During my visit to Ramallah, Palestine this past August, I was privileged to meet Emad Burnat by way of a surprising stroke of serendipity. Emad is the producer of the documentary Five Broken Cameras which won 18 awards including one at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary chronicles this Palestinian farmer’s nonviolent resistance to the brutality of the Israeli Army as they harass, humiliate, and intimidate him as they try to drive him from his land. I highly recommend this film.
Tragically, Israeli forces have frequently targeted the Burnat family because of their nonviolent resistance to Israel’s confiscation of farmland in the Palestinian village of Bil’in. I just learned that Emad’s teenage nephew Abdul-Khalik Burnat and a friend were kidnapped, beaten and detained by Israeli soldiers on December 10 while out getting pizza.
Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and of course Jesus have shown the world the power of non-violent resistance. It seems that the powerful Israeli Occupation Army recognizes the ability of non-violence to overcome injustice and oppression and is very fearful of it. They much prefer violent resistance because it gives them an excuse to unleash crushing, disproportionate, overwhelming violence in response. For over 50 years they have provoked and encouraged violence while portraying themselves as victims.
We, United States citizens, are the financiers of this illegal occupation, which is the root cause of the unrest in the Middle East.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” — Bishop Desmond Tutu.