Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Reclaiming a culture of resistance

THE IDEA of a culture of resistance is being deliberately erased from simplistic media reporting of struggles across the world.

That's the view of Ramzy Baroud, distinguished Arab American commentator and author, most recently, of 'My father was a freedom fighter’ published by Pluto Press.

He writes in the Khaleej Times: "Resistance is not a band of armed men hell-bent on wreaking havoc. It is not a cell of terrorists scheming ways to detonate buildings. True resistance is a culture. It is a collective retort to oppression.

"Even those who purport to sympathise with resisting nations often contribute to the confusion. Activists from Western countries tend to follow an academic comprehension of what is happening in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. Thus certain ideas are perpetuated: suicide bombings bad, non-violent resistance good; Hamas rockets bad, slingshots good; armed resistance bad, vigils in front of Red Cross offices good.

"Many activists will quote Martin Luther King Jr., but not Malcolm X. They will infuse a selective understanding of Gandhi, but never of Guevara. This supposedly ‘strategic’ discourse has robbed many of what could be a precious understanding of resistance – as both concept and culture.

"If resistance is 'the action of opposing something that you disapprove or disagree with', then a culture of resistance is what occurs when an entire culture reaches this collective decision to oppose that disagreeable element - often a foreign occupation."