The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine remembers the passing of the first woman martyr of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Comrade Shadia Abu Ghazaleh, whose life was lost on November 28, 1968, as she prepared a bomb in her home for a military operation against the occupation.
Comrade Abu Ghazaleh was born in Nablus on January 8, 1949. She graduated from the Fatimid School for Girls and then studied sociology for one year at Ein Shams University in Cairo, before deciding to complete her education at An-Najah National University in Nablus in psychology and social sciences. Her family attempted to convince her to stay in Cairo, but she responded, “What good is a university degree if I have no wall to attach it to” in her homeland, and was determined to return to Palestine especially after the 1967 occupation.
She began her political activity as a youth and became involved with the Arab Nationalist Movement, founded by George Habash, in 1964. She was one of the original members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine upon its founding on December 11, 1967.
She organized and led Palestinian women’s military organizations and was one of the first Palestinian women to be involved in military resistance in the post-1967 era. She was also deeply dedicated to education and political struggle as part of one comprehensive struggle with military resistance. Abu Ghazaleh emphasized the integration of struggle and that there is no separation between national and social liberation. She believed strongly in collective and organized work, rather than individualism, and emphasized the role of culture, politics, and strategy in directing armed struggle, adhering firmly to the slogan, “No revolutionary movement without a revolutionary theory.”
She organized dozens of young women and men through a political and military educational approach to prpare them for leadership in struggle for liberation. As part of the curriculum she developed for youth in the Front, she included study of the experiences of other national liberation movements around the world, the reading of world literature, and an emphasis on women’s struggle against colonialism and social oppression. She also included a study of the methods of people’s war, and the relationship between tactics and strategy in popular struggles for national liberation. She did not leave her education as she organized; on the contrary, she viewed education, knowledge, and science as weapons in the struggle for liberation.
She was known for her leadership, insightful thinking, and commitment to internal democracy. She discussed issues among her comrades with a high level of love and respect and frequently worked together with strugglers of different organizations in the joint service of the liberation of Palestine. She participated in and led several military operations carried out by the PFLP before the accidental detonation of a bomb in her home. Today, her name is immortal as a struggler, a leader, and a fighter in the history of the Palestinian people and the people of the world.