Monday, August 5, 2013

David vs Goliath: boys with rocks vs tyranny & superior military might

The NY Times just published an article entitled “In a West Bank Culture of Conflict, Boys Wield the Weapon at Hand” about Palestinian children lobbing rocks at armored Israeli military vehicles & at settler vehicles. The information in the article is actually useful, though guarded in describing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank; in particular, it includes the recent UN report on abuses, incarceration, & torture of Palestinian children by the Israeli military. Between 2002 & 2012, at least 7,000 minors were arrested & jailed, mostly for rock throwing.

According to the article, small children play a game they call Arabs & Army to train for the big leagues of rock throwing described as “a rite of passage & an honored act of defiance. The futility of stones bouncing off armored vehicles matters little: confrontation is what counts.”

So the violent Israeli military occupation to protect settlers from around the world taking over Palestinian lands is now a Palestinian “Culture of Conflict;” rock throwing is a boy’s rite of passage through adolescence & puberty & a pointless act of defiance! If that’s true, why have they now locked up & tortured well over 7,000 kids for rock throwing!?

The NY Times can’t posture itself as the media of intellectuals & also play Waldo the Dunce about what is going on in Palestine. Palestinians have no military to defend themselves against Israeli soldiers with armored vehicles, in riot gear armed with tear gas, grenades, skunk bombs, rubber & live ammunition--all propelled in the spirit of apartheid & ethnic cleansing. The children are defying all this with the only weapons at their disposal: stones & the spirit of Intifada.

Boys defying occupying armies & tyranny with stones is hardly just a culture of conflict unique to Palestinians. Mexican boys on the US-Mexico border against US border patrols, Catholic boys in Northern Ireland against British soldiers, Kashmiri boys protesting Indian military occupation, Iraqi & Afghani boys against US-NATO troops: in all of these instances unarmed children have pelted superior military might with rocks & sling shots. Many children have not only been arrested; they have been shot & killed.

US war propaganda has images of soldiers throwing candy from tank caravans to cheering children; they omit the racist taunting of children along with videos showing armored vehicles running gauntlets of Iraqi & Afghani children lobbing rocks.

Here Israeli soldiers stormed into the home of 17-year-old Muhammad Abu Hashem at 4 am last month to arrest him in the West Bank town of Beit Ommar. It was his 4th arrest in three years for rock throwing. His five brothers have all been arrested for the same “offense.” Last year, three of them & their father were in prison at the same time. That is the determination of intifada!

Palestinians have a right to defy tyranny & defend themselves by any means necessary. Support their right of self defense by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729); by supporting the cultural boycott of Israel; & by demanding “No US aid to Israel!”

(Photo by Rina Castelnuovo/NYTimes)

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