Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Frail Bodies of All Kinds: "Peaceful Protest Can Free Palestine" by Mustafa Barghouthi, February 21, 2012

Aged bodies, deep in their knowledge of the pains of history, of men, of rabid nation states, aged Jewish women sitting for peace in the hot sun of Jerusalem, ask us to listen to the other ways. On both sides of walls, those imprisoned from within and those held hostage from their own lands, bodies speak other languages; against the iron cruelty of "administrative detention," Khader Adnan used self imposed frailty to bring attention to the sorrows of his people. Barghouthi writes: "Mr Adnan's actions over the nine weeks demonstrated that he was willingly to give his life nonviolently and selflessly to advance Palestinian freedom. Others must show similar courage...Our movement is not intended to delegitimize Israel, as the the Israeli government claims. It is, instead, a movement to delegitimize the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which we believe is the last surviving apartheid system in the world. It is a movement that could free Palestinians from nearly 45 years of occupation and Israelis from being part of the last colonial-settler systems of our time....The power of nonviolence is that it gives Palestinians of all ages and walks of life the tools to challenge those subjugating us. And thousands of peace activists around the world have joined our movement.  In demonstrations in East Jerusalem, Silwan and Hebron we are also being joined by a new and younger Israeli peace movement that categorically rejects Israeli occupation."
Lock the dissidents up and no one will look, build bigger and bigger militarized police forces to keep people off the streets and still call it democracy, spend millions to get the right wing, "pro-Israel" candidate elected and write articles in American papers calling for the assassination of Barack Obama and call it love of democracy. Yes, the body deemed unwanted, deemed a national danger,can be locked away from the force of law by the force of nationalism; we have seen it before. But the public human heart dies a little every time the blows of a police baton force a human figure to the ground, every time the iron doors clang shut in a prison no one knows where, the sun blotted out for how long no one knows. But we do know, don't we? Not the names or the last light on the face we have never seen, but we know in our name, our governments and their allies, disappear the unwanted, the speakers of No. Frail bodies--oh our frail bodies, all the years of my life, I have seen you, arms joined, walking through their ugliness, in Soweto, in Selma, in Moscow, in Calcutta and Delhi, in Burma, making ghosts of the occupying State.

Image from the New York Times, Feb 22, 2012

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