Woman in the eyes of Alhakim: Ideology and Practice

In Ramallah city, and after forty days of the departure of Alhakim, on the 29th of March, and in the intellectual seminar set up by the National Tributes Commission, in collaboration with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine:  “Lights shed on the Practice and thought of Dr. George Habash.” When I was assigned to speak about “Women in the Practice and thought of Alhakim;” I was surprised by the scarcity of documentation on the subject; the matter that made me stress on the importance of collecting the documented material and archiving it, and made me base my paper on oral resources.


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“To my lifelong companion Um Maisa:
I raise my head to find you beside me as you are; I burn inside to get ready for resuming the path, the one I chose; or the one we have chosen together, as if I am on the first day of revolution.
You were the lover, wife, mother, sister, companion and friend, all in one.”


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The words of Alhakim summarize his position towards women: indicative words, written to his wife in the year 1998, when publishing of the book: “The Palestinian struggle experience: Comprehensive Dialogue with George Habash,” by The Palestinian Studies institution.

Alhakim has portrayed in his few words a clear stand towards woman, as a partner, in family and political life.

Alhakim’s life has embodied the slogans he held, and the principles he believed.
He has never imposed anything on his wife, since the beginning of their marriage, until the last moments of his life. He was honest and clear. “I love music, poetry and nature; he had the psychology of a poet and a literary with a heart of a mother.” As expressed by Maisa.
 
Alhakim did not practice any parental authority at home. He was a friend, friendly and compassionate, clearly expressing his feelings, with beautiful gentle words, despite his occasional presence with his family.

“He has never practiced authority at home, towards his wife or children. He was not suppressive. He never imposed his opinion. I never felt that he interfered in details. That is the picture of the man in my thoughts. “As I got older: The man who practices authority; I hate. The image of (Dad) is contrary to reality.” As expressed by Lama.
    
Consistent with his thoughts, and abiding by dialogue with his daughters; he has discussed the subject of university studies with them, suggesting the most appropriate place for studying, that coincides with his modest financial abilities. And he didn’t interfere in their choice of subject of study, as Maisa confirmed. “All the time; whatever he says, he does. He takes decisions and starts by himself. I wanted to study in Beirut, at the American University; my father, however, has discussed with me the necessity of practicing our ideology: we should go to communist countries.”

Alhakim’s family has withstood extremely difficult political circumstances, from political arrest, displacement and threat of assassination. His wife had the responsibility of his protection, as she has considered it her duty since the first moment of their relationship. She had to continuously change their house, and change its outer appearance, and to call their daughters different names, every time they change the house.  

“Since the first day of our relationship; I felt a great responsibility towards his security and safety. The obsessions of his security became my daily bread. We understood the responsibility as dedication and self-giving; and not as gains and privileges.”
 
“He was the greatest advocate of women, he used to say: ethics are indivisible, they start at home, recalling the Arab woman status and her role in a society that practices oppression on three levels: national, class, and social. Alhakim has warned against two erroneous tendencies: The conservative, and the irresponsible; the one with limitless boundaries, confirming the importance of respecting the social culture, without it being an obstacle for advancement.
  
With respect to ordering the Front (the party), he believed that women should occupy leadership positions, and should take their full opportunity, and struggle on all political, scientific, and cultural levels.

Through the Front’s third conference, men and women equality was stressed upon in terms of rights and duties. In the year 1979, the Front considered the 8th of March as a day for yearly celebration. Not only is the day celebrated by issuing a statement specially prepared for the occasion; but also by setting a program for public action, and through implementing the program of the General Union of Palestinian Women, and through internal education for the members of the Front. The Front has always ensured that the internal educational program include books concerning women’s issues, as confirmed by Laila Khaled.    

On the forth conference of the Front, an internal law was adopted concerning the Civil Status Law, to be compulsory for the Front members, including a stance towards the subject of dowry, and equality in financial schemes, and in retirement plans, health insurance, and children allowance.  Alhakim has played a primary role within the frameworks of the Front, all of the candidates’ lists for election to include women. On the sixth conference year 2000; three women have become members of the Political Bureau of the Front. Moreover, the number of women members of the Central Committee has increased.

Alhakim had a clear role, not only in raising issues; but also in pursuing them thoroughly in meticulous detail; the matter that affected a few comrades of the organization, and pushed them to research and intense reading, organizing a session on the subject of women in the Political Bureau. That was before the presence of women members in the Political Bureau. 

“He used to send critical writings to our magazine: “Sawt Almar’a” or “The Voice of Woman.” He used to track the media and intellectual side of the magazine, along with his martyr companion “Abu Ali Mustafa.” As Laila Khaled confirmed.
He used to follow the activity of our companions in the General Union of Palestinian Women, without interfering with their ideas as Widad Qamari clarified:
“He never suggested: How to start? Come up with the idea and implement it.” “Don’t panic.” “We need to be patient in facing our different opinions.” “There is one side, and we have many. You should respect the other opinion even if you didn’t like it.”

“On the third conference of the General Union of Palestinian Women, Alhakim asked before the conference: What are your differences about? The social program? No, The cultural? No, the technical? No. You can work 100 years to resolve it. The argument involves organizational and political issues? No problem: Accomplish tasks for women.”


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It is an invitation for accomplishing tasks for women, on top of it being setting to maturity a document concerning women’s issues, adopted by the Front that was suggested in the year 1981; but hasn’t been implemented until today. Hopefully, maturity and issuance of this document would create a special station, that will reflect loyalty to the progressive practices and thoughts of the leader, that “Deeply believes in the unity of the people with its two wings: Woman and man,” And in the people’s ability to accomplish national independence, and social liberty.


faihaab@gmail.com
06/04/2008

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