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Opinion

It works so well
Passive resistance vs. terrorism

By Jerry Quill
March 17, 2004
iranian.com

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding. It seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Terrorism has proven to be a complete failure as a means to achieving any kind of political justice. Militarily it does not destroy enough equipment that can't be replaced through normal production. The deaths of military personal, while tragic are not sufficient to diminish troop levels. Civilian deaths do not come close to normal birth rates. Terrorism fails as a tactical military strategy.

As a symbolic gesture it also fails. History has proven over and over again that terrorism hardens the resolve of its victims. Present Israeli military power is in direct response to Hamas and Hizbullah tactics. The war on terrorism was wholly predictable. The symbolic parallels between 9/11 and Pearl Harbor are significant because al-Qaeda will most likely suffer the fate of the Imperialist Japanese.

Terrorist acts also sully the reputation of the people on whose behalf the acts were committed. The Spanish inquisition still stains Christianity to this very day. The acts of al-Qaeda and its supporters will tarnish Islam for centuries to come. Violence and butchery in the name of God is repulsive to any sane person who takes one step back from the emotion of the moment.

On the other hand, passive resistance has proven to be an extremely potent weapon for the advancement of social justice. It brought independence to India, an end to apartheid in America and South Africa, democracy to Poland and thwarted a dictatorial coup in Russia. All the while terrorism has done absolutely nothing for Palestinians. Terrorism is a creation of man. It clearly violates the standards of God. This is the reason it is never successful. Passive resistance is the course God offers us to uphold his standards while achieving justice. That is why it works so well.

No Israel government could withstand the political pressure brought on by non-violent Palestinian protests. Like all democracies, Israel is reactionary and passive resistance combined with a just cause is beyond Israel's power to defy. But the minute some kid picks up a rock, the whole thing goes out the window. Israel claims "We will not negotiate will terrorists" Remove the terrorists and you've neutralized the Israeli army.

If the failure of terrorism is so obvious the question is why would any logical person or group engage in it? It's because terrorism does serve a real purpose: To maintain injustice.

Palestinian and Israeli peace would expose the fact that the Syrian military's real purpose is to oppress Syrians. Bashar al-Assad has to betray the Palestinians by promoting violence to stay in power. The extermination of the Palestinians is immoral and impractical. The extermination of the Jews is immoral and impractical. Therefore a peacefully negotiated settlement is the only logical and moral answer. A settlement, which any thinking individual can see, would have been reached decades ago if not for terrorism. The war on Israel is an artificially created sham. The Middle Eastern dictatorial elite have condemned the Palestinian people to perpetual exile to satisfy their lust for undeserved personal power.

In Iraq violence is being used to frustrate democracy in an attempt to return to Baathist brutal rule. The claims of resistance are illogical and dishonest because the creation of a health viable democracy is the fastest path to American withdrawal.

Saudi Arabia fosters terrorist doctrine within its educational system, and financially supports terrorist groups. Then it spends lavish funds on a military to defend against the enemy it deliberately created but in reality its forces are used to squelch any internal dissent to dictatorial royal rule.

Iran supports and sponsors terror against Israel then uses a threat from Israel as a pretext to maintain a vast security force that is uses not against Israel but against Iranian citizens.

The dedication of the Iranian democratic movement to passive resistance is wholly honorable. A successful transition to democracy through non-violence will be a guiding light for all of humanity in the future not to mention the pride it will shine on Persian culture for millennia. It will also mean one less knife in the back of Palestinians.

The only problems I see with the current movement are organization and exposure. The just cause is there.

America had Martin Luther King Jr. South Africa had Nelson Mandela. India had Gandhi. Iranian democracy needs to lift up one leader that all can rally behind who can foster a strong commitment to non-violence from the whole movement. It also needs a singular realistic transition plan that the world can see is logical to implement. Unified leadership and direction are crucial.

As far as exposure, I would not rule out pooling funds from pro-democracy groups to hire a professional media consultant company that would develop programs to advance democratic principles to those living in Iran, to organize and promote pro-democracy rallies world wide, to lobby foreign governments and the UN for moral and financial support and to raise new funds to support the movement. And most importantly, to effectively expose globally the hypocrisy and tyranny in Iran's present dictatorship.

The same people that run Western political campaigns could be beneficial. In America, Media consultants help the peaceful transition of power every 4 years. Bringing the gallant struggle for freedom by the Iranians to the daily front pages of the world's media can be accomplished. We live in the 21st century; we should bring 21st century technology to bear.

The world's dictatorships are under siege. The morality and wisdom of democracy and universal human rights is becoming clear. Tyrants will not die easy, but their promise of continued persecution and enslavement cannot stand up to the forces of respect and personal liberty. Freedom will win in the end.

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