In an op-ed in the NYT January 3, the ageing Irish rocker– and now also, it seems, NYT ‘contributing columnist’– Bono wrote of his hope that,
people in places filled with rage and despair, places like the Palestinian territories, will in the days ahead find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi.
Hullo! Has Bono actually been following any developments in the occupied Palestinian territories over recent weeks, months, or years?
Luckily, our CNI board member Alison Weir has been doing so. .. And she recently published this thoroughly researched response to Bono.
In it, Weir notes,
Your hope has already been fulfilled in the Palestinian territories.
Unfortunately, these Palestinian Gandhis and Kings are being killed and imprisoned.
On the day that your op-ed appeared hoping for such leaders, three were languishing in Israeli prisons. No one knows how long they will be held, nor under what conditions; torture is common in Israeli prisons.
At least 19 Palestinians have been killed in the last six years alone during nonviolent demonstrations against Israel’s apartheid wall that is confiscating Palestinian cropland and imprisoning Palestinian people. Many others have been killed in other parts of the Palestinian territories while taking part in nonviolent activities. Hundreds more have been detained and imprisoned…
Bono could profit, I think, from reading Mary Elizabeth King’s excellent recent book A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance. Or he could learn something about such experienced nonviolent Palestinian activists as Zoughbi Zoughbi, Mazen Qumsiyeh, Mubarak Awad, or a host of others.
…Or he could go to the overwhelmingly nonviolent anti-Wall demonstrations that activists in the village of Bil’in have maintained, every week for nearly five years now.
…Or he could see the grace, dignity, humor, love, nonviolence, and sheer grit with which Palestinians throughout the occupied territories work to keep their families and communities intacteven under 4.2 decades of grinding foreign military occupation.
…Or hey, maybe he could write something about hoping that the Israelis will find their de Klerk, or their De Gaulle– a leader who realizes that his own people’s survival and place in history depend on letting go of lands and powers that previously they have clung hard to hold on to.
Or how about an Israeli Gandhi or MLK… in place of the Apache war-copters and 500-pound bombs, massive Merkava tanks, and frequent use of extra-judicial killings with which Israel maintains its occupation of Palestinian lands???
That would be a fine thing to wish for, indeed.
Happy MLK Day, Mr. Bono.