IMEU, Mar 8, 2011
As protests rage across the Arab world challenging authoritarian regimes and bringing some to an end, it has become clear that the age group dubbed "Generation Y" or "Generation Next" is playing the largest role. For this generation of Palestinians, the Oslo Accords of 1993 played a major role in shaping their perspectives on paths to peace and achieving their freedom. This profile is part of a series exploring the political views, aspirations, and activities of "Generation Oslo."
Student activist Beesan Ramadan draws inspiration for her work from the hardships of life in Nablus, a West Bank city which Israel encircled in the year 2000 with military checkpoints, severely restricting residents' freedom of movement.
"Nablus went through 10 years of a complete siege. Lots of curfews, lots of incursions," Ramadan said, recalling her childhood. She herself was banned from leaving the city for four years. Recently Israeli authorities barred her from leaving the West Bank to travel to Jordan.
Ramadan says her activism is about refusing to accept the circumstances into which she was born. "I live under occupation and I want to do something about it," she says. "I see a grownup with a sense of normalization of their situation and I tend to refuse that; 'Just because I'm a Palestinian I have to suffer' or I'm denied the right to travel."
In addition to studying business administration at An-Najah University in Nablus, Ramadan is also active in causes ranging from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement to the Research Journalism Initiative, an organization that connects young Palestinians with students in other countries.
Beesan is active with: Research Journalism Initiative, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, UNESCO Chair on Human Rights and Democracy, European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza.
In her own words: "The things we are going through now are what motivate me to become an activist. I live close to Ramallah but I can't use the roads. I can see the ocean from where I live without being able get to the sea. I've never met someone from Gaza, and Gaza is considered part of the same country. I can be denied the right to travel at any time. I can be arrested at any time. This can be scary but it can also be motivating."
"The PA's [Palestinian Authority's] violations are something that resulted from the so-called peace process. It's a tool for the occupation. So I don't think the focus should be on the PA itself; it should be on the occupation... I am against losing the point when it comes to revolutions."
To get in touch with Beesan, email ContactBeesan@imeu.net
To read other profiles from "Generation Oslo: Palestinian Youth Rising",
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