Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Self Proclaimed Hero in Leila Khaled’s My People Shall Live

In Leila Khaled’s My People Shall Live, Khaled tells of her journey as a Palestinian soldier on a mission to bring justice to her people from the Israelis.  As the narrator, Khaled tells the story in such a way that she seems to be trying to convince the readers that she was justified in the actions she took for her people’s independence. For many years, the Israelis controlled Palestine and forced Khaled and many others into exile.  Leila Khaled was a Palestinian soldier who took on the challenge to complete a mission on an El-Al flight, as well as on a TWA 840 flight. The intention of the missions was to show the Israelis that Palestine shall be liberated, and Khaled did so by, what she thought of as, performing a “revolutionary duty against the enemy” (146). Khaled narrates the story to portray the idea that she is inherently causing others no pain through the actions she chooses to take in order to liberate Palestine; however, Khaled fails to recognize that although she is not causing any physical pain, she is causing emotional pain at the expense of her enemy.

During the El-Al mission with Patrick, although Khaled and Patrick were the ‘terrorists’, they were very clearly putting themselves in a dangerous situation, as well as the passengers. At one instance, Khaled informs the passengers on the flight that the mission is to bring the Palestinians back to the country they rightly deserve. Although Khaled’s intention is to calm the passengers down and allow them to realize that she is not going to blow up the plane, she has also already shown them the weapons in their possession; Khaled “had two hand grenades; Patrick had one hand grenade and a pistol” (187). As a passenger, danger was undoubtedly seen no matter what Khaled and Patrick told them was happening. Khaled is not necessarily causing any physical harm to the passengers at this time, but the emotional pain that they endure as the plane they are on is hijacked is an incomparable feeling to the physical pain they were expecting to have been subjected to.

After the plane had landed and Khaled was taken into custody at the prison, she was quoted many times speaking is such a way as to justify her previous actions. Personally, I do not feel that the actions taken were necessary to get the point of wanting complete liberation of Palestine across to the enemy. Although the hijacking definitely got people’s attention, bringing weapons such as hand grenades and pistols on board and telling the passengers that the intent was not to harm them is not so convincing, or necessary, in my opinion. Khaled said “my people, my land, my Palestine! For thee I shall resist, for your honor I shall accept pain” (149). Although the Zionists forced Khaled and her people into exile, essentially causing them pain, the actions Khaled executed on the missions were not justified. Pain was returned to the enemy for the pain Khaled had been given, but the method of “an eye for an eye” is not always the best way to solve such situations.

Khaled believed that she was doing a favor for her country by hijacking the plane and blowing it up once it had been evacuated. If her true intention was not to harm anyone, she would not have felt the need to take weapons on board with her. If anything had gone wrong during the mission, the plane still could have blown up from the hand grenades and everyone would have died. Khaled’s actions were not justified for the goal she was trying to achieve; she ultimately caused pain to all of those who were involved, even if it was not physical pain.

 Lindsey Westphal

The Importance of Educating Women

by Centrece Kendall

Can you imagine walking into a grocery store and not knowing how to read the names or nutritional values of the items you purchased? How would you know if they were good for you or not? What if the simplest task, such as reading directions or even your favorite book, became a struggle?  In America and other developed countries women are immersed in a culture that thrives off literacy.  A woman cannot gain success without knowing how to read and write.  However, women in the developing world face daily struggles caused by illiteracy. Countries like Afghanistan have low rates of literacy for women so it becomes difficult for them to find pharmacies or other services when they cannot read the directional signs. Literacy impacts not only the well being of a woman but of her family as well. Being literate means that a woman would not only be able to read directions to a pharmacy, but she would also be able to understand the directions for the medicines her children need and how to administer them.. Literacy not only impacts a person’s ability to understand their surroundings, but also increases their contribution to society. 

Educated women will pass on to their children health and the opportunity to be productive citizens; how they choose to be productive  will contribute to our global economy that helps to sustain the world population.  Research has shown that if you educate a woman, you educate the whole community.  In Nepal, an illiterate woman was unknowingly consuming a betel nut that has been linked to certain cancers.  When the NGO R.E.A.D set up community libraries she gained access to literacy programs that provided her with books and pamphlets concerning women’s issues in the community, and she was then able to read about the harmful effects of the betel nut and stopped consuming them.  This is just one example of how literacy can change lives, but work should be done on a macro level to improve the quality of life for illiterate women everywhere.

Education is more effective if the people can teach themselves.  In the book Monique and the Mango Rains, Monique was one of the few people in her village who had access to education in women’s and children’s health.  The women that came to see her learned how they should care for themselves during pregnancy and after and what to do for children when they got dehydrated. This helped to minimize maternal mortality, in the sense a literate woman was able to pass on her knowledge to those who otherwise wouldn’t have know.  I feel the most efficient way for education to reach women in developing or undeveloped areas would be to take a few and educate them, and when they return charge them with the task of sharing their knowledge with the others.  From there the women can determine whether they want a school or community center established to further promote literacy in their area. 

Literacy programs in undeveloped areas should be the decision of the females in the community, rather than imposed on them by outside influences.  They should be informed of the long term benefits and the men should know that educated women would be more helpful to the growth of their village than uneducated.  The main benefits in areas where women may not be given the same opportunities to work include lower maternal and infant mortality.  We need to petition for government and nongovernment organizations to increase literacy efforts, or raise money to help fund the necessary materials so women everywhere can enjoy the same quality of life as we do in America.