27 April, 2010 — The Only Democracy?
Emily gives a summary of Bil’in’s legal actions under a poster of Bassem Abu Rahma, killed at a demo one year ago, April 17.
Some of us have become so used to West Bank demonstrations meaning major Israeli army presence, and, typically, the use of weapons, that we have forgotten what demonstrations in a democracy look like. We’ve forgotten that a protest against oppressive working conditions in downtown New York City, or against oppressive abortion policies in Fredericton, Canada, or against wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in cities including London, Sydney, Paris, San Francisco and Toronto — means police presence only when the protests become so large that they overcrowd public spaces and need direction, when they damage city property, or (get this) when the protesters themselves might be at risk from onlookers with opposing views.
And so we attend demonstration after demonstration — from Bil’in to Al-Ma’asara to Hebron to Nabi Salah, and more — and we are enraged time and time again by the unjustified, disproportionate, immoral response of the army and border police.
But we hardly ever ask ourselves: why are they even here?
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