Comedian | Professor | Writer
(& Smartest) Arab
At 22 years old, I want to be a journalist. And while I seek inspiration from many different people, my most recent comes from Janna Jihad, who resides in the West Bank of Occupied Palestine. She’s 10. Let that sink in. At 10 years old, she’s not playing with Barbies or trying on makeup. She’s out on the dangerous Palestinian streets confronting armed Israelis, filming bloody scenes and, above all, giving Palestine more of what it needs: a voice.
So, we have no excuse. If Janna can prance around the streets with her camera amid gunshots, bloodied bodies and ravaging tanks, we can certainly do more. Especially here in the U.S.
When we walk outside here, there are no tanks crumpling the ground by our sidewalks. There are no armed troops conducting random raids and arrests. There are no checkpoints. And yet, we’re still idle. We don’t do nearly as much as we can. Janna is doing something simple, yet crucial. She’s spreading awareness.
I remember watching the campaign to stop Joseph Kony. I’d never even heard of Kony, nor of the atrocities he committed in Uganda against children and other innocents. When I first saw the video, it had garnered hundreds of thousands of likes. By the time I watched it again, it had soared to millions. All of the comments revolved around determination to bring this monster to justice. It was awareness. The simple act of notifying people.
We Palestinians need more of it. And we need to be the cause of it. Janna risks her life every day in the West Bank to be a voice for the voiceless. She films what the dead cannot. She speaks for the pained child who’s bleeding beside her. She shows the peaceful and determined side of Palestine the world isn’t used to seeing and hearing. She’s endangering herself for her people. Her age doesn’t exempt her from an Israeli rifle. They’ve murdered plenty of children. What would one more be to their inhumane bloodbath?
We need to do more. We need to occupy the streets and spread the truth about Palestine and Israel’s lack of humanity. We need to educate those who are misinformed. By lacking the fervor of people like Janna, we aren’t campaigning for Palestine’s freedom in the ways we should.
Every day, more Palestinian blood run. Every day, more Palestinian mothers are forced to weep amid their sons’ battered bodies. Every day, more Palestinian land is demolished, colonized, and transformed into some family’s nightmarish memory.
And every day, the people refuse to see. In some cases, it’s not because they can’t, but rather because we’re not showing it to them enough. And no amount can ever be enough. As adults, it is supposed to be our jobs to teach young children like Janna the proper ideals and conduct. But in this case, the kid is ahead of us all. If we weren’t inspired before, the sight of Janna risking her life should be the spark we need.