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Monday, April 19, 2004

Make Way For The Lemmings

In "Non-violent Resistance in Palestine: Pursuing Alternative Strategies", Johnathan Kuttab and Mubarak Awad argue on behalf of a nonviolent approach to addressing the grievances of Palestinians:

The Palestinian people have a genuine chance to achieve their national goals, in spite of the enormous gap between them and their foes, if they pursue a conscious, organized strategy of non-violent resistance to the occupation on a massive scale. Such a strategy would provide a role for the entire Palestinian people, both inside and outside of Palestine, and would include the Arab world, the international community, and even genuinely peace loving Israelis. It would focus the energies of the entire nation and move the struggle into an arena that maximizes our natural advantages and neutralizes much of the power of our opponents.

Why not try nonviolence and passive resistance?

"Fat chance. It could never happen!" the cynics reply.

What would be the worst possible outcome of attempting a nonviolent strategy? Could the outcome possibly be any worse than the outcome of the current strategy?

How well is the suicide bomber campaign going? Have these attacks against Israeli civilians won anyone over to the Palestinian cause?

What has either side accomplished in this seemingly endless tit-for-tat? More hatred, more bloodshed, more pain...It's a shame we can't teleport the peace-loving moderates from both sides of the conflict to a parallel universe, and let the extremists do each other in. The vast majority can return again after the Lemmings of Violence have tumbled one after another off the cliff.

Many would agree that the Palestinians have a legitimate gripe, but hell will freeze over before Americans will support a terrorist organization that strikes innocent civilians, unless they represent a government with policies favourable to the interests of the United States, of course.

Ghandi had it wrong when he said "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".

Those who believe in an eye for an eye are already blind, and they're thrashing around in the darkness stabbing at each other with pointy sticks.

Despite the fact that Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mendela (among others) have shown that nonviolent approaches can be effective, and despite the folly of the current situation, those of us who advocate considering nonviolence and passive resistance are regarded as simplistic, utopian fools.

As Ghandi said:

"First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

Read Pursuing Alternative Strategies

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