On International Women's Day 2023

On International Women's Day, MPPM honours women around the world - at home, in the fields, in factories or in offices - who fight for peace and freedom, against oppression, discrimination and injustice.

In this year 2023, which marks 75 years since the Nakba - the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the creation of the State of Israel - in this year when the repression, injustice, racism and segregation that victimise the Palestinian people not only continue but worsen, the MPPM pays special tribute to Palestinian women who, despite the harsh conditions, continue to resist, to work, to bring up their families, to educate their children.

This year 2023 is on track to be the deadliest for Palestinians living in the West Bank. The brutality of the occupation army and the settlers protected by it has no limits. Until yesterday 73 Palestinians were killed by the occupier, including an elderly woman.

The pogrom of 26 February, when hundreds of settlers unleashed acts of unheard-of violence against the inhabitants of Huwara and other towns and villages around Nablus, killing, wounding, destroying and looting, is still fresh in our memory (The term pogrom, with its historical connotations, was also used by Israeli organisations to describe the events in Huwara).

It was in Nablus that the poet Fadwa Tuqan was born in 1917 and died in 2003. As in much of the poetry of Palestinian women, the sense of resistance and love of homeland is present in this poem by Tuqan:

Enough for Me

Enough for me to die on her earth
be buried in her
to melt and vanish into her soil
then sprout forth as a flower
played with by a child from my country.
Enough for me to remain
in my country's embrace
to be in her close as a handful of dust
a sprig of grass
a flower.

The occupation is also reflected in the restriction of the freedom of Palestinian women, children and men. On 28 February, there were around 4,700 people in detention, including 29 women and 150 minors. Among those, 860 people were in administrative detention - the infamous practice that allows imprisonment without trial or charge for indefinitely extendable periods - including 7 minors and two women.

Another Palestinian poet, Hanan Awwad, born in Jerusalem in 1951, praises the admirable resistance of the Palestinian people:

Last Words of the Martyrs in Palestine

Don't be sad. The night has dropped its curtain,
The dawn has squeezed the heart expressing sadness.
When the sun disappears over the horizon, don't be sad
For our soul is overflowing with love
And of burning desire.
Don't cry, rejoice for the combatant
Who sought glory for his homeland.

O Jerusalem, symbol of eternity for a generous people
a symbol that will last until the end of time.
O Jerusalem, your wound is our wound,
Arm yourself with patience and be consoled.
Our sea and our sands
Rise up to strike down foes and tyranny.
How could we live when our wounds bleed
When our land remains thirsty and we endure martyrdom?
Death, or even the hell of prison bars,
Is preferable to a humiliating life.

We do not write poems for fame
For wealth or an enviable position.
But it is the hymn of the heart that
Mingles with the spirit of limitless sacrifice.

I swear by the revolutionaries, by the wound
That we bear within us, on earth, on man;
I swear on the free men, on the love that
Dwells in our hearts, by the light and the fire.
I swear we'll defend our homeland
Just as she taught us.

In solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian men and women, the MPPM will continue to fight for their right to live in freedom in their sovereign and independent State.

Lisbon, 8th March 2023

The MPPM National Direction


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