Saturday 15 December 2018

'I don't want my children to grow up like I did,' Palestinian activist Mahmoud Jabari

Mahmoud Jabari from Palestine at the young one world convention in Dublin.
Pic:Mark Condren
Mahmoud Jabari from Palestine at the young one world convention in Dublin. Pic:Mark Condren
Mahmoud Jabari from Palestine at the young one world convention in Dublin. Pic:Mark Condren
Actress Meghan Markle at the One Young World Summit
Boris Becker takes a photo with a delegate at the One Young World Summit
Delegates waving at actress Meghan Markle at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin. Pic:Mark Condren 17.10.2014
Luwam Estifanos from Eritrea, Africa at the One Young World convention in Dublin.
Actress Meghan Markle at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin.

Sarah Stack

The plight of young girls being kidnapped and brutally raped by Islamic State militants was one of many harrowing stories being told at a summit in Dublin.

An activist made an emotional plea for international help for the young Yazidi women in Kurdistan, who are gang raped and then abandoned for bringing shame on their families.

One Young World delegate Hanar Marouf said she needs funds and support for the girls, who she claims are being even turned away from refugee camps because they are suicidal.

“If you’ve heard about Yazidi girls who are kidnapped by ISIS, then they came back to their families and most of them their families are not taking them back,” said Hanor, who works on one of UNICEF's projects on combat FGM in Kurdistan including Kirkuk.

“They are staying in camps alone because their families are threatening them to cull them because they brought back shame.

“Some of these women I talk to they have been raped 73 times. Some of them they are not talking. They are not able to talk.

“Some of them are pregnant and their families are not taking them back.

"We really need your help guys,” she added, pleaded to others in the packed auditorium.

Another young activist told the conference how she knew of one girl who shot herself when militants attacked her village instead of letting them touch, rape and kill her.

Elsewhere Palestinian Mahmoud Jabari revealed he was an aspiring young journalist and involved in peace talks hoping that his Palestinian community and Israelis would co-exist when his life took a dramatic change of direction in February 2011.

“As a child who grew up there I wanted to tell the story of my generation,” he said.

“We couldn’t play in the street, we could not move freely. I was watching TV all the time and at that time we had 24 channels on the satellite and there was a French channel showing skiing, children skiing. My question was why we can’t we have a safe and fun life like these kids.

“I wanted to tell the stories of my generation and I believed journalism would be a great tool to do that.”

Mahmoud hopes to see peace in his homeland before he has his own family.

“I perceive myself to be a pragmatic person,” he added.

“When I think about the conflict I think about my children and the future generation and what kind of life I want them to be in.

“I don’t want them to grow up in situation like I grew up in. I don’t want them to grow up in fear, I want them to be born in what I hope will be the State of Palestine with clear borders where they can move freely.”

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