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studying Gene Sharp and his book ...

05/29 19:27

Studying Jene Sharp, and His Book ''' There Are Realistic Alternatives''' After my short reading and exploring about Jene Sharp, I perceived that he is strongly concerned with the theory of "non-violent struggle". He was not an imitator like most of the others, but he has vivid contributions in that field, so he was an originator. This fact appeared clearly through his powerful publications. Sharp allocated the years of his life for the political knowledge, he allocated years of his life to study "non-violence theory" and to go further than anyone else could go. The old man "Sharp", knew well that with every new publication he make, he add new mourners to his funeral. So, I think he persist to die glorious, totally as the ancient pioneers. Through my reading to Sharp's wonderful book, I noticed the youth spirit inside his writings, this gave me an impression that he followed "modernism", especially when he used to update the examples he brought about "non-violence" with fresh and new political events. He was not like the static writers who bring old examples in their explaining to certain issues, maybe to express their originality, experience, and their being alive in such far days. As a result of his expertise with politics, Sharp has an extensive knowledge with both of geo-politics and political geography, this appeared clearly through his performance of writing, and through the worldwide examples and details he used to insert to his book. Sharp seems to be a wise thinker, because he used to bring a huge number of alternatives, so with every new obstacle faces the non-violent option, he create new non-violent alternatives, and refuse giving up to the violent option. So, through his dealing with conflicts he prefers always to be patient and to think in wise manner. From the ethical perspective, Sharp is not an ordinary thinker or scholar like the others, but he is a man of ethics, caller for peace, and social reformer. Sharp doesn't believe in "non-violence" as only a concept of science or knowledge, but he believe in it as an important ring at the long series of ethical politics that should govern people of modern societies. Sharp in his book assured on the historical background of "non-violence theory", the same thing appears to him and us through the vivid doctrines of the pioneering philosophers like "Jean-Paul Sartre" who supported and encouraged the non-violent action against the violent one. No doubt, what Sharp is calling for, seems exactly symmetrical to what religion is calling for. I think the symmetry doesn't occur only between Sharp's theory and a certain religion, but with all religions. All the religions whether heavenly or artificial are calling for peace, non-violence, and compromise. As a result, Sharp's thought seems to be harmonious with what religions are preaching with. Harmonious with the united message of all religions, which is "peace and no war". Sharp state in his book that "non-violent action" is valid for every time and every where. So the methodology of "non-violence theory" can be implemented in any place of this planet, and in any era of people's life. He is convinced of the validity of "non-violence" because he considers its ideology some thing logical, understandable, and reasonable. Through this book, Sharp was so closed to logic and management, especially when he used to present his strategic planning in a mathematical way mentioning the 198 methods of strategic planning. Via this mathematical way of writing and mentioning, he wrote the 198 methods in a style of listing of steps or items. By this doing he considered himself as the physician who put down therapeutic notes. Sharp here seems totally like the physician, so after his anatomizing for the disease of "violence phenomenon", he presented the effective medicine of "non-violent action". Sharp state that both of resisters and opponents are competing on the power of each other, so the gainer of the other's power will be absolutely the winner. The American thinker assumes that power involve various factors like (legitimacy, army, wealth, allies …etc). Mainly, power is being owned by the ruling regime, and the opposition endeavor to compete on that power. So Sharp's advice to that case of struggle is to be non-violent one. Considering the utopian ideology of Plato and Thomas More, the American thinker still marketing for the peaceful methodology of conflicts solution, so in this book we find him rejecting the violent behavior, and in the same time encouraging the non-violence as a safe, reliable, and utopian way of struggle implementing. Sharp suggested three hypotheses for the process of non-violent action. the first hypothesis involve simple procedures as marching, the second hypothesis involve more advanced procedures as non-cooperation, and the third one involve the most complicated procedures as imprisonment. At several spots of his book, Sharp referred clearly to the third party of the struggle. This third