Memoirs of a Stolen Land: The Resilience of Palestinian Women
Palestinian and Jordanian American Amani Al-Khatahbeh’s life has been sculpted by both her and her ancestor’s experiences.
Khatahtbeh, founder and editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl, sat down with Palestine in America contributor and creator of Memoirs of a Stolen Land Zahra Haider at the American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) annual conference last November, to discuss her identity, her role in the Palestine movement and how her website came to be.
Growing up, Khatahtbeh’s parents always had the television on Arabic-satellite news, so she was exposed to the violence Palestinians faced from Israel’s occupation.
“As a little girl it really impacted me, because to me, senseless violence and people getting killed for really horrible reasons…really shaped my ambitions to really create change to alleviate the type of suffering and bring some type of light to things happening overseas right now,” she said.
She would become involved in grassroots organizing by attending and organizing many protests for Palestine. Before launching Muslim Girl, she was the media relations specialist for the Arab anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in Washington D.C. The summer she took that position was another year Israel ruthlessly bombed Gaza “Operation Protective Edge.”
That was the year she said her work for Palestine shifted dramatically.
“I had a really negative experience that year at the [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] convention. The annual [AIPAC] convention was taking place in DC and we had organized a counter protest and I was one of the only palestinian women that were there, part of the protest,” Al-Khatahtbeh said.
“It was very triggering for me and i was one of the only people wearing a headscarf there. And a lot of the attendees were targeting me right outside where the protest was taking place and saying really horrible and dehumanizing things to me. Like, ‘We kill your babies because you are subhuman, you are beneath us, you deserve to die.’ Just things that anyone that has some humanity in them if they heard some would really shake them to their core, right?”
She said that experience really brought light to the importance of self care and “how little we do to support and help each other and identify when we’re being triggered or when we need to call someone to pull back and regroup for a little bit.”
Because Al-Khatahtbeh was alone in D.C., it was very easy for her to isolate herself from the movement. During that time, she came to understand working in that capacity was not healthy for her.
“Those people that were saying all those horrible things to me outside of the convention center…What would piss them off more: If I was one body on the ground here talking back to them or if I had a platform where I can actually elevate voices to a much higher degree than I can by myself?”
That’s when Al-Khatahtbeh dove into media and and began to amplify many voices throughout the Muslim-American community.
Watch the 10th episode of Zahra Haider’s Memoirs of a Stolen Land: The Resilience of Palestinian Women, above.