The Forum

Non-violence Is the Privilege of Those Who Aren’t On the Receiving End of Violence

By Matthew Humm,

*A Sharp Critique of The Middle-East Conflict which we (Kenyans) can, in many ways, relate to and apply to our own social situation!!!!*

“The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopting his guidelines, are fearful of freedom.” -Freire.

It’s too easy to look at Israel through the leanse of Jewish-Arab relations while failing to understand Israel as a post-Holocaust reactionary state. Israel is still composed of survivors and many of the leaders have parents who were survivors of the Holocaust. The Jewish people as a whole have a deep historical conscious of being oppressed . This is very revealing of the psychology of the state, which was designed to protect the Jewish people from further oppression. In a dialectical sense, those administering the Israeli state have very much become what Freire would caution against. People who were formerly oppressed, now adopting the tactics of their oppressors.

In many senses Israel is fascist Germany all over again…the ghettoization of Palestinians mirrors that of the Jewish ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe. I would argue that in order to fully humanize those who work to protect the Jewish state, it’s important to understand this treacherous tight rope Israeli’s walk between the painful memory of experiencing the most systematic genocide the world has seen to wielding the first Jewish state the modern world has seen.

I would argue that as that memory fades, the new generations will work towards a more universal humanity. Which brings me to a second Freire quote. “No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption”

If the new generation of radicals like Zachary, committed to human liberation, wish to tackle their self-proclaimed privilege and avoid the pitfalls of a “private” revolution, it is important to fight side by side with the oppressed, to trust them and the vision they have of their liberation. To understand the Warsaw Ghetto uprising is also to understand the Gaza Ghetto uprising. Non-violence is the privilege of those who aren’t on the receiving end of violence. Maybe the point is, that what the 14 year old Palestinian did to land in jail is important, it was a moment of resistence worth talking about as much as it’s worth talking about someone who takes a stand against state-administered violence against those resisting their occupation.

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