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07 March 2014

By Khalid Amayreh

Any catalogue describing the suffering and resilience of modern women would be incomplete without designating a special chapter for Palestinian women. We all know that the Palestinian people has survived despite the often indifferent will of history, having been targeted for liquidation and ethnic cleansing by a merciless and unethical Zionist movement, foolishly embraced and actively backed by western powers that are themselves devoid of humanity, morality and justice.

But the survival of the Palestinian people wouldn't have been possible without the legendary steadfastness and resilience of the Palestinian woman.

As the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said, the Palestinian woman remained "the faithful guardian of the sacred fire."

The Palestinian woman had to run the "internal front" while her husband, brother, father or son were busy fighting the foreign invaders. As women elsewhere, the Palestinian woman could have easily allowed herself to be carried away by the frantic waves of decadence, corruption and immorality. But her faith proved stronger than all the dehumanizing appeals and seductions.

The Palestinian woman often had to (and still has to) fight on two fronts at the same time, the seemingly existential fight against the criminally racist Israeli occupation, and the enduring challenge posed by a society that only parsimoniously granted women their rights and freedoms.

The Palestinian woman fought the battle generally successfully without sacrificing her morality and traditional virtues.

To be sure, the struggle is still far from over for the Palestinian woman just as is the case for the Palestinian people.

However, I am confident that the Palestinian woman will retain her ability and vigor to give and sacrifice despite the numerous challenges facing her.

Today, the Palestinian woman fights on all fronts. She is a political or resistance prisoner languishing in Israeli jails and dungeons. She is a resistance fighter taking part in the enduring and bitter struggle for the freedom of her people. She is a medical doctor, a lawmaker, a university professor and college student. And above all, she is a wife and mother, carrying out her noblest and most sublime duty to raise her children and safeguard the Palestinian family, the ultimate and most formidable obstacle that consistently prevented the Zionist enemy from achieving its sinister goals.

Unfortunately, efforts to degrade and corrupt the Palestinian woman don't come solely from the Zionists. Some libertarian and un-Islamic circles funded by Western agencies work day and night to undermine the Arab-Islamic identity of the Palestinian woman. Needless to say, the ultimate goal of these un-innocent agencies is to corrupt, prostitute and compromise the Palestinian woman's moral standing.

These agencies, which have their own morally-blind agents, want the Palestinian woman to lose once and for all, their religious, moral and cultural immunity in the face of Israel.

Indeed, in the name of women's liberty and liberation, these agencies are effectively encouraging vice and fighting virtue. They are conspiring against the Palestinian woman, pure and simple.

Indeed, while these agencies and their unethical local agents are vehemently and convulsively against marriage at a young age, they, none the less, don't stop signaling to young Palestinian women and women everywhere that it is OK to have multiple boyfriends and indulge in premarital sex and all sorts of promiscuity. For these agencies and those standing behind them, chastity is a primitive thing of the past that doesn't suit the modern woman!!!

For these enemies of Islam and religion, a woman wouldn't be truly free if she covered her head with a piece of cloth, obeyed her husband, served her children and refused to go naked.

Al-Hamdullilah (Thanks to God), the vast majority of Palestinian women have refused to sacrifice their morality and religious commitment in favor of unbridled westernization that often brings with it excessive enslavement to lusts and desires along with the inherently superficial and disingenuous freedoms western or westernized women are purported to have.

Yes, Palestinian and other Muslim women are berated and often insulted for their benevolent modesty. In some western countries, they are called names and are even physically attacked for showing off their religious commitment.

But, in the final analysis, this is an inevitable tax a Muslim woman must pay for maintaining her faith in God, dignity and morality.

Perhaps the Prophet Muhammad was Alluding to our time when he said: There will come a time when holding on to one's faith will be like holding an ember of fire with one's fingers.

Once again, a big salute to Palestinian women and all other struggling women all over the world especially in Syria, where they must withstand the shocking and unthinkable repression of the Nazi-like regime of Bashar el-Assad.

Khalid Amayreh is an American-educated journalist living in the Hebron region of the West Bank.



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