Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Can Non-Violence Work When Nobody Gives a Damn?


Israeli authorities are doing every they can to shut down the growing "Third Intefada" - unarmed mass demonstrations and boycotts by the Palestinians and their (few) Israeli and foreign allies. And everything includes: arbitrary arrests, militarily enforced "closed areas", and where neccessary increased state violence up to and including the killing of demonstrators.

This appeared in an AP story from April 6:


... the Israeli military said late Monday its two investigations found wrongdoing by soldiers in the killing of four Palestinians in the West Bank last month.

One probe looked into a March 20 incident in which two Palestinians were shot dead. Troops claimed they fired rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration, but the investigation said they were "apparently" live rounds, terming the incident unnecessary" and saying it will be investigated further.

The following day in the same area, troops killed two men they believed were trying to attack them. The military said it was weighing disciplinary steps in that case.
Unnecessary? Disciplinary action? Why did this story not get picked up by the MSM, in Israel or around the world?

Why not bring manslaughter of murder charges?

Imagine if significant numbers of the American population (albiet in the "North") had not been moved and outraged by the killing of Medger Evers, of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. Imagine if the Federal Government had not sent in (outside) FBI agents to investigate (using federal civil rights laws, not state murder laws.) Imagine if Bull Conners' Birmingham Police Department had been left alone to "protect the rights" of blacks and to investigate all the lynchings, murders, and bombings against black people (many of those committed by the police themselves.) Finally, recall that the famous march from Selma to Montgomery was initially blocked by State Troopers, and it was only when President Johnson - backed by the outrage of "northern liberals" at the State Troopers' violence, sent Federal troops to protect the marchers, that the march succeeded.

But in Israel (and around the world) not too many of the powerful or privileged are outraged by the killing of Palestinean demonstrators.

Can a strategy of non-violence work when people in power care nothing about injustice, or when influencial segments of public opinion are moved by neither blatent discrimination, violent repression, nor even murder?

You couldn't have had a Martin Luther King without sympathic northern liberals, or without sympathetic, activist, and powerful Federal institutions.

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