You can ask yourself: At what age did you, for the first time, go to a demonstration to which your parents objected? When Adam first did it he was under five years old. And he was not drawn to it by some older friends.
It was in 1996. On January 5, Israel assassinated a legendary Palestinian guerilla, Yahya Ayyash, in Beit Lahiya near Gaza. Hamas militants revenged his death with a series of suicide bombings. One of them, on March 4, killed 13 pedestrians near Dizengoff Center at the middle of Tel Aviv.
At that time the Oslo accord between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (signed in 1993) was still new, and many people held the illusion that the Israel’s leadership really wants peace and is ready to bring an end to the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Some Arab activists in Haifa decided to make a vigil protesting the revenge bombing. They wanted to show the Israeli public that the local Arab Palestinians support peace and denounce the killing of civilians.
I never thought it was a good idea to demonstrate against activities of the Palestinian resistance, no matter how much you agree with or abhor any specific action. First, the demand by Israeli authorities and public opinion from Palestinians to always apologize for actions of the resistance is part of a systematic witch hunt that holds every Palestinian responsible. Second, we always demonstrate against those who hold power, as demonstrations are an expression of the power of the masses against the misrule of the elite. And finally, for any act of Palestinian resistance, violent or peaceful, Israel’s mighty oppression machine exerts a disproportional revenge against the Palestinian masses as a whole. Giving moral support to this repressive apparatus may only exacerbate the suffering of the innocents.
When friends came to our house to invite us to take part in the vigil, which they planned to hold in the small half-deserted commercial center of Halisa, near our home, I didn’t want to argue with them. It was not a long time since I was arrested by the Israeli police for taking part in a demonstration against Israel’s war crimes. So I laughed and said: “You have seen what happened to me last time when I went to a demonstration. I don’t want to be arrested again…”
Young Adam was present and heard the invitation and my cynical refusal. He already had a long experience in demonstrations, which he used to attend with his parents, from the first year of his life. He was shocked by the bloodshed and felt it was a just cause. So he told us: “I want to go to the demonstration!”
At the designated time, Adam went out of the house and walked to the Halisa commercial center. At a safe distance, so that I will not be encouraging Adam, neither intervening in his independent move, I walked after him. I stood on the other side of the street during the demonstration, to keep an eye on the brave independent minded little demonstrator.