Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the mother of Smadar Elhanan, 13 years old
when killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem in September 1997. Below
is Nurit's speech made on International Women's Day in Strasbourg.
Thank you for inviting me to this today. It is always an honour and a
pleasure to be here, among you (at the European Parliament).
However, I must admit I believe you should have invited a Palestinian
woman at my stead, because the women who suffer most from violence in
my county are the Palestinian women. And I would like to dedicate my
speech to Miriam R`aban and her husband Kamal, from Bet Lahiya in the
Gaza strip, whose five small children were killed by Israeli soldiers
while picking strawberries at the family`s strawberry field. No one
will ever stand trial for this murder.
When I asked the people who invited me here why didn't they invite a
Palestinian woman, the answer was that it would make the discussion
I don't know what is non-localized violence. Racism and discrimination
may be theoretical concepts and universal phenomena but their impact
is always local, and real. Pain is local, humiliation, sexual abuse,
torture and death, are all very local, and so are the scars.
It is true, unfortunately, that the local violence inflicted on
Palestinian women by the government of Israel and the Israeli army,
has expanded around the globe, In fact, state violence and army
violence, individual and collective violence, are the lot of Muslim
women today, not only in Palestine but wherever the enlightened
western world is setting its big imperialistic foot. It is violence
which is hardly ever addressed and which is halfheartedly condoned by
most people in Europe and in the USA .
This is because the so-called free world is afraid of the Muslim womb.
I have never experienced the suffering Palestinian women undergo every
day, every hour, I don't know the kind of violence that turns a
woman's life into constant hell. This daily physical and mental
torture of women who are deprived of their basic human rights and
needs of privacy and dignity, women whose homes are broken into at any
moment of day and night, who are ordered at a gun-point to strip naked
in front of strangers and their own children, whose houses are
demolished , who are deprived of their livelihood and of any normal
family life. This is not part of my personal ordeal.
Furthermore, Israeli, American, Italian and British mothers have been
for the most part violently blinded and brainwashed to such a degree
that they cannot realize their only sisters, their only allies in the
world are the Muslim Palestinian, Iraqi or Afghani mothers, whose
children are killed by our children or who blow themselves to pieces
with our sons and daughters. They are all mind-infected by the same
viruses engendered by politicians. And the viruses , though they may
have various illustrious names--such as Democracy, Patriotism, God,
Homeland--are all the same. They are all part of false and fake
ideologies that are meant to enrich the rich and to empower the powerful.