Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: A Teacher from the Heart of Palestine That We Have Almost Forgotten About | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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How genuine Hanan Al-Hroub seemed, and how we shared her joy! The image of the Palestinian teacher standing on stage with her fists in the air and laughing in sincere and deserved happiness after winning the award for the best teacher in the world has been circulated.

This lady who grew up in the Dheisheh refugee camp decided not to let her children and students succumb to the path of frustration and depression that is difficult for Palestinians to escape from given their wretched conditions. Al-Hroub chose confrontation after an incident during which her husband was shot at by Israelis. Her children were shocked to see their father wounded and Al-Hroub refused to surrender to frustration and violence. She decided to give her children and other students hope and joy by educating them through play. She did this for years and successfully reduced the inclination of her children and students to violence. She devoted herself to being a mother and a teacher overflowing with vitality and positive energy.

The tale of this Palestinian teacher has become a source of inspiration to Palestinians, Arabs and people all around the world. The international press has also devoted a lot of space to covering her story. In this sense, her story is a perfect example of resisting the Israeli occupation positively, and contrasts the concept of resistance that is charged with negativity, especially the phenomenon of stabbings that has become prevalent in recent months.

Yes, we can beat occupation by smiling whilst we are being attacked, we can beat it by increasing knowledge, spreading this knowledge and refusing to drift towards violence. This does not ignore the depth of suffering, for here is Al-Hroub teaching us a lesson. Her tale has attracted global attention and has pumped a refreshing dose of life into the Palestinian tragedy that has almost been forgotten in light of what our region has experienced.

Do you remember the Palestinian tragedy? Yes, there is a tragedy called the Palestinian tragedy, and there is an occupation and there is an ugly occupying state called Israel. This is one of the matters that regimes like that of Bashar Al-Assad sought to make us forget about by carrying out more dreadful acts than those carried out by the occupier Israel.

By persevering and embracing calm, Hanan Al-Hroub managed to prevent many students from resorting to violence. This is an important story of success that has partially put Palestine back in the spotlight and the world is reminded once again of Palestinians’ suffering. Stories of stabbing incidents and the killing of Palestinian protestors are removed from the news and in the last five years 200 Palestinians have been killed as opposed to 28 Israelis.

Before Hanan Al-Hroub, coverage of Palestinian news continued to decline despite the fact that the Palestinian tragedy had not improved in any way. In recent years, Palestinians have lost the traditional attention that their cause has always received. Hypocrisy with regards to the Palestinian issue has marginalised Palestinians before others even if some people believe the nonsense that the key to liberating Jerusalem is in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

For Al-Hroub, the path is clear. It is the path that rejects violence and insists on life, learning and hope. If what Al-Hroub did is not considered resistance, what is?