As a person who works for human rights and justice with the hope of changing the world for the better, the concept of humanity — where all human beings are equal regardless of religion, race, gender or any other difference — grounds me.
Working with CPT allows me to work with people and for people while challenging the dynamics of oppression. For example, the Be The Change Project has allowed me to understand further that the occupation is not the only oppression we face as Palestinians.
As a community that experiences occupation daily and resists it, it can be easy to forget the oppression within the community, like violence against women, child abuse, and the abuse of animals without mercy for human interests. Recently, while discussing the issue of animal rights and how sad animal abuse in the Palestinian community made me feel, I asked my friend, “How can we increase awareness of animal rights in our community?” She responded, “Think about the people killed daily by the Israeli Army in Nablus and Jenin and be sad about that. Think about the families who have lost their sons and brothers instead of thinking about animals.”
How can we think about one problem and forget the other, or how can our humanity include one thing and exclude the other?
Our humanity is integral. If we fight for one cause, we cannot ignore another cause or underestimate its importance. While we resist the occupation on the one hand — an external oppression that has traumatized us — we also face several internal issues of oppression. Through our human values, we attempt to make changes in our community, whether small or large, simple or complex. We need to believe in our humanity to improve our community.
Pray for the Palestinian people who are trying to liberate themselves. Pray that as they raise awareness of the internal issues of oppression and try to change it through the sharing of knowledge and by offering and experiencing acceptance, it will build a stronger and more resilient community that can go hand in hand in their struggle for freedom from the occupation.