Stupid Arab Accomplices! This subject heading looks insulting. It is and it is meant to get the attention of the Arabs over there who are using fruitless violence to protest felt injustices. There are much more intelligent and effective ways to go. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. won their battles and forced their enemies out by using the subtle instrument of civil disobedience.

Gandhi drove the British bats with non-violent marches that provoked British troops into committing massacres that were much publicized around the world and which induced the British to get out of India. King did the same with resistant Southern racists and their police dogs in the U.S. Civil disobedience is an effective device for bringing down repressive regimes — even ones dominating vast empires. Jews in the Soviet Union used the same tactic towards its decline and fall to force Soviet authorities to allow them to emigrate to Israel and the West.

Civil disobedience, not bombs and rockets, is the effective way to go — for the Palestinians occupied by Israel and for the Arab states raided for their oil by the U.S. and Britain.

Civil disobedience, as it was defined by King, involved five criteria — illegal acts of protest that were: 1) public, 2) non-violent, 3) done lovingly 4) directed to specific injustices 5) with willingness to accept arrest and punishment. See his Letter from Birmingham Jail:

which spelled out these and further details about preliminaries leading up to an act of civil disobedience.

Why am I calling Arab bombers stupid accomplices? Pretty obviously each suicide bombing or rocket fired at enemies in the occupied territories — Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon — simply gives their opponents an excuse to retaliate — tit-for-tat. And as a pointless tactic, such prevents the use of the far more effective devices for social protest that would win both the attention and sympathy of onlookers around the world. In this era of the Internet it is impossible to suppress disclosure of cruel responses to non-violent protest by authoritarian and/or dishonest democratic regimes. Bush or Blair can huff and puff about terrorism, but it has become increasingly obvious to the citizens of their respective nations that they were the ones (terrorists) who launched an illegal war against Iraq and who have been spending the past 4 years trying to cover up their wrong-doing. Similarly the Israelis are currently risking a backlash of wide spread anti-Semitism through their abuses of the Palestinians.

The suicide bombers (“homicide” if you prefer the Fox News version) are shooting their own cause in the foot. They are stupid accomplices with those against whom they are protesting. Perhaps someone will wise them up to how to do it right — neither Bush, nor Blair, nor Olmert, Netanyahu, Lieberman & Co. would be able to stand the pressures of determined non-violent Palestinian/Iraqi protests. Such could well include the Israeli Arabs as well who would be a powerful critical force to bring to bear.

Want some potential routes to follow:

1) stage a citizen’s march on the Green zone in Iraq.

2) Organize a mass protest march across the Green line in Israel/Palestine.

Invite CNN and the BBC to both events or use your own cell phones to broadcast live to the world.

Announce these happenings well in advance so that the ‘enemies’ cannot claim they were startled into violent responses. Leave the young kids home with relatives. Practice non violence well in advance and ban any planning to use weapons as Stupid Arab Accomplices — SAA. Wish I were young enough to join you, but there are some good peace church people around who probably will or some of our own college students with summer holidays coming up.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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