Adeeb Abu Rahmah, the moral giant in the above video, has now been in prison for 500 days. Abu Rahmah was arrested on 10 July 2009 during a nonviolent demonstration in the West Bank village of Bil’in. An Israeli military court later charged Abu Rahmah with incitement, defined as “the attempt, verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order.”
Incitement is a vague and politically-motivated charge that has been used in this case — and also the case of Adeeb’s cousin, Abdullah Abu Rahmah — because the Israeli military court had nothing legitimate with which to charge Adeeb Abu Rahmah. Even more important is the understanding that the Israeli military prosecution manufactured a charge because popular nonviolent resistance, of which Abu Rahmah and Bil’in are a prominent part, is a threat to the viability of Israel’s theft and occupation of Palestinian land.
On 30 June 2010, after nearly a year of languishing in prison while a sham trial proceeded, an Israeli military court sentenced Adeeb Abu Rahmah to one year in prison. Having already served the year to which he was sentenced, Abu Rahmah should have been immediately released, but was instead ordered to be held because the military prosecution had filed an appeal. Months later on 21 October 2010, the military prosecution’s appeal, which asked for a harsher sentence, was accepted by Judge Lieutenant Colonel Benisho of the Military Court of Appeals. The lengthened sentence totaled 18 months and included a 5,000 NIS (New Israeli Shekel) fine. Adeeb Abu Rahmah is due to be released in December 2010.
Amnesty International, among other human rights organizations, has called for Abu Rahmah’s release and has called into question the charges handed down by the Israeli Military court, saying “the broad scope of Israeli military orders mean that Adeeb Abu Rahma could be imprisoned solely for legitimately exercising his right to freedom of expression in opposing Israeli policies in the West Bank.”
Indeed, Abu Rahma remains in prison because of his moral courage and his determined and persistent nonviolent resistance to the takeover of his land resulting from Israeli policies. Israel considers Abu Rahma a dangerous man because he stood face-to-face with occupying soldiers and demanded that they use their brains, pick up books instead of guns, and provide a justification for their actions. Abu Rahmah is considered a dangerous man because he refuses to give an inch of his land, nor an inch of his moral conviction.
Recent criticisms calling the founder of nonviolent theory a Cold Warrior are way off the mark. To rightly evaluate him, we need to understand the role he chose for himself.
A six-week strike by teachers has bolstered a movement against proposed austerity measures targeting Lebanon’s dangerously underfunded education system.
Drama helps movements draw attention to their issues, but it won’t come without creativity and direct action tactics that reach beyond the choir.