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Little Red Riding Hood and The Martyr's Wedding in PA kindergarten

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
"Little Red Riding Hood"
and "The Martyr's Wedding" -
skits in Palestinian kindergarten

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

A Palestinian kindergarten ceremony included a play performed by children named The Martyr's Wedding alongside a play from the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Palestinian Media Watch has documented the frequent use by Palestinians of the term "wedding" to refer to the death and funeral of "Martyrs," in keeping with the Islamic tradition that the Martyr for Allah marries 72 Dark-Eyed Virgins of Paradise:

"'The Birds of Paradise' kindergarten held a nice graduation party... The ceremony included beautiful performances... one of the most outstanding was a play from the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and another performance named 'The Martyr's Wedding', delighted the audience by the role-play of the children, whose acting depicted the reality of roadblocks, children, occupation soldiers, and the children's death as Martyrs. This charm caused the audience to cry, as the children's performance was accompanied by the playing of nationalistic songs."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 2, 2011]
Promoting the Islamic value of Shahada - Martyrdom for Allah - for children was very common during the PA terror campaign (the Intifada). From 2000 - 2005, PA TV broadcast numerous video clips describing Martyrdom death as sweet, and encouraging children to aspire to die as Martyrs. The Palestinian Authority received significant international criticism for this and most of the Shahada promotion for children was removed from TV. Occasionally, PA TV still broadcasts children singing songs about the importance of Martyrdom even for children.

Recently, PA TV broadcast a girl dedicating a song to her terrorist uncle about aspiring to Shahada:

"When we become Martyrs,
we'll go to Paradise.
Don't say we're young.
This way of life has made us adults.
Without Palestine,
what meaning is there to childhood?
Children, you performed the (religious) duty and Sunna (Islamic tradition):
There is no God but Allah,
and the Shahid (Martyr) is Allah's beloved.
You have taught us the meaning of heroism.
Even if they were to give us this world and all of its treasures,
no, it would not make us forget [Palestine]. Not at all.
It is my country and [I give] my blood for its sake."
[PA TV (Fatah), April 13, 2011]
It is not surprising that Palestinian children today sing about Shahada and becoming Martyrs. It is a direct outcome of the many years of Palestinian Authority Shahada promotion aimed at adults and especially children during the Intifada.

Recently, a girl on PA TV chose to sing the following song, which praises the ideal of sacrificing oneself as a Martyr for "Palestine." Interestingly, the PA TV host later asked her to sing a song with different content - one about life, not death:

"I am the voice of the Intifada,
and no voice is louder than mine;
I am the last will of the Martyr
who loved death
upon the soil of the homeland.
My voice refuses to be silent.
I am the sister of the one
who adorned herself
and girded herself with death.
I am the voice of the stone and the tree, the bleeding wounded."

PA TV host:
"Bravo, our friend Bara'a; that was a beautiful song.
Having interviewed other children, the host turned to the girl a second time and asked her to sing another song: 

PA TV host:
"We want to hear a song full of life and vitality, because we want to live.
We want a beautiful life, we want always to call for all that adorns our life.
We want to forget about death for a little while and distance ourselves far from death."
In keeping with the PA's earlier promotion of Martyrdom death for children, PA schoolbooks continue to glorify Martyrdom:

Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8:
"O heroes, Allah has promised you victory ...
Do not talk yourselves into flight...
Your enemies seek life while you seek death.
They seek spoils to fill their empty stomachs while you seek a Garden [Paradise] as wide as are the heavens and the earth...
death is not bitter in the mouth of the believers. These drops of blood that gush from your bodies will be transformed tomorrow into blazing red meteors that will fall down upon the heads of your enemies."
[Published by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, 2006,
still in use today]
Our Beautiful Language for 6th grade, section 1,
Our Beautiful Language for 7th grade, section 1, with picture below:
"I shall carry my soul in my palm
And toss it into the abyss of destruction...
And then either a life that will gladden friends,
or a death that will enrage the enemies.
By your life! I see my death,
But I hasten my steps towards it...
By your life! This is the death of men
And who asks for a noble death - here it is..."
[Published by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, 2006,
still in use today]

Click to view more on PA promotion of Shahada - Martyrdom.

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