Satyagraha

Cultural Psychology

Archive for January 2009

Gaza Protests: Keep Them Peaceful!

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Today in many European cities there were demonstrations against the Israeli assault on Gaza.

That is a good thing.  There was a large demonstration in Brussels, as a matter of fact.  I noticed many people walking down Anspach Boulevard, apparently on the way back from the protest.  It still had the character of a protest march, and I joined in for a ways.

Later in the day I noticed some off-duty police in riot gear.  From their faces it looked like they’d had a hard day.  This made me worry that maybe there had been some trouble at the Brussels protest.

Asking around, somebody mentioned that some cars had been burned or damaged.   That doesn’t surprise me.  A day or two ago many protesters gathered at the Bourse (Stock Exchange),  and were shouting bad things about Bush.  (That struck me as a little odd.   Bush is out of the picture at this point.  What’s the point of complaining about him?)

Anyway, this photo pretty much explains what I want to write about.

What is wrong with this picture

What is wrong with this picture?

Folks — it’s a peace march.  So be peaceful, ok?

It works like this.  Assume that your enemies are actually just very, very ignorant people; it’s like nobody has ever shown them how to act right, so they just don’t know how.   It’s up to you to show them.  Demonstrate to them the behavior you want them to imitate — in this case, peaceful resolution of conflict.  In fact, that’s the perfect term:  demonstrate — as in a “demonstration”.

But don’t forget the news bias factor here.  You can bet the cameras jumped right on the  flag-burning and car-trashing.  There were no reporters covering the hundreds of quiet, almost solemn — as though praying — people I saw marching in Brussels today.

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Written by John Uebersax

January 11, 2009 at 9:08 pm