(Following article was inspired by a debate on the Al-Awda discussion group over an article by Susanne Scheidt.)
Just yesterday I happened on this axiom in a book by the Afghan philosopher and freedom fighter Idries Shah:
“Heroism is no substitute for effectiveness.”
This bears thinking about, especially coming from a veteran of the victory over the Red Army in Afghanistan.
Certainly the heroism of the recent Intifada has effectively dramatized the cause of Palestine. However, this does not mean that further sacrifices will automatically bring further gains. On the contrary, the shock of the shooting of demonstrators has worn off, so to keep the world’s attention, we need to change tack now. Worse, Israel has managed to link the “violence” to the terrorist Arab stereotype, so the Intifada could become counter-productive.
Militarily, of course, Israel with US backing is practically invincible. But morally, the Zionist state rests on the weakest of foundations. (If it has any at all – even if it hurts some, but not all, of our Israeli well-wishers to hear that!) Obviously, one should:
Wage war with the weapons and on the field where you have the advantage!
So my vote for the next stage would be organized non-violent protest. Organized means not only disciplined, but also making sure the press and the TV cameras are there.
We have to communicate. With a peaceful demonstration, you can pick any number of themes. How subtle a message can you convey with a bomb or a bullet? Or even a rock…
Unfortunately, any message the symbolic rock or bullet carries, is lost and turned against you in translation by the Zionist – controlled media, and used as a pretext to eat up more of your land. They have been at this game since 1947, and will keep it up as long as it works.
Remember how the Zionists got there in the first place? They had no army 100 years ago. They got Palestine in return for PUBLIC RELATIONS SERVICES !
But in the process, they created mountains of material for your own PR campaign to get it back! So let us find our voices, marshal our facts, paint new slogans on our banners, and start demonstrating – not forgetting the true sense of the word, which is to show the truth. The truth is the story of Zionist brutality and aggression against Palestinian innocence.
Rage, my friends, is no match for cunning. Don’t forget, your enemy is cunning enough to provoke you to rage and use it against you.
That was the brilliant thing about Gandhi’s non-violent resistance: it infuriated the British to gratuitous violence. That is how they lost the PR war so miserably, and with it an empire.
That is the war we must win.
Though the only power on our side is the Truth, it is a formidable weapon.
Mr. John-Paul Leonard is a free-lance writer and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN)