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My Mother Inspired Us to Fight For Palestinian Rights

On International Women’s Day, lawyer-activist Shireen Issawi writes about how her mother inspired her and her brother, Samer Issawi, who has been on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison for some 222 days, to fight for Palestinian independence.
A Jordanian activist and relative of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons who are on a  hunger strike holds a placard during a protest outside the Red Cross offices in Amman February 21, 2013. The placard reads:  "Name of Palestinian prisoner: Samer Al Issawi, date of his hunger strike: August 1, 2012." REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTR3E2WO

On March 8 every year, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements for International Women’s Day. Today I would like to take the opportunity to celebrate my mother, Laila Issawi, and share her story.

I was raised by a very empowered, inspiring mother, who endured not only her own suffering but the suffering of her children, in the struggle for our freedom and dignity as a people. From as far back as I can remember I have always been in awe of my mother, her passion, dignity and resilience. She was raised on the love of Palestine, and has raised us with those same values; to love our country, defend our rights and fight for them until they are achieved.

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