Adonis Diaries

One party is Confronting advancing bulldozers without weapons: Is that a “non-violent” activity? What happened in the town of Budrus?

Posted on: February 22, 2012

One party is Confronting advancing bulldozers without weapons: Is that a “non-violent” activity? What happened in the Palestinian town of Budrus?

Do you think that a person blocking the advance of a bulldozer or a tank is a non-violent confrontation?

Julia Basha produced a documentary of the non-violent struggle of the Palestinian community of Budrus in the West Bank.  This movie is a narrative of the community of Budrus who united to peacefully demonstrate against the Wall of Shame of Sharon. The Wall of separation was planned to cut the village in half and restrict daily communication and trade with neighboring towns and villages. 

All the Palestinian political factions of Fateh, Hamas…and families joined forces and were supported by Israeli and foreign peaceful activists:  They marched every day to the construction site and girls stood in front of bulldozers that were rooting out olive trees… Finally, the Israeli authority gave up on the project for the Wall of separation to pass by the village.

Do you feel when seeing these kinds of scenes, bare bodies defying the power-to-be machineries, as totally non violent? Which scene is more scary and violent: A body standing in front of an advancing tank or two people shooting at one another? Which scene is more scary and violent: A body sitting in front of an advancing bulldozer or one person shooting at another person hiding behind a barrier?

You have two parties confronting one another: One party is bearing arms and the other party has no weapons, but is ready to stand against indignities, humiliation, and survival of the bullying group who refuses to negotiate according to international human rights laws and rules…

Do you think that confrontations not based on legal and just laws, without strong-arm behavior looming behind the scene, can be labelled non-violent?

A body defying a raging bulldozer has reached a state of no return in a climate of total outrage and impotence to getting his just and fair rights.  The bulldozer driver who presses on the gas pedal and harvest a living person has reached an hysteric state of total apartheid and racist mind-set. Both parties are violent in their confrontations, regardless of weapon imbalance, simply because the political environment, which was emptied of any human rights and social values, is a violent climate and refuses any considerations of equitable human status…

Julia Basha believe that narrative stories are the most effective medium to changing perspectives on a story.  She explained the cognitive dissonance of why foreign media refused to cover this peaceful non-violent wonderfully achievement.  for example, FOX News is watched by over 80 million Americans, and this media has manufactured a violent ideology based on “Your rights are what you gained by strong-arm methods…”  This media then turns around and explains: “Hey, I am delivering what the audience want to watch as news…”  You are not going to expect Fox news or any violent and biased medias to displaying non-violent activities, especially when this activities generate success results…

It seems that the media professionals had their mental model or coherent story concerning the conflict and this new aspect of peaceful Palestinian cohesion didn’t match the model.  Thus, Julia said that narrative stories are the most effective medium to changing perspectives on a story.

The “Budrus” film was shown to a group of Tea Party sympathizers who believe that private property is the cornerstone for independence of State government plans.  A large man asked Julia: “Didn’t the Israeli government pay for the proprietors of the land?”  Israel don’t pay for anything owned by Palestinian, but Julia was witty and replied:  “A few accepted to sell, but most of them refused.  They believed that if the Israeli government got its way once, it will repeat its nasty behavior.”  The man beamed:  this story didn’t contradict his mental model. 

The Palestinians in the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza have been conducting non-violent marches, demonstrations, and activities for decades, but the US and western medias refrained from showing this side of the story. If the Palestinian non-violent activities are shut-down from the mass audience, how can people pay attention to the Palestinian plights?

If the successive US administrations are refraining to applying UN charters in the Palestinian just cause, and steadfastly side with Israel stron-arm policies, how do you think the Palestinians should behave?

Note: Julia Basha is Brazilian or Lebanese descent who directed and produced the award-winning movie “Budrus” (2009).   Julia Basha co-wrote and edited “Control Room” (2004),  and co-directed “Encounter Point” (2006)

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February 2012

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