It’s clichéd but true that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. For this reason, everyone – not just the “left” – has an obligation to stand up for political prisoners like Rasmea Odeh.
On Wednesday, this paper printed an ad hominem attack on Odeh and her supporters. The author labeled her a “terrorist,” ignoring the fact that the 69-year-old woman’s confession was obtained after torture, including rape and electric shocks, by the Israeli military. He further asserts that Odeh is linked to a Marxist-Leninist group.
These bogeyman buzzwords have been used against past freedom fighters, as well.
Nelson Mandela was on the U.S. terrorism list until 2008 for being a Communist, and the similarly left-wing Kurdistan Workers’ Party — our ally in the fight against ISIS — remains on it today.
Odeh has been targeted in an attempt to undermine her advocacy for Palestinian liberation. She has called attention to the fact that Israel, guilty of the crime of apartheid, illegally occupies Palestinian land and subjects the Arab population to countless indignities.
Palestinians are regularly shot in the streets. They are subject to arbitrary imprisonment and torture. Many live with the memory and under the constant threat of missiles exploding over their heads, killing their loved ones.
Segregated by 26-foot concrete walls, their homes and gardens are destroyed and illegal Israeli settlements constructed on the ruins. Food, medicine, and other supplies are ruthlessly restricted. Palestinians are seldom allowed to travel, even to see family members or obtain life-saving healthcare.
When we stand up for Rasmea Odeh, we contribute to the fight for justice. We celebrate the resilience, strength and determination that Odeh embodies. Her present plight presents us with a choice: shall we stand with the oppressed or be the oppressor?
Jaz Brisack is a sophomore general studies major from Oxford.