Monday, January 10, 2011

The death of Jawahar Abu-Rahmah of Bil’in

Noam Sheizaf has written a detailed account of the death of Jawahar Abu-Rahmah at the village of Bil'in.

Poor Ms. Abu-Rahmah was killed by exposure to tear gas during a protest in which she was a bystander — and instead of the Israeli government and Israeli Defense Forces pausing to take a deep breath, and reassess why they protests are occurring, a deluge of shameless lies emerges.

Blind Palestinian villager during protest on September 2, 2005.

I’ve been to Bil’in. This is an audio slideshow of a protest in Bil'in I made in 2005.

The events Mr. Sheizaf describes are very much disturbing — in a way that I cannot quite make rational sense out of. As Mr. Sheizaf suggests, to be killed or wounded in the places where everything is going on — in the middle of the action among the bullets, tear gas and rocks — is not at all surprising. Yet Ms. Abu-Rahmah was standing on a hill, away from central action, and the gas rushed towards her and ultimately killed her. Perhaps it is a kind of metaphor for the unintended consequences of deploying mass violence to repress problems. The gas, carried by the wind, is our foolishness and arrogance, our failure of the imagination, and our greed. We cannot control the wind, and no one in the history of humanity has been able to control all the flow-on effects of choosing violence over nonviolence, repression over dialogue, and arrogance over genuine collaboration between people with differences.

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