"As water is to life, so dignity is to my Humanity" -- Shireen Issawi
Shireen Issawi is a Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer who was arrested on March 6, 2014 by the Israeli military as part of a crackdown on lawyers who where defending and advocating for Palestinian Prisoners.
The lawyers, who were enacting fundamental Human Rights law, were branded as supporters of terrorism and have been incarcerated ever since. Shireen Issawi has become the very prisoner that she sought to defend, someone imprisoned and mistreated because of her work, her beliefs and her non-violent resistance.
Shireen was arrested because of her actions and complaints as a human rights lawyer concerning the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners and the holding of prisoners without charge. She was very much aware that defending the rights and treatment of Palestinians was a highly risky endeavour but this did not deter Shireen from her work and she continued to press forward in the face of mounting threats. Where would we be without such Humans, who are willing to sacrifice so much in the name of what is just, and what are we willing to do in support of them?
It is from the portal of Shireen Issawi that we can view the devastating effects of so many Palestinians currently imprisoned under similar conditions. Perhaps you might imagine your own sister, daughter, or mother arrested, knowing she is innocent but entirely unable to help her, and the world is mostly silent.
Shireen stands in for hundreds of thousands of Political Prisoners all over this Planet, in Burma, Bahrain, Egypt, China, Eritrea, Mexico, here in the U.S., and in almost every country across the globe. As citizens of the world, I hope we will feel obligated and committed to using whatever small tools we may have to denounce such abundant injustice, despite the complications, despite our fears about entering into the realms of Israel and Palestine, despite the ease and lure of keeping quiet and tending our own lives.
In this case, we at Roots to Resistance, a small arts and social justice organization, make our offerings to those who have long been seeking and fighting for Justice on issues in Palestine. We have painted an eight-foot-high portrait of Shireen and created a Global Postcard Campaign Demanding her Freedom and an end to the U.S. funding that perpetuates conditions of Occupation across Palestine.
Most importantly we have partnered with dozens of organizations and hundreds of peoples from all over the World to create A Global Sign Campaign Demanding Freedom for Shireen Issawi. The organizations and people involved in the campaign may not speak with one voice when it comes to all of the issues involved with Palestine and Israel, but we do speak as one about the absolute demand for Shireen's release from prison.
The Global Sign Campaign is an initiative asking folks from all over the planet to send pictures of themselves holding signs Demanding Freedom For Shireen Issawi. In the end we have gathered over 150 with more arriving each day.
Our goal is to invite all voices to demand justice, not just the politicized or those well versed in the talking points of the Middle East. The invitation is for all to join because we think that a movement filled with a diversity of opinions but one voice on Shireen is the strongest way forward.
Please come visit and enjoy the gallery of beautiful faces on our campaign page.
If you would like to add your own picture to our Global Sign Campaign please send your submissions on to us: [email protected]
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