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.