party is predicted to interfere in the struggle in any time. So Sharp advised the resisters to pay a special attention to that ambiguous party, in order to avoid any annoying surprises that may mix results of the struggle upside down. Resisters should always expect entrance of the third party to the struggle, whether supporting power like an ally, or opposing power like an extra opponent. Sharp considered the strategic planning as the core of "non-violence theory". Strategic planning is the tool that converts thoughts of "non-violence" from its theoretical context to a real and effective implementation on land. At this book, the American thinker states that strategic planning is the optimal way for implementing the non-violent action. If the 198methods of "non-violent action" or some of them were applied together through an effective process of strategic planning, the thinker guarantee that the biggest number of achievements will be gained, and the biggest amount of the opponent's power will be weakened. Through his fabulous 198 methods of "non-violent action", Sharp presents enormous dose of knowledge for anyone aimed to wage revolution or non-violent struggle. So Sharp can be a well paid employee if he works consultant for the political parties around the world. By taking Sharp's precious thoughts and recommendations, these parties can achieve their agenda becoming always the winners in any struggle. Critical Look to ''' Non-violence Theory ''' I think that secular non-violent resistance would be powerful and effective. However, I think that the ideologized non-violent resistance would be more powerful, and more effective. A resistance might be ideologized with religious thought, or so many other things like cultural, economical, or even political thoughts. Ideology gives the resistance more boldness, gives the resisters a united motive to follow, and a united duty to fulfill. The ideological non-violent front consist of members from different religions, different races, various cultural backgrounds, various economical ranks, also it involve members of minorities as equal as members of majorities. I believe that ideology is the real generator that provides non-violent resisters on the front with energy and power. Moreover, it unifies those various resisters beyond one target. Sport boycott or non-cooperation was neglected in this book. This vital sort of non-cooperation became widespread all over the world. After people bored from policy and its related issues, sport became the most effective on them. We started to see how a certain team uses to withdraw from a match expressing the opposition and non-cooperation with another team, or with the national federation of the game. Also what is being noticed here is the crowd's behavior prior, during, and after the matches, when they use to express their political attitudes, not only by shouting and ejaculating, but even by holding certain flags, and holding symbolic signboards. Some political parties may use the stars of sport and in particular the stars of football in their non-violent struggle. The party benefiting from popularity of a certain loyal footballer might raise the popularity of the whole party, strengthening it, and increasing its power. Beside the sport boycott (non-cooperation), there are other vital kinds of boycott, like the academic boycott of colleges and universities, which seem not less importantly than labor boycott. Speaking about kinds of boycott seems unstoppable matter, because the tools of this phenomenon are increasing rapidly with the progress of life and the science of politics. I think that the classification of (violence and non-violence) is not accurate. I think that the struggle should be classified according to three items (one for non-violence, and two for violence). The items are: 1] Non-violent struggle: exactly like what Sharp wrote in his book. It takes various shapes (marching, vigils, different kinds of boycott, hunger strike, imprisonment …etc). 2] Violent struggle: some sort of physical harm is found at this type of struggle. So the peaceful behaviors are totally excluded here. Ways of violent action seems as; (beating with batons, throwing with water, beating or boxing, tear gas, jail torment, poisoning, assassination…etc). Violence here depends on harming, harassing, and hurting the opponent. So, this type of struggle endeavors to achieve killing as a maximum target. 