A Call For Non-violence
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A Call to Non-violence:
A Letter to Josef Arafat
By Michael Moore
Posted on January 27, 2.003. Josef Arafat is the President of the Palestinian people who are in a constant war against the Israeli government.
About the Author:
Michael Moore (see his photo below) is an internationally known author, journalist, political activist, movie producer, public and radio speaker. He has a sharp sense of humor and is one of America’s most fearless political writers. His movies are: "Roger and Me", "Pets or Meat: the Return to Flint", "Bowling for Columbine". His other books are: "Downsize This!" and "Adventures in a TV Nation".
This is an excerpt from the Chapter: "We’re Number One" from Mr. Moore’s Book "Stupid White Men" (Regan Books, Copyright © 2001), available through bookstores.
Dear President Arafat:
Leader of the Civil Right Movement of the Sixties in the USA. Brought an end to state-approved segregation and discrimination using Gandhi’s nonviolent movementphilosophy.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We’ve never met. That’s not an attempt to cop an invite over for dinner or a game of horseshoes. You’re a busy man, I’m a busy man (though I can’t get anyone in the office here to call me President, or respond to my directives with, "Ya, Sir!").
Sorry. That’s the kind of humor that has kept me relegated to appearing only on basic cable in America (Channel 64, right after the Italian language station in New York City).
I have the key to your success. I know how you can unilaterally end the killing on both sides —and, as a bonus, wind up with a Palestinian state!
I know, you’re thinking, "Hey, who is this guy?" And you’re right.
But hear me out. I want to propose something so revolutionary that it will flip out every Israeli right-winger and send every Israeli peacenik running to your side.
My proposal is not a new idea. I involves no armies, no money, and no UN resolutions. It’s dirt cheap. It has been tried many times, in many countries —AND IT HAS NEVER FAILED. It demands no hatred and requires no weapons. In fact, it is all about no weapons.
It’s called mass nonviolent civil disobedience. It worked for Martin Luther King Jr. —his nonviolent movement brought an abrupt end to legal segregation in America. It worked for Gandhi —he and his fellow Indians brought the British Empire to its knees without firing a shot. It worked for Nelson Mandela —he and the African National Congress brought about an end to apartheid with no violent revolution.
If it worked for them, trust me, it can work for you.
Sure, you can still win through violence. The Vietnamese proved that they could whip the mightiest country on earth. And look at us —we spent eight years picking off Redcoats, and got ourselves a big country out of all the shooting!
So killing does work, I guess. The only problem is, after the killing stops you’re a little messed in the head, and it takes a while before your learn to put down your guns (225 years later and we still haven’t learned).
But if you’d like to try the nonviolent approach, you not only get to see fewer people die —you get your own country in the end!
Here’s how it works:
Mahatma Gandhi emancipated the Indian people from the oppression of the British Empire by non violent means of civil disobedience.
1. Just sit your ass down. That’s it. It’s simple. You just lay your bodies down —often just a few thousand in the middle of the road will do— and don’t move and don’t fight back when they try to drag you away. Instead of Israel always shutting down the borders to Gaza and the West Bank, you shut them down. Just march peacefully up to the checkpoint and then sit down. No Israelis will be able to get to their settlements. No Israelis will be able to transport goods and natural resources from your land into Israel. There is no Israeli vehicle I know of that can drive over mounds of thousands of people (not even a pair of snow tires will do the job!). Of course, they may try, and a number of your people may be injured or killed. Still, don’t move. Just sit. The world will be watching —especially if you embrace the wonderful world of public relations, and alert the media to your plans. (Trust me, CNN will take your call.) And you’ll end up with far fewer dead Palestinians that you yield under your current plan.
2. Call a general strike. Refuse to work for the Israelis. Their economy is based on the near-slave labor you provide them. Don’t do it anymore. Who will do all their shitwork for them if Palestinians won’t? Other Israelis? I don’t think so! They need you and your willingness to break your backs for them for substandard wages. Watch how quickly a deal is struck once every single Arab refuses to go to work. Of course, they’ll try to break you. They will cut off your water, your roads, your food, —but you must stand firm. Stockpile, then strike nonviolently, and never give in. They will.
A few years back, over a million Israelis attended a Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv. That was an amazing sight. It also means that you, the Palestinians, have a million Jewish allies —a third of the country— in the nation you know as your enemy. A million of your "enemies" will come to your aid if you protest in a nonviolent way. Try it! Between your people and theirs, you will outnumber those in Israel who want to drive you into the sea.
Unfortunately, I know your inclination is to keep drawing blood. You think this will bring you liberation. It will not. It will turn you into those who are now killing you. And if you haven’t figured out one thing about the Israelis by now, you’d better get a clue —they ain’t goin’ anywhere. For God’s sake, man —they had six million of their people massacred by the most advanced civilization on earth. Do you think they’re going to let a few stones and car bombs get in the way of their own survival? They live in a world where they’re isolated and all alone. They won’t quit until you or the rest of the earth annihilates every last one of them. Is that what you want? Every last Jew wiped from the planet? If it is, then you need serious help —and you’re gonna have to get past me before you touch another one of their children.
But if, as I suspect, you would prefer peace and quiet to constant war and displacement, then you must lay down all arms, lay down your bodies in the middle of the road and then… just wait. Yes, the Israelis will beat many of your people. They will drag your women by the hair, they will sic dogs on you, they may even get out the fire hoses (and other tricks they’ve learned from us Americans). YOU MUST NOT FIGHT BACK! Trust me, when the pictures of your suffering at the hands of these brutes go out across the world, there will be such an outcry that the Israeli government will be unable to continue its oppression.
Well, there you go. If you want, I will come and join you in your nonviolent protest. It’s the least I can do after helping finance the bullets and bombs that have killed your people*.
*He refers to the $US3,000 millions United States sends to Israel a year to help their economy and war effort with tax dollars of the American people.
Just sit your ass down
Call a general strike
Photo byJeff Vespa/wireimage.com