Writer, graduate student and organizer Max Ajl was in Cairo earlier this month along with 1,300 other activists who had gathered from all over the world to protest the illegal blockade of Gaza. The following is an article written by Ajl which includes his reflections on the Gaza Freedom March (he was a principal organizer) and the concept of international solidarity and non-violence in the Palestinian context.
I’m going to discuss the utility of non-violent resistance as it applies to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict and, specifically, the occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip. Even more specifically, I’m going to discuss the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), of which I’m one of the organizers. But before discussing Palestinian non-violence, several things must be clarified. One is that no one — least of all me, a Jewish kid from Brooklyn — has the slightest right to dictate to the Palestinians how to end the blockade or resist the occupation. Another is the need to avoid the nearly inevitable antiseptic air to talk by Westerners discussing Palestinian non-violence. Antiseptic, because it is cleansed of the complicating grit of the occupation within which non-violence must take place. There’s also usually a tacit subtext, usually a four-word question: Where Is Their Gandhi? That question could not be more in error. I hope to show why.