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Never obey the occupation: the legacy of Bassel al-Araj
We will hear several accounts of what happened in the Ramallah area on 6 March 2017, when Bassel al-Araj was killed in an Israeli military raid. How long did the confrontation between Bassel and the Israeli soldiers last? Was the video published by Israel purporting to show the incident authentic? Did Bassel manage to injure any of the soldiers? We may never know. But one thing we can be sure of is that Bassel never surrendered. “The biggest insult against a martyr would be to say that he was obedient, submissive and polite in the face of his killer,” Bassel once said.
Bassel was anything but obedient. Resistance was his choice. He wasn’t driven to this path by depression, economic anxiety or lack of opportunities but rather by an unwavering commitment to the Palestinian struggle for full, unconditional liberation.
Pictures circulated by Palestinian users on social media after Bassel’s assassination carry immense symbolism. They show stains of blood, Bassel’s trademark blue shoe, his kuffiyeh, a gun and a pile of books. Among the books Bassel left behind was one on the ideology of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci. That was appropriate: Bassel epitomized the grassroots intellectual that Gramsci wrote about. “If you want to be an intellectual, you have to be engaged,” Bassel said in one of the oral history tours he directed in Jenin, a city in the northern occupied West Bank. “If you don’t want to be engaged – if you don’t want to confront oppression – your role as an intellectual is pointless.” Bassel believed in making knowledge accessible to everyone. This requires reaching out to people, speaking to them directly in a language that does not alienate them – without being simplistic or patronizing.
Another book found in Bassel’s shelter was by Mahdi Amel, a Lebanese Marxist assassinated in Beirut 30 years ago. Much like Mahdi Amel, Bassel fought a losing battle, in the tactical sense. Bassel was a skinny activist-turned-warrior, who had no military experience and did not belong to any political faction. He did not stand a chance against Israel’s military and intelligence apparatus and its “subcontractors” in the Palestinian Authority.
read more here https://electronicintifada.net/content/never-obey-occupation-legacy-bassel-al-araj/19851Soldiers assault and detain B’Tselem volunteer, Madama, February 2017
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