Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have no intentions of bowing to either Donald Trump or Benjamin Netanyahu or anyone for that matter. They will stand their ground until they can go to Israel with the freedom that any other Congressperson has. After all, they represent a vote in the House for the massive aid that the country receives every year.
Ilhan Omar & Rashida Tlaib speak
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib held a press conference in St. Paul Minnesota today to discuss their recent Trump/Netanyahu force aborted trip to Israel. Omar made it clear that the intent of the trip was fact-finding that would have included members of the Knesset, Palestinians, and Israelis. She said it would have been a fact-finding mission like any other one done by other Congressional delegations. She said it is essential that other Congresspersons go to Israel on fact-finding missions.
Tlaib then spoke and echoed much of the same. She said they intended to meet as well with Israeli veterans.
While the press conference was informative, most of us had already known most of what they covered. However, the most powerful portion of the presser for me was at the end.
A reporter asked Rashida Tlaib about her change of heart after she first accepted Israel's offer to visit her grandmother.
"I think my grandmother said it beautifully when she said I’m her "Asfour." Asfour in Arabic means her bird." Rashida Tlaib said. "She said I’m her dream manifested. I am her free bird. So why would I come back and be caged and bow down when my election rose her head up high? We all decided as a family that I could not go until I was a free, American, United States congresswoman.”
She also said she called Ilhan Omar. It was clear these two Congresswomen have a close relationship and both realize they have targets on their backs. They behave accordingly.
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Omar's statement at the end gave me chills. It was the sum total of (1) what I was taught at home in Panama as our Panamanians schools on the Canal Zone were integrated with the much better equipped American schools and (2) what I developed in a world where, as a person of color, the constancy of the incoming flak either makes you or breaks you.
"There are so many people invested in our pain, in our struggle, in seeing us broken," Omar said.
"In seeing us bow down," interjected Tlaib.
"And the one thing that is important to me more than anything as we fight for the most marginalized people is that we have our internal liberation carry us to our external liberation," Omar said. "And there is no way. I told Rashida, 'Before you sent that letter you should have called me.' There is no way, that we are ever going to allow people to tear us down, to see us cry out of pain, to make us feel like our certificate is less than theirs. So we are going to hold our heads up high. And we are going to fight this administration and the oppressive Netanyahu administration until we take our last breath."
The Squad, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are 4 young Congresswomen with different and overlapping strengths, who happen to be women of color that the establishment of both parties will have to reckon with sooner or later. They are smart, fearless, and understand the heartbeat of America.