3] Hyper-violent struggle: This type of struggle has an exaggerated amount of violence. What is clear here, that hyper-violence has more violence than normal violent action. This brutal type of struggle targets killing as a minimum target, and goes further to worse, and more barbarous results like dividing the human body, and blemishing its parts. Hyper-violence targets both of soul and body in order to make the dead person lost, and not for burial. Aspects of this type of struggle appear at actions like (air strike, missiles attack, terroristic bomb, usage of forbidden weapons, and usage of mass destruction weapons). Hyper-violence always related with military troops, and armed forces. However, the normal violence mostly related with local security forces and police. * The following table shows a comparison between; non-violence, violence, and hyper-violence. Examples Results Execution Tools Arena Targeting Description Type of struggle -The orange revolution. - the green velvet revolution against the Iranian regime. Bring satisfactory results, far from the annoying effects Everyone can practice this type of struggle because it is easy, ethical, secure, and effective. Marches, vigils, boycott, offices occupation, hunger strike, seeking imprisonment Local or international, both in shape of (policy). Targets persuading the other side peacefully with a certain idea or attitude Peaceful way of struggle, both of resistance and opponent use non-violent actions and reactions. Non-violent struggle -The Somalian internal struggle. - The Palestinian internal struggle. - The Iranian official reaction against civil marches. Generates sensitivity, hatred, and spirit of revenge between resisters and their opponents Takes place between police and violent demonstrators, or between a state and militias. Beating with batons, throw of water, tear gas, jail torment, poisoning, shooting, assassination Mostly local and sometimes international in the shape of (occupation). Targets harming, harassing, and hurting the other side considering killing as a maximum target. Violent action is being used in struggle between resistance and opponents, or between militias and regime Violent struggle - Hiroshima & Nagasaki bomb. - 11th September attack on USA. - Rafiq Al Hariri assassination. Create havoc and huge destructive effects. Leaves big casualties against humanity & environment. Bring critical reaction from the universal media. Mostly is executed by armed forces, and some times is executed by terroristic groups. Air strike, missiles assault, terroristic bomb, usage of forbidden weapons. Mostly regional or international through raids and wars. Targets killing the opponent and smashing his dead body making it blemished and not for burial. Mega and destructive violence is being used, mainly through wars and terroristic attacks. Hyper-violent struggle Non-violent Action in the Palestinian Territories. To speak about the non-violent action in the Palestinian territories, we have to refer to a couple of points: 1- The Palestinian Israeli struggle. 2- The Palestinian Palestinian struggle. * The Palestinian Israeli struggle. Since the Palestinian catastrophe (1948) and till the year 1986, the Palestinian popular resistance inside the Palestinian territories applied the non-violent action at approximately 95% of its activities against the Israeli occupation. However, PLO was some thing different. The charismatic organization PLO lead the Palestinian resistance outside the Palestinian occupied territories, the outer resistance was following the "violent action" at the majority of its activities against the occupation. The year 1987 was a very important turning point at the Palestinian Israeli struggle. This year witnessed launching the first Palestinian uprising. The Palestinian resisters inside the occupies territories started to express their opposition in a violent manner in what's known (stones confronts). The year 1988 witnessed the assassination of the leader Khalil Al Wazeer at Tunisia, by that assassinating the leader of the Palestinian resistance, the situation became too critical in the Palestinian territories, and the average of violence witnessed a rapid increasing. The acceleration of violence remained several years till coming of the concord on Oslo agreement. The situation changed totally by the implementation of Oslo agreement. As a result, the phase of nineties became almost a phase of peace and non-violence. Except few violations, like the short uprising of 1996. In 1994, the peace makers (martyr Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres) were together received Noble peace prize, appreciating to their role in activating the peace progress at the Middle East. The year 2000 was distinguished not only in its shape, and its historical importance. However, it was important for the Palestinian fight. This year witnessed the start of the second Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation. The second uprising was more acute, and savage than the first uprising of (1987). Not only violence was used, but even hyper-violence was used through the Israeli destructive air strike, and the Palestinian bloody suicide bombs. As a result, thousands of Palestinians and Israelis were passed away. Logically, the second uprising, and most the military operations ended by the death of the martyr Yasser Arafat (2004), and by the Israeli withdrawal from the settlements of Gaza strip (2005). The recent four years witnessed some sort of truce, except the year 2009 that witnessed massive Israeli war on Gaza strip. During the recent few years, we had two Palestinian visions regarding the struggle and confront with Israel. Hamas movement which rules Gaza strip