Kathy Kelly, no doubt about it, is the real thing. In the 1990s, as one of the leading lights of ‘Voices in the Wilderness’, she made repeated visits to Iraq to document the mass-scale suffering caused by the excruciatingly long-lived US-UK (UN) sanctions campaign waged against the country… In 2003, she was there as a voluntary human witness/shield as the US started its completely illegal invasion of the country.
Now, small surprise, she’s in Gaza, from where she recently penned this amazing piece of testimony. She says people often ask her “how do the Gazans survive?” But she says she finds a happy resilience among many of the children– and turns the question around and asks her fellow-citizens of the US how we survive, knowing the degree of our government’s complicity in Israel’s atrocities.
Then, brilliantly, she asks us to imagine what size of a “tunnel” would be needed to trans-ship all the arms the US has supplied to Israel:
- Think of what would have to come through.
Imagine Boeing’s shipments to Israel traveling through an enormous underground tunnel, large enough to accommodate the wingspans of planes, sturdy enough to allow passage of trucks laden with missiles. According to UK’s Indymedia Corporate Watch, 2009, Boeing has sent Israel 18 AH-64D Apache Longbow fighter helicopters, 63 Boeing F15 Eagle fighter planes, 102 Boeing F16 Eagle fighter planes, 42 Boeing AH-64 Apache fighter helicopters, F-16 Peace Marble II & III Aircraft, 4 Boeing 777s, and Arrow II interceptors, plus IAI-developed arrow missiles, and Boeing AGM-114 D Longbow Hellfire missiles,
In September of last year, the U.S. government approved the sale of 1,000 Boeing GBU-9 small diameter bombs to Israel, in a deal valued at up to 77 million.
Now that Israel has dropped so many of those bombs on Gaza, Boeing shareholders can count on more sales, more profits, if Israel buys new bombs from them from them. Perhaps there are more massacres in store. It would be important to maintain the tunnel carefully…
Okay, so in terms of courageous and principled nonviolence activism, Kathy Kelly is undoubtedly the real thing. Go read the whole of that brilliant essay of hers.
And then there are the numerous, extremely ignorant and patronizing liberal hawks, in the US and perhaps also elsewhere, people like Tom Friedman or Nick Kristof, who “preach” to the Palestinians– safely and from a great distance– that they really “ought” to adopt Gandhian principles in their struggle.
Here’s what really irritates me about such people:
- 1. They are ignorant, arrogant, racist, and defamatory. They give no recognition whatsoever, nothing, nada, that the Palestinians already have a very lengthy record of mass nonviolent action! (Just yesterday I found this amazing history of portions of the movement, written by former Palestinian minister Abdel-Jawad Saleh.) Instead, the Friedmans and Kristofs of this world just lazily buy into, and through their writings further perpetuate, the racist and defamatory notion that all the Palestinians have ever done at the political level thus far– or very nearly all– has been to use violence…
(Also on the ignorance front, these people never seem to have read the passages in which Gandhi says that any kind of resistance to imperial oppression– even if it is violent resistance– is better than no resistance… but nonviolent resistance is even better.)
2. These people have no personal credibility as “apostles of nonviolence.” Here’s my litmus-test: Do these apostles/missionaries of nonviolence have any track record of working publicly within their own countries to oppose the militarism of its policies, or those of its allies? If so, then they could have some credibility talking about these issues to other people. But have you ever seen Tom Friedman join an antiwar march or otherwise lend the support of his well-known name to antiwar movements at home? … No, neither have I. So why should anyone listen to him when he goes and preaches (his version of) Gandhi-ism to people living in circumstances very far removed from his own? By their deeds shall ye know them…
Well, pardon the rant. I guess I should have made this into two posts. One on the Friedmans of this world and the other on Kathy Kelly. Her work is so much more interesting and constructive than his!