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A Day in the Career Of… Fatin Al Tamimi, Chairperson, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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Fatin al Tamimi is Chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), the largest such group in Ireland campaigning for Palestinian rights. The IPSC was set up in 2001 by a group of human rights activists, academics and journalists to support the human and national rights of the Palestinian people.

 

A Palestinian woman living in Ireland for almost 30 years, Fatin’s role as Chairperson is a voluntary one – one she sees as more of a vocation than a job. Having promised her late Grandmother in Gaza that she will be a voice for the Palestinian people, Fatin tells The Daily Slog of the highly personal mission she is on.

 

What time do you usually get up and how do you start your day?

I am an early bird, so I wake up at around 7:30am and have my morning coffee while listening to RTE’s Morning Ireland followed by a Palestinian radio station to hear the latest updates in Palestine. Since what I do is a voluntary job, I don’t have to be at the IPSC office on a daily basis, unless it is a busy period. I do lots of my work via emails and phone calls. When I’m not at the office, I spend some time with my family and friends. I am also a photographer and often spend time on photography during the day.

 

The offensive attack on Gaza city affected me tremendously, not just because it was an inhumane massacre, but also because I have close family living there

 

Tell us about your journey to the position of Chair of the IPSC?

On 27th December 2008, there was a massive offensive attack on Gaza city which was launched by Israel. It affected me tremendously, not just because it was an inhumane massacre against Palestinians by Israel, but also because I have close family living there. My sister with her family of five children, along with my grandmother, my uncles and aunties from my mother’s side.

I couldn’t bear the pain of what was happening at that time, with hundreds being killed and thousands injured. I couldn’t just watch that happen without doing something, so I found a beacon of hope, which was the IPSC. The IPSC gave me a platform to speak up and be a voice for my people in Palestine.

I joined, and gradually became more active and involved, until I was elected to the position of National Chair of the organisation in February 2016. I am proud to have been the first Palestinian – though not the first woman – elected to that position.

 

I promised my late grandmother who died 3 years ago in besieged Gaza, without having the chance to be beside her when she passed, that I’ll never give up and I’ll keep the Palestinian voice heard.

 

What does the work of the IPSC mean to you personally? 

What we do in IPSC gives me hope that there are people in this world who care about justice, freedom and equality for all humans. Personally, it makes me feel that I am doing something for my people to help them end their suffering.

I haven’t seen my sister in Gaza for nearly 6 years now; 3 of her children I have never met due to the siege that they have been living under for the last 12 years. They witnessed 3 massive assaults and experienced the devastating loss of school friends and teachers slaughtered by Israeli bombs.

Gaza has been in the news lately, as since the 30th March, more than 100 people have been shot dead and more than 3,500 injured by Israeli snipers. People are protesting peacefully for an end to the 12-year siege on them and for their right to return to their homes and villages from which they were forcibly removed between 1947 and 1949 in order to create the state of Israel.

Hebron in the West Bank isn’t much better as my people there are subjected to closure and checkpoints, apartheid, daily arrests, extrajudicial executions, home demolitions and countless other daily oppressions.

 

Stay away from negative people, surround yourself with genuine caring people, and never give up hope.

 

How do you motivate yourself on days when your energy levels are lower?

I promised my late grandmother who died 3 years ago in besieged Gaza, without having the chance to be beside her before she passed, that I’ll never give up and I’ll keep the Palestinian voice heard. I shall not break that promise until my people can live in dignity, justice, peace and equality.

As well as that, talking to friends and family members in Palestine always inspires me and give me strength to keep going. Their steadfastness and hope empowers me.

 

What’s the best bit of advice you have been given in your career?

Stay away from negative people, surround yourself with genuine caring people, and never give up hope.

 

Fatin al Tamimi Michael D Higgins

 

What more can Irish people, and the international community do to assist the Palestinian people in your view?

The international community has a clear moral and legal obligation to support the Palestinians in their quest for self-determination and to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity towards the Palestinian people.

Israel has continuously, for the past 70 years, violated International Human Rights Law and UN resolutions, and it should be held accountable for these violations.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign exists to raise awareness about Israel’s ongoing settler-colonial project and apartheid policies over the Palestinian people, and to mobilise people in Ireland to support the political, civil and human rights of all Palestinians.

We work for their national and democratic rights, including the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, as well as building support for the global movement of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel until it respects the internationally recognised human rights of the Palestinian people.

 

How do you relax & de-stress at the end of the day and during difficult periods? 

To go home and cook a meal for my family and just chill with them is a de-stress remedy. Going for a long walk on Sundays in the park with my husband and having a cappuccino by the lake in the Phoenix Park is a weekly indulgence.

I also love to unwind by reading poetry and carrying out my hobby of taking photos.

Fatin al Tamimi International Womens Day

www.ipsc.ie

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