Amid the smoke, rubble and blood, the idea of nonviolent protest in Gaza seems as preposterous as it is naive.
Indeed, those Palestinians who preached nonviolence and led peaceful marches, boycotts, mass sit-downs and the like are mostly dead, in jail, marginalised or in exile.
Mubarak Awad is one of the latter. Often dubbed “the Palestinian Gandhi” or “Palestinian Martin Luther King Jr,” Awad now teaches the theory and practice of nonviolence at American University in Washington, DC, far from his Jerusalem home.
Israel kicked him out in 1988. Five years earlier, he had opened the doors of the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, with the goal of fomenting mass resistance to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. Do not pay taxes, he lectured. Consume only local goods, like the Indians who followed Gandhi’s movement against British colonial rule. Engage in peaceful protest. Plant olive trees on land coveted by Jewish settlers. Above all, do not pick up the gun. March, and sit down, like civil rights protesters in the American South in the 1960s. Take the beatings, clog up Israeli jails. Continue reading “Mubarak Awad – The ‘Palestinian Gandhi’”