A friend writes:
Nicholas Kristof today says a Sudanese Mom shooting a machine gun at Sudanese soldiers is a hero and an example for our leaders (as if we need more leaders willing to use weapons), but in 2010 lectured Palestinians on Gandhi and criticized them for throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. Sure, the situation is more immediately life threatening in southern Sudan than in Palestine, but there is still some significant hypocrisy here. Kristof exemplifies typical US double standards on Israel/Palestine relative to other struggles. Can anyone imagine Kristof under any circumstance praising a Palestinian who shot at an Israeli soldier?
Excerpts of the two columns:
If Only Our Leaders Had Mariam’s Guts By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Published: June 6, 2012
I’d like to introduce a valiant woman here, Mariam Tia, to President Obama and other world leaders, so she could explain how they’re allowing Sudan’s leaders to get away with mass atrocities that echo Darfur.
…Mariam was pregnant when the Sudanese Army invaded her village here in the rebel-held Nuba Mountains and shot her husband dead. Enraged, she took over a mounted machine gun set up by rebels and began to rake the soldiers as they burned the village’s huts.
Mariam said she isn’t sure whether she actually shot any soldiers and that soon they began firing back, so she had to run for her life. …
She named her baby girl Fakao, which is shorthand for: bombs are dropping. When people hear Antonov bombers releasing their payloads, they shout “Fakao! Fakao!” That’s the signal to huddle behind rocks and hope for the best.
“When this child was in my stomach, I used to run from the bombers,” Mariam told me as she nursed Fakao in front of her cave. “I named her this so that I could remember the struggle we went through to give her life.”
“If I ever see the enemy again,” she added, “I will tie this baby to my back and pick up a gun and fight them.”
Despite being stoned and tear-gassed on this trip, I find a reed of hope here. It’s that some Palestinians are dabbling in a strategy of nonviolent resistance that just might be a game-changer.
The organizers hail the methods of Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., recognizing that nonviolent resistance could be a more powerful tool to achieve a Palestinian state than rockets and missiles….
But then a group of Palestinian youths began to throw rocks at Israeli troops. That’s the biggest challenge: many Palestinians define “nonviolence” to include stone-throwing.
Soon after, the Israeli forces fired volleys of tear gas at us, and then charged. The protesters fled, some throwing rocks backward as they ran. It’s a far cry from the heroism of Gandhi’s followers, who refused even to raise their arms to ward off blows as they were clubbed…
I don’t know whether Palestinians can create a peaceful mass movement that might change history, and their first challenge will be to suppress the stone-throwers and bring women into the forefront. But this grass-roots movement offers a ray of hope for less violence and more change.