It has been roughly a month since concerned citizens of the world have been gathering on Twitter every day at 2pm EST/7 pm GMT/ 9pm Palestine time, to tweet for the cause of Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention. These trending actions are initiated and maintained by activists of the Free Samer Issawi Campaign, active on Twitter under the handle @samerissawi1 and on Facebook here.
The purpose of these actions has been to mobilize world attention for those protesting against this inhumane Zionist practice through courageous hunger strikes, like Samer Issawi, Ayman Sharawneh, Tariq Qa’adan and Jaafar Azzedine.
Although in the beginning, these ‘Twitterstorms’ had only limited success, by now they have managed to become major daily rally points for citizens around the world to express their solidarity and give a voice to the hunger strikers and other prisoners. Nowadays, it not often happens that the activists fail to get their daily hashtag to trend on the Worldwide trends list.
Much of this increased success can be attributed to the involvement and support of pro-Palestine organizations and prominent activists whose participation mobilizes their adherents and supporters to join in sending tweets with the assigned hashtag of the day. This beautiful harmonious cooperation illustrates how there are still many solidarity groups who are able to rise above the level of petty criticism and factionalism. The ‘we didn’t initiate this, so we are not participating’ attitude fortunately is not as widespread as it sometimes may appear to be.
All the same, there are still activists who have a Twitter account who refuse to participate in anything that has not been sanctioned by their own group, or by the people they view as their opinion leaders. Some even venture to express their belief that these actions are counterproductive and useless. Nevertheless, in previous periods some of these same activists and groups showed no such hesitation when similar daily actions were initiated – often by these same people – for other hunger strikers such as Khader Adnan and Hanaa Shalabi.
I therefore categorically dismiss these attitudes. For example, I was never among the initiators of any of these campaigns, including the present one, but a very active participant in all. I have no degree of understanding for such attitudes, and unlike some others do not feel the need to see these actions sanctioned by any (pro-)Palestinian celebrity or organization in the world in order to feel that I am ‘allowed’ to participate.
When the ‘Twitterstorm’ is active, pro-Palestinian Twitter users are practically forced to remember those ailing in Israeli prisons. If the tag makes it to the Worldwide trends list – which it usually does – some neutral Twitter users may become curious about it. Journalists may choose to ignore what they see on that list, but still the impression will have been created in their minds that the cause of Palestinian political prisoners enjoys significant support among citizens of the world. All these effects matter. They make a difference, without the pretense of them being ground-breaking.
Will these Twitter actions magically cause the release of the hunger striking prisoners? Of course not. Do they help in maintaining and creating awareness among activists and supporters about the importance of their courageous refusal of food in Israeli jails? Of course they do. What arguments does one need to confabulate to maintain that they don’t? Have these actions been able to draw media attention to this cause? Yes indeed they have, and they have been more effective in this sense than some of the written articles in activist media, even though I would be the last one to contend that these are not of great importance as well.
I therefore wish to express my immense gratitude to those many Twitter users who, day after day, join us when we hit the Twitterwaves with hashtags calling for justice for Palestinian political prisoners. Check out the hashtags on Twitter, and you will be able to see for yourself who these wonderful people are. If you wish to join their ranks, please also read these tips which help make these trending actions effective.
Also, I wish to issue a call to all Palestine-supporters to endorse these trending actions, and better yet, to participate. If you are on Twitter anyway, it doesn’t require any extra effort to add the hashtag to your Palestine tweets (using copy/paste works wonders). It’s like seeing people walking in a pro-Palestine demonstration in a town, and facing the decision to either join in or continue shopping. One hour of your time will perhaps be sacrificed for a cause you already believe in – is that such a great sacrifice?
Finally, a note to the critics. Whatever your mysterious motives or arguments are against these actions, and with all due respect for your contributions to the Palestinian struggle, we have no intention whatsoever to stop doing this. If that is bad news for you, then allow me to add that I don’t feel in the least sorry for you about this. Watch the images on this page of World Trending hashtags – which is only a selection from what trended successfully – and expect many, many more of these to come.
Read a letter of Samer Issawi – On Day 209 of hunger strike
- For Translation in English by Rona Merril, Neta Golan click here
- Pour la traduction en Français par ISM France (@ISMFRANCE) cliquez ici
- For Translation in Dutch by Dr. Tariq Shadid (@Docjazzmusic) click here
Featured Music Video | HUNGRY! | by @DocJazzMusic
A journal published by Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights | June 26, 2012
“On Torture” is an edited volume of essays by Palestinian, Israeli and international legal and medical experts and practitioners based on presentations that they gave during a workshop held in Jerusalem in April 2011 entitled, “Securing Accountability for Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (CIDT) in Israel: New Trends and Comparative Lessons”.
The essayists explore the history of torture in Israel, the daily challenges that practitioners face in seeking accountability for torture and CIDT in Israel, and the changing face of torture.
|Palestine’s Prisoners – Pictures|
|Palestinian Prisoners Special Topic|
|Palestinian Prisoners –Category|
|The History of Israeli Torture – Topic|
|Child Arrests – Topic|
|All posts about Torture – Category|
|Hana’ Yayha Ash-Shalabi – Action Alert|
|All Related posts about Hana Shalabi|
|Palestinian Hunger Strikers: A History|
|Palestinian Hungerstrikers –List of all names|
|For reliable/latest news about hungerstrikers go to Addameer|
|All related posts about Khader Adnan
|We will not let you down Khader Adnan! – Photos & Action Alert|
Hunger Strikers, Risks for Health & Life