Chapter 7: The Myth of the Violent Victory
- The Myth of the Violent Victory -
Anis Hamadeh, Jan. 26, 2007
Is the peace camp "female, old and short"? Is it true that nonviolence gets a very good media coverage? In his new article "Nonviolence? The Sword of St. Michael", http://www.israelshamir.net/English/NonViolence.htm from January 2007 Israel Shamir claims just that. "Maybe we won't have peace", he concludes, "but we'll have victory."
Sounds interesting. But... How sweet can a Palestinian victory be after a hundred years of struggle and loss, especially when there is not even peace in sight? The glory, according to Shamir, is with "the fighters with AK machineguns cautiously treading the narrow streets of Nablus or Faluja." Does he really think that those fighters will militarily win against the USA and Israel? In the publics we often find the claim that pacifists are dreamers, but what kind of dream is a military victory? It is difficult to understand how Shamir imagines this to happen. And even if they win, take Hezbollah in Lebanon against the Israeli army, there still are the public opinions in the world that do not foster justice for everyone yet. Therefore the conflicts can only be solved on the level of the publics and not with blood on the streets.
There are several rewarding questions to be derived from this pamphlet. The first one is whether or not one should refer to violent Biblical or Quranic images in order to justify violence, not only for the reason that Shamir's very opponents resort to this strategy, but also because of laicism. But let's hear what Shamir really is angry about: "Too often, non-violence grows not out of humility and self-sacrifice, but out of self-preservation and fear." This, unfortunately, is correct. Too often... but not always. Principally, one can even agree with this: "In this war we have a right and a wrong side, and we are duty bound to support right against wrong." It is the totality and absoluteness which is doubtful and also dangerous for the feeble. Shamir in other texts glorifies Saddam Hussain and mourns the time when there was a military Iraqi deterrence against the highly armed Israel. While progressive people call for a nuclear-free Middle East and a decrease of weapons Shamir clings to visions of the past, visions of fear.
Like the sword of Saint Michael in an Apocalyptic battle the oppressed shall be, and we people are to hail the warriors of the noble cause. Says Shamir. He takes a few examples of pacifists and concludes: "In short, pacifism is a quirky, doubtful and unsuccessful idea", and his notion of love is that it "can cause us to give everything including our life, and it can cause us to take life, as well." Readers may wonder what his point is, as the right of self-defense exists and even international law does not regard violent resistance as violence proper. Therefore Shamir's attacks are not precise and rather aimed at windmills.
In human history there is a clear tendency towards the pacification of the world through laws. It is necessary to fight the corruption of these laws and to bring them further until we have made a just world. Whoever thinks he can wipe off blood with blood will also try to wipe off ink with ink.
Shamir does not sufficiently differentiate between violence and resistance and is content with generalizing pacifists and women and others in a way that his frustrations find a vent and he can feel like an anti-mainstream hero with catching aphorisms. It seems rather trivial. The greatest miracle, anyway, is that the militant resistance fighters promoted in this oeuvre have barely anything to do with the way Shamir portrays himself rather credibly. Remember him describing his journey in the "Galilee Flowers", where Shamir talks to everybody on his way, also to Zionists and people he feels to actually be oppressors. He rarely is angry, let alone violent. Why, where is the AK machinegun?