Appearing in Ramallah on the Palestinian Authority’s Shaheed (martyr) Day, Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi proclaimed that “nobody is more admirable than the shaheed… the ultimate source of pride… the symbol of the homeland… who blazes the trail for us and paves the path to liberty with his blood.”
To preempt Israeli backlash, Tibi feigned innocence. The word shaheed, he averred, means a person “killed by the occupation.”
Yet in everyday Arabic, suicide-bombers and perpetrators of any bloodcurdling atrocity in Allah’s name are popularly dubbed shaheeds. The Palestinian Authority’s media, schools and mosques – all under professed moderate Mahmoud Abbas’s control – glorify shaheeds as models of emulation for all, from pint-sized preschoolers onward.
No Arab harbors doubt about what shaheed means. Thus Tibi winks to his Arab listeners, who understand him perfectly, while he disingenuously pretends otherwise to us. Continue reading