Bassem Abu Rahme, white t-shirt, photo Active Stills
I mourn the death of Bassem Abu Rahme, the 18th to be murdered, along with scores injured, while protesting against Israel’s illegal annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank. The death and injury toll at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces includes minors, countless local residents, journalists, and many Israelis and internationals. The oft- militarily-besieged village of Bil’in is one of countless villages in the path of the annexation wall Israel has constructed for so-called ‘security’ reasons, stealing Palestinian lands, and lives, in the process.
*Picture: Palestine Monitor
According to the Bil’in village website, Basem was shouting to the (armed) Israeli soldiers, “we are in a nonviolent protest, there are kids and internationals,” when he an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister at his chest, from a distance of 40 m.
I met Basem on numerous occasions in Bil’in protests in 2007 and was struck by his poise, courage, and humour. He could inevitably be found at the front of the march, dancing and singing as loud as the best of the villagers. Many a time, when I’d become despondent at the brazen abuse of power by the Israeli soldiers and their lack of humanity, it was the very humanity of demonstrators like Basem which lifted my spirits anew. Like most Bil’in residents, and those of other villages non-violently protesting the stealing of their land, Basem was out every Friday, facing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and various types of tear gas. It was the latest high-velocity tear gas projectile which bore into Basem’s chest, just as one did a month prior to Tristan Anderson’s head, rendering him critically injured.
And people, many of the whom support the rape and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, and of course Palestine, but not the legitimate right to resist a military occupation, have the gall to ask why Palestinians don’t non-violently resist, when they’ve been doing so all along, alongside legitimate resistance.