believes that there is no option better than launching the violent action against the Israeli opponent. However, the Palestinian national authority which rules the west bank believes in peace as the only strategic option. The Palestinian president Mahmud Abas and his Prime Minister Salam Fiad believe in the non-violent action as the best way for managing the endless struggle with Israel. Practically, the ways of non-violent action started to be seen at the west bank scene. So marching became an effective way of the Palestinian Israeli non-violent struggle at the west bank. The economical boycott for the products of the Israeli settlements, was another notable feature among the features of west bank non-violent struggle. Really, the west bank became full of non-violent behaviors, and became a front of non-violence. While Gaza strip goes to obscure future full of adventures, and far from political wisdom. * The Palestinian Palestinian struggle. The Islamic movement (Hamas) led a military coup in June 2007. The Palestinian national authority defeated in that violent struggle, so Hamas movement became the totally dominant on Gaza strip. Hamas became the ruling regime of Gaza strip while remained the opposition at the west bank. However, the Palestinian authority (lead by Fatah) became the opposition at Gaza strip, while remained the ruling regime of the west bank. Hamas used to repress staff members of the authority and followers of Fatah movement at Gaza strip, while Palestinian authority used to repress members, and followers of Hamas at the west bank. Both of the official action and reaction were some sort of repression and violence, so the circle of violence was running infinitely between the authorities of Fatah & Hamas. Beside the mentioned official violence, there was indirect struggle, or in other words "non-violent struggle" between the followers, and audiences of both of Fatah & Hamas. Since the coup and confront of June 2007, there is a common hatred among the Palestinian people. So the follower of Fatah dislikes the follower of Hamas, and vice versa. Here we have to mention that various kinds of boycott took place between the two audiences. The social boycott appeared through the issue of marriage & divorce. So followers of a certain party refuses to marry their daughters to grooms from the other party. Furthermore, followers of a certain party uses to divorce their wives who belong to the opponent party. Strong and long aged friendships between so many people were broken, effecting by the severe hatred between the two audiences (Fatah & Hamas). A lot of relatives, neighbors, and work mates became hating each other, so friends of yesterday became enemies of today. Exotic kind of economical boycott occurred here in the Palestinian territories and particularly in Gaza strip. Audience and followers of a certain party uses to buy their goods only from markets, and stores that belong to their party's followers. At the same time, they refuses to buy their needs from markets that belongs to the opponent's followers. The economical boycott involve [super markets, bookshops, stores, pharmacies…etc]. The educational non-cooperation is another ring in the extended series of the Palestinian internal boycott. Followers of a one party refuses to register at universities and colleges that belong to the opponent party. For instance, the follower of Fatah here in Gaza strip hesitate to register at the Islamic university because it belong to the opponent party (Hamas). Moreover, it is a powerful source of funding for the opponent (Hamas). The same thing happens with the follower of Hamas who prefer not to register at Al Azhar university which belong to the opponent party (Fatah). In another feature of boycott, companies belonging to one party refuses to perform their ads at local TV ,or broadcasting station that belong to the opponent party. These are few examples among hundreds of other kinds of boycott that are occurring every day between resisters and their opponents. Waging direct non-violent action face to face with the ruling regime is some thing difficult, because the traditional ways of non-violent action like marches & strikes are strictly prohibited, and not allowed at both of Gaza strip, and the West bank. So the non-violent struggle in this condition seems to be popular vs. popular, rather than popular vs. official or official vs. official. Both of the two parties endeavor to weaken the power of each other. Fatah want to retake Gaza strip, and Hamas want to remain the ruling regime of Gaza strip. In closing, may be it is right that the Palestinian political system is exceptional and complicated by the availability of (two governments, two resistance fronts, and two opponents). However, Palestinians should pay attention to the scientific instructions of the non-violent action waging, competing with each other on studying, and learning the wealthy publications of Jene Sharp. Palestinian thinker Muhammad Jihad Ismael. Abujihad_thinker@hotmail.com

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