Ahmad Manasra: A system of discrimination is a system that fosters future terror

Since yesterday, a video for the interrogation of Ahmad Manasra, 13 years old from Jerusalem has been leaked. I tried to avoid watching it. The looks on this boy’s eyes haunt me. The scenes of him bleeding on the ground with his legs spread in a paralyzed position while the mass of Jewish angry mob was cursing on him, the police watching and the ambulance standing by leaving him to a darker destiny is scene that will never leave anyone who sees it.

This abduction of childhood is a crime that we all have to pay for. All. When a child who is thirteen decides to become a martyr or a criminal, it is not just the home that is fostering this. As a mother, I am hundred percent sure this doesn’t come out from homes. It is a consequence of education, desperation, and discrimination within a false application for the rule of law.

Ahmad, like any Palestinian child and adult. Watches news. Walks in the streets of discrimination. He doesn’t need much to understand or comprehend. He probably went to the municipality school in the neighborhood. When I say education, when I say a system that destroys upbringing, I mean in the first place Israeli municipal schools. It is not a coincidence that people like me never think of municipality schools as an option. The school happened to be on the hill opposite to my house and if there is a conclusion I had throughout the years, it was in one sentence: these schools are made to create a generation of criminals. As if they bring all these children together and make sure that nothing good is coming out of them. Something like rehab for criminals. But imagine when this is instituted from the early childhood.

If anyone asks why people send their children to these schools the answer is simple; there are many people who believe that education is a normal municipal responsibility and won’t invest money in education. Of course this is luxury thinking. But many and a lot cannot afford private schools. Even when they try to afford private schools, private schools doesn’t take all. There is a criterion for private schools from one side, and there is the limitation of space from the other side that limits the number of students to be accepted. At the end, schools serve to create a hub of a generation of Palestinians in Jerusalem that are likely become outlawed and in best scenarios laborers in Israeli work force.

Of course this is not a generalization, but this is the case in general.

So taking Ahmad and his friend or cousin, who while playing in the neighbourhood streets afterschool, after watching a week of terror. Acclaimed martyr hood of a knife. A group of soldiers in every corner of the city and in different neighborhoods. Roadblocks and checkpoints that suddenly erupted all over Jerusalem. Not to mention that the only recreation for those boys are the streets and parks in the next-door “settlement “ pisgat Zeev.

If you want to walk in a clean street. If you want to go to a park you just need a less than kilometer walk to experience life as you watch on TV. A life that tells that you are different. You are denounced to be a sub human. Your fate is to remain in this contradiction of what is life and what is your role in a life that will eventually bring you into serving that other side of life.

Whatever this boy did, was a consequence of an upbringing that Israeli government has been feeding Jerusalemites for years. When educational institutions have turned into gang to be future. When discrimination is as clear as the crossing of the road. When a Palestinian man is stopped and lynched in the middle of the street with his child witnessing or his wife, and he has to go home and be a father. A model. When a child watches TV and sees another child his age has been killed because he was in a demonstration or simply walking or just left to buy candy from the store.

Why is the Israeli child different than the Palestinian? The Israeli child can walk out of home into a park that surrounds the neighborhood. With security forces surrounding the area to protect him. With clean environment that is created to facilitate his mood. While the Palestinian walks out his house to a gathering of garbage next to garbage containers that has not been removed for days. A park that looks green from distance and the closer you get you realizes it became a hub for drug addicts while the police watch with enjoyment. A police r a security that represents only force and violence against you.

Is it surprising that this boy decided to stab an Israeli boy? The hatred that was expressed when the incident took place; the hatred that is reflected in the interrogation room, only proves why a Palestinian life is nothing but another suicide the next moment by another Palestinian.

Is this a new way of Israel in ethnic cleansing this population? I will not be surprised.

When a young woman walks into an Israeli security man on the entrance f a settlement and pulls out a knife from her purse that she doesn’t know how to even use with an obvious inexperience in “stabbing” as a future mission. When young people are leaving clear messages of desperation. That they cannot handle such a life any more … it could be a success to Israel. It succeeded in making every Palestinian consequently make a decision to take out his life on his own. You just need to carry kitchen knife and try touching an Israeli. And if you don’t have that knife you don’t even have to worry, the scenario of your death has been preserved into this.

Injustice, inequality, dehumanizing, discrimination is what defines the situation.

When you strip away life for what it should be from people. Don’t expect that people will care about leaving you a life.

The scenes of Ahmad in the interrogation room are creating another Ahmad that is making sure next time he leaves home … to take two knives. One to stab the Israeli and another to stab himself and make sure he is gone for good.


  1. What is saddest is that they label a child a terrorist. And what is sadder is that the situation you described of living in a garbage strewn area and education serving only to dehumanize is repeated all over the world. Here in the USA in neglected inner cities where the poorest, mostly black people live – and also on many Indian reservations. And in poor areas of Asia, South America, Africa. As much as I pray for peace I pray for all of the children being abused, injured, enslaved that somehow that will have love and regain their childhood. Yes, we live in a sad, sad world.

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