From a Young Palestinian Feminist