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Music Video Tribute for Palestine and Ziyad YaghiSiraj Davis Salem-News.com
A story of growth with two former students of mine, Bader Apoelar and Ahmed Abdel Khaliqm...
(EAST JERUSALEM, Occupied Palestine) - Today's youth is a beautiful and energetic resource which can be prepared toward creating a better future. I personally enjoy shaping the minds of this resource throughout my career, to prepare them not only for success, but to also bear and struggle with the unfortunate burdens we adults fail to resolve today.
It sometimes appears to be an abysmal future for them, filled with obstacles which they will inherit from our time. The most difficult challenge amidst this augury is to breach the apathy and selfishness of humans, a challenge we all fight against, and some of us never succeed past. Albeit it is difficult for many of us to affect the minds and hearts within the majority of the youth, satisfaction and hope is bred from witnessing the various seeds that each of us plant, sprout into something beautiful for others to witness.
The following is a story of such growth with two former students of mine, Bader Apoelar and Ahmed Abdel Khaliqm, who have used their hearts and skills to make a heartfelt musical message to the world, to provide a voice for the following injustice.
On July of 2009, a young innocent Jordanian American of Palestinian heritage named Ziyad Yaghi was suddenly arrested with six other men, quickly charged, and wrongfully convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorism. The supposed "ring leader" of the group, Daniel Boyd, was given the lightest sentence of 15 years while Ziyad Yaghi, with the least amount of evidence against him, was condemned to 30 years. The media excitement, government code words, and atmosphere of America after the 9-11 attacks; set the foundation for the quick conviction of the accused.
Initially , many people assumed it was a closed case when the conviction was finally delivered. However, the truth after records have become accessible is that, it was all wrong!
Further details for Ziyad Yaghi's case here: http://www.salem-news.com/
Some may wonder why do some of the lyrics and signs within their music video mention Palestine and Ziyad Yaghi together. What does wrongful imprisonment have to do with peace in Palestine? The overlooked response these young students wanted to accentuate is the scarred feeling of injustice to their people and permanent difficulties attached to one of the largest refugee populations in the world, which every Palestinian has to live with everyday.
Ziyad Yaghi is a microcosm of that injustice which Palestinians endure. A life seperated from their home and families, negative stereotypes which they are sometimes stigmatized with under the War on Terrorism, wrongful imprisonment, the lack of full rights and citizenship within their current place of exile, and the unfair acts and policies they witness or suffer from those with overwhelming power who wield such evil over a weaker and innocent people who are only protecting their homeland and unique culture, their existence. The most poignant and salient message these students elucidate is one of the special qualities which I have learned to love and respect of the Palestinian people.
They refuse to submit their innocence, memories and heritage, and pride which are the sentimental and exigent values that no power on this earth can strip or steal from them, no matter how many weapons of mass destruction a country may employ against Palestine.
These students, instead of shaking their heads in despair for the aforementioned injustices and whispering in brief private conversations with platitudes and worthless condemnation against their offenders, they embraced the belief and hope that their own actions and words, despite the possibility of not making a difference, is worth a horatory attempt.
They learned to step outside of their own minds and bodies to formulate their sympathy for a fellow human, who they view as suffering the same abuse and injustice as Palestine, and by the same antagonists. In this world, we read sullen stories and rendezvous with pessimism in the mouths of some strangers or friends we occasionally meet, sometimes we feel our leaders and the affluent do not care, but we only have hope and a resilient spirit which refuses to capitulate to a contagious cancer of hate and fear which often threatens to annihilate the beautiful world we all share. That is one of life's purposes, not submitting to the norm of empty compassion and concern for our fellow humans found in the hearts of many, and these two students with their friends have evinced their understanding of this poignant lesson at an early age.
The exhilarating and emotional music video they have created is a conglomeration of many Jordanians holding up card board signs expressing their heartfelt wish for the freedom of Ziyad Yaghi and Palestine. Upheld writing exclaims "Head up, Fed Up" delineating the youths' fear and rage of entering a world filled with the conundrums of today. It is an observable phenomenon which history and research has demonstrated as an axiom, that the newer generations of youth become more vocal and active against oppression than the previous ones.
It was true for the African, Hispanic, and Asian American minorities in America, and I have witnessed steps that are coming to fruition in the Palestinian and Arab populations now. It is a beautiful gift of God to see such historical phenomenon come to life within my lifetime. Other signs in the video state, "Jordan supports Ziyad" which screams to Ziyad behind the cold and harsh concrete of his solitary confinement that he still has a country if he ever seeks to return after his ordeal, a country where the people promise to love, respect, and treat him fairly. It may not be Palestine, but it is still his home.
A third note posits "no mother, no father, to wipe my tears, that's why I cry. I feel scared, but I won't show my fears. I keep my head high deep in my heart. I never have any doubt that Palestine, tomorrow, will be free" which expresses Ziyad's symbolism for the Palestinian plight in a world they acknowledge is now designed to extricate their rights to justice, land, and their freedom; a person and homeland that will never be forgotten regardless of the number of years Ziyad must tolerate or how much Palestinian land has been stripped from the historical boundaries of pre-1940s Palestine.
A beautiful smile from a female holding a paint spray, shines the humanity within these artists turned human rights activists. A young man with blue jeans sitting in the middle of the road embodies the hope for the world to stop in their monotonous and dehumanizing routines just for a moment, to recognize and act in order to correct these injustices.
All of these expressions are present against occasional images of a brick wall canvas with a blue and white declaration spray painted on it that reiterates the final and most significant message, "Free Ziyad Yaghi!" Freeing Ziyad Yaghi and Palestine is worth more than people realize and because of that, our little contentions and disappointments in essence are tolerable and forgivable in order to sacrifice for a dream we all share.
Despite the Palestinian people's tribulations, I have learned not to exhibit sorrow for them, but for their transgressors. Why would I make such a ridiculous assertion?
I have witnessed with my own eyes since living with Palestinians for three continuous years that the Palestinian people have an unmatched resilience, a natural fighter in its every definition that is a mirror reflection of their past heroes whose abilities at tenacious fighting is restrained solely by that same past where granting more compassion for the enemy than received is the norm, an identity which can not be erased but only substituted with louder shouts of Free Palestine with each inch of land that disappears from their possession!
Therein lays the reason that I feel sorry for their assailants because I have witnessed the inevitable, peace or continuous resistance, submission to injustice is not in the Palestinians' vocabulary. And some feel the same for Ziyad Yaghi.
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