Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Resistance is a matter of conscience
"What is resistance? Where do you draw the line between active resistance and terrorism? Applying violence in certain circumstances to attain a political end is a dramatic act. This decision to resort to violence is subject at all times to rigorous judicial and ethical considerations, because the committer of violence is suddenly judge, prosecutor and executioner in his own case. In this the committer of violence will always try to appeal to the common good.
The moment when the decision to commit violence is taken, a true rebel should delay it as long as possible, because the political and human consequences are absolutely unpredictable. Moreover, the usually cited historical examples provide insufficient understanding for predicting possible consequences of armed resistance. It is precisely history that gives us a frightening picture of applying violence in resistance.
Why is it so risky? Firstly the progress of history is unpredictable. Armed resistance of particular groups usually works counterproductively and promotes anarchy and more terror.
Secondly, the odds are very high that violent resistance will result in a terror-state, as happened with Cuba. The committers of armed resistance are actors and not thinkers. And because these actors become progressively angrier, more frustrated and less patient while bearing more hatred, when they rise to power they will consider all who think otherwise as their enemies upon whom they will apply the trusted mechanism of terror. Whoever wants to initiate armed resistance, must first appeal to his conscience and be prepared to face all possible risks. Resistance is a matter of conscience. True resistance never wants to appear tyrannical.
Can we think of criteria for what constitutes armed resistance? When is the international community, or the media, entitled to raise sympathy for armed resistance? There are a variety of possible situations:
1. Tyranny. There is a ruthless tyranny against which all peaceful means have been tried in vain, and an absolute majority of the population has made it clear to the tyranny that they do not want to live under that regime any longer. In principle a brief armed uprising on the side of the civilians could make an end to the tyranny. The armed resistance of the Iranian revolution, for example, did not take longer than three days and cost only a limited number of lives. It should be added that the Iranian army had been weary at that point from shooting at unarmed civilians daily for more than six months. The fact that a terror-regime arose after that has to do with the murderous and mendacious nature of political Islam and its uniformed killers: ayatollahs, imams and sheiks.
2. Occupation. Here one would imagine that this could be the most obvious reason for armed resistance. At this point Europeans have one frame of reference and that is the Second World War. This was, however, a unique situation and it is not only misleading but also wrong to apply it thoughtlessly to all other situations. This misconception can lead to bizarre cases: the international community is now paying the price of Western financial, military and moral support of the Afghan Mujahedeen that gave rise to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Therefore, Soviet occupation was not a justifiable ground to support islamo-fascist groups in Afghanistan. The West should have organized peaceful (Afghan) resistance more thoughtfully and patiently, and brace itself for the day on which eventually the democratic resistance groups would rise up. Western diplomats, politicians and journalists on both sides of the ocean must never forget this bitter lesson; they bear a moral responsibility for their mistakes. They do not have the right to endanger innocent civilians and rule of law on the basis of a romantic love for the oppressed.
This bitter lesson is immediately applicable to our attitude towards the Palestinian and Chechen cases. The Islamic mass-terrorists (amongst others, Hamas, Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Hezbollah) all belong to the same jihadist spectrum. They are the enemy of both the Western, and eventually, the Eastern peoples: our democratic regime is in a state of war with them. Those who support these enemies, whether financially, militarily, or logistically, are supporting an armed jihad by criminals, and should be charged by the public prosecutor for being associates of criminals.
The murdered children of Beslan bring this painful truth to mind: the enemy is ruthless. For this reason we should make it clear to these enemies that they cannot find support here.
Were there other alternatives for the Palestinians or the Chechens? The Palestinian negotiators should have negotiated seriously, and not secretly hope that they could win a war of exhaustion through Hamas. The Chechens should not have blown up apartments in Moscow during peace negotiations (200 were killed in 1999), which brought the Red Army back into Chechnya. Thanks to the peace agreement, the Chechens were in a position, through European organizations (where Russia is also involved) to demand the implementation of human rights. After that they could have pursued a mechanism regarding the trial, or establishment of the truth, about the criminals of the first Chechen war. These paths, and not armed resistance, have to be supported by the international community.
Every people has to show first that it is concerned with establishing a rule of law. If that is not the case, then it is very much in question whether their aims should be supported by the international community.
What would a Turkish Kurdistan have been like under the great Leader Öcalan? How would Palestine have been ruled by the prophetic shadow of Sheik Yassin? The Afghan tragedy teaches us that we must never support the inhuman pursuit of tyranny and terror. But we do have a duty to support human rights, security and peace, if necessary, with armed force."
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