Michellin Awwad, Poster Girl Palestinian Women’s Resistance

A poster features a young woman in black and a yellow scarf. The woman’s left hand carries the right sneakers with her scarf. While his right hand was holding a stone to throw into the crowd of Israeli soldiers.

The photos in the poster are not paintings, but they are real. He is Michellin Awwad who is now 68 years old. Together with his two children he lives in the West Bank, Palestine.

Age always fluctuated throughout his lifetime. When many young people took to the streets to throw stones, against the Israeli army, Michellin was one of them. Intifada name of the movement that took place in the era of the 1980s.

“That day there was a special event in the church, otherwise I would not wear that outfit to participate in the demonstration, we at the church did not expect a demonstration,” Michellin told  about the poster.

The incident took place around 1987 in Beit Sahour, a village in the West Bank region. Michellin joins a young man spilled on the street facing an armed Israeli soldier. Michellin’s photo is often shown as a symbol of Palestinian women’s resistance to the Israeli occupation. But the identity of Michellin undetected for more than 30 years.

“I looked down and picked up a rock, I knew there were people taking pictures, the demonstration was a call of conscience, youths and women coming down the street,” he recalled.

Michellin’s involvement occurred in the middle of the first intifada, 1983-1993. The conflict left 1,400 lives on the Palestinian side and 271 Israelis. The second intifada’s resistance erupted in 2000. A total of 3,392 Palestinians died, and 992 Israelis were killed.

Sociologist Joos L Hiltermann in his paper, The Women’s Movement in the Resistance, in the Journal of Palestine Studies says the involvement of Palestinian women in the period of resistance occurred since the 1970s. They participated in rallies, threw stones at Israeli soldiers, to fight with Israeli troops who arrested other demonstrators.

“The intifada not only shook the military, but also the revolution of the younger generation against the elderly, street activists against political authority, and women against their traditional position in patriarchal society,” wrote Hiltermann

In its development, the women’s movement evolved to break up the existing Women’s Working Committee into four politically influenced groups such as Fatah loyalists, Communists, and populists. Movement of women’s resistance was growing. Wellbeing and protection became one of their demands.

Now the Palestinians are back in turmoil because the decision of President of the United States, Donald Trump, recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The call of the third Intifada re-resonates. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestinians to take to the streets to conduct a new intifada.

Although already elderly, the spirit Awwad still churning listening to the call of the intifada. But he is now beginning to worry about the safety of his two children.

“I have two children, if one of them gets hurt and dies, my feelings will be ruined for the rest of my life, let my child be at home, I will be out,” he said.

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