A Palestinian primary school teacher who grew up in a refugee camp and educates her students about non-violence won a $1 million prize for teaching excellence on Sunday, beating out 8,000 other applicants from around the world.It is great that a Palestinian teacher who advocates non-violence wins this award and can influence her society. But something interesting happened at the ceremony:
Hanan al-Hroub, a primary school teacher in the West Bank city of al-Bireh just outside Ramallah, was awarded the second annual Global Teacher Prize during a ceremony in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on-hand to present the prize to al-Hroub, however her name was announced by Pope Francis in a video message after he talked about the importance of education and teachers, especially for children who grow up amid war.
In her acceptance speech, she reiterated her mantra of "No to violence" and stressed the importance of dialogue.
"The Palestinian teacher can talk to the world now. Hand in hand we can affect change and provide a safe education to provide peace," she told the AP.
As al-Hroub accepted her award, Palestinians in the audience waved their country's flag and some chanted, fists pumping in the air, "With our souls, our blood, we sacrifice for you Palestine."That is a war chant. Variants are used throughout the Middle East to incite violence Violent demonstrations accompanying the current shooting and knifing spree feature "With our souls and blood we sacrifice to you, Al Aqsa." Syrian soldiers chant " "With our souls and blood we sacrifice to you, Bashar."
Palestinians' natural reaction to having someone win a prize for teaching non-violence was to shout war slogans.
Ironically, the teacher's surname al-Hroub means "war."
A further irony - the Islamic Jihad terror group congratulated al-Hroub.