Zaha Al-Azraq, 6 years old and the daughter of 1for3.org Executive Director Nidal Al-Azraq, has been learning about water and justice for years now. She has listened to her father talk about his work and visited Palestine to see what water insecurity feels like.
Recently, she made posters for the Walk for Water 5k an annual walk to raise money to support 1for3.org’s projects of water testing, rooftop gardens, and environmental education. The walk also raises awareness about Palestinian environmental justice. Here, she talks in an interview with her mother, Amahl Bishara, about why she made these posters and why she will be walking for water on April 22 in Cambridge. Here is a lightly edited version of the interview:
AAB: First of all, thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. We’re all excited about the walk, which is going to be a week from Saturday, and so I wanted to ask you about this beautiful artwork you did about the walk. (See a photo of Zaha and her poster at the end of this interview.)
AAB: First of all, you made these posters back in October. Looking back at these posters, what is your favorite part of them?
ZLA: Well I’m proud of them because I always try to help other people in my family or outside my family to make sure they are ok too. And I like helping because you know it makes a lot of hard work, and sometimes you like hard work because it’s fun.
AAB: You have part of your artwork that says “No” here and “Yes” here. Can you explain what you were doing?
ZLA: Well, when I put the faucet and one drop of water, I meant, that’s not what we want. And when I put the faucet, a bowl, and a lot of water, this is definitely what we want. It’s not really fair, because the Israelis get all the water and the Palestinians don’t get any.
AAB: How do you see this as a human rights issue?
ZLA: Everything needs water. Plants, animal, humans. You know, everything needs water.
AAB: Every day we see a picture of you walking in last year’s walk with one of your friends. So I was wondering, what are you excited about this year? What are you looking forward to?
ZLA: Well, most of all seeing friends and, maybe making new friends, and stuff like that, because it’s really nice to see old friends and make new friends.
AAB: Do you have memories of when you were living in Aida Refugee Camp?
ZLA: Well, I remember when every day my cousin Adam, he would take me to the store and buy me ice cream, every single day. Or maybe a lollipop.
AAB: I have maybe two more questions, but they are related to each other. This is a walk to benefit Palestinians. But we are doing it in Boston. So my first question is, what is your dream for Palestine?
ZLA: Well, all this work is for equal[ity]. So the Palestinians get enough water to last them their whole lives, and the Israelis get enough water to last their whole lives. That way they will not need to fight.
AAB: And this walk is taking place in Cambridge, in the Boston area. So what is your dream for Cambridge, what will happen here through this walk?
ZLA: Well, I think we want to complete the argument, and make it not an argument at all. We don’t want everyone to argue.
AAB: Which argument?
ZLA: You know, [some] people get more water than these [other] people, and just because they get more water doesn’t mean they are the best or something. It means they need to share.
AAB: Thank you for this wonderful interview.
ZLA: Now I want to hear it.
We invite you all to have the young people in your lives do their own illustrations about the Walk for Water and why Palestinians need environmental justice. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please walk with us on April 22--you can register here.Zaha Al-Azraq, 6 years old and the daughter of 1for3.org Executive Director Nidal Al-Azraq, has been learning about water and justice for years now. She has listened to her