These are the words of Muna El Kurd, a Palestinian activist who, alongside her twin brother Mohammad El Kurd have become the symbol of resistance in the recent attacks on Palestinian sovereignty. In her speech, Muna spoke truth to power, reminding the masses about the ongoing occupation, dispossession, exile and political persecution that Palestinians are subject to under the Israeli regime.
In her speech, Muna reminded the graduates of the power and strength in the collective voice. “We discovered the importance of our words and to what extent our loud voice can move the world”, she said. Muna’s speech, which addressed the new wave of activism that has its roots in reclaiming historic Palestine without the assistance of Palestinian leaders.
Muna’s words are symbolic of the growing movement for the freedom of Palestine. Young people all over the world, especially Palestinian diaspora, are determined now more than ever to dismantle the very structures that have created obstacles in the road to free Palestine.
Historically, Palestine’s ostensible leaders have been largely absent from the scenes of destruction unfolding in Palestine. Young activists have taken to social media to raise awareness about the attacks on occupied Gaza and Jerusalem. These online uprisings have proven to weigh heavy on the scale of accountability, prompting young Palestinians to campaign on the ground and making their presence seen and heard through long-standing protests. Mass mobilisation in the form of social media usage by Palestinian youth have proven to be an effective means to clandestinely organise both online and offline action, gathering together a wave of supporters both in occupied Palestine and around the world.
Muna’s speech comes days after the death of prominent activist Nizar Banat by the Palestinian Authority, subsequently causing another wave of outrage amongst Palestinian activists, particularly the youth. Nizar Banat was popularly known for his criticism of the Palestinian Authority, accusing the leaders of abuse of power for personal gain. His death has exposed the underlying hostility between activists and their ‘representatives’ who, according to renowned historian and professor Rashid Khalidi have ‘failed to provide a national strategy’. Protestors are now demanding an ‘overthrow of the regime’, signalling a new demand for a people-led movement.
Over the years, there have been various attempts to suppress the voices of the youth in speaking out against both the Israeli regime and Palestine’s leaders. It is for this reason that activists like Muna and Mohamad el-Kurd are crucial in the resistance movement against the Israeli regime. It is their voices, and the power of the collective youth that will continue to grow the movement in support for a liberated Palestine.