朱麗亞 白霞: 女性如何運用非暴力發動衝突



Twelve years ago , I picked up a camera for the first time to film the olive harvest in a Palestinian village in the West Bank .
I thought I was there to make a single documentary and would then move on to some other part of the world .
But something kept bringing me back .


Now , usually , when international audiences hear about that part of the world , they often just want that conflict to go away .
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is bad , and we wish it could just disappear .
We feel much the same way about other conflicts around the world .
But every time we turn our attention to the news , it seems like one more country has gone up in flames .
So I 've been wondering whether we should not start looking at conflict in a different way -- whether instead of simply wishing to end conflict , we focus instead on how to wage conflict .
This has been a big question for me , one I 've pursued together with my team at the nonprofit Just Vision .
After witnessing several different kinds of struggles in the Middle East , I started noticing some patterns on the more successful ones .
I wondered whether these variables held across cases , and if they did , what lessons we could glean for waging constructive conflict , in Palestine , Israel and elsewhere .


There is some science about this .
In a study of 323 major political conflicts from 1900 to 2006 , Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth found that nonviolent campaigns were almost 100 percent more likely to lead to success than violent campaigns .
Nonviolent campaigns are also less likely to cause physical harm to those waging the campaign , as well as their opponents .
And , critically , they typically lead to more peaceful and democratic societies .
In other words , nonviolent resistance is a more effective and constructive way of waging conflict .


But if that 's such an easy choice , why do n't more groups use it ?
Political scientist Victor Asal and colleagues have looked at several factors that shape a political group 's choice of tactics .
And it turns out that the greatest predictor of a movement 's decision to adopt nonviolence or violence is not whether that group is more left-wing or right-wing , not whether the group is more or less influenced by religious beliefs , not whether it 's up against a democracy or a dictatorship , and not even the levels of repression that that group is facing .
The greatest predictor of a movement 's decision to adopt nonviolence is its ideology regarding the role of women in public life .


( Applause )


When a movement includes in its discourse language around gender equality , it increases dramatically the chances it will adopt nonviolence , and thus , the likelihood it will succeed .


The research squared up with my own documentation of political organizing in Israel and Palestine .
I 've noticed that movements which welcome women into leadership positions , such as the one I documented in a village called Budrus , were much more likely to achieve their goals .
This village was under a real threat of being wiped off the map when Israel started building the separation barrier .
The proposed route would require the destruction of this community 's olive groves , their cemeteries and would ultimately enclose the village from all sides .
Through inspired local leadership , they launched a nonviolent resistance campaign to stop that from happening .
The odds were massively stacked against them .
But they had a secret weapon : a 15-year-old girl who courageously jumped in front of a bulldozer which was about to uproot an olive tree , stopping it .
In that moment , the community of Budrus realized what was possible if they welcomed and encouraged women to participate in public life .
And so it was that the women of Budrus went to the front lines day after day , using their creativity and acumen to overcome multiple obstacles they faced in a 10-month unarmed struggle .
And as you can probably tell at this point , they win at the end .


The separation barrier was changed completely to the internationally recognized green line , and the women of Budrus came to be known across the West Bank for their indomitable energy .


( Applause )


Thank you .


I want to pause for a second , which you helped me do , because I do want to tackle two very serious misunderstandings that could happen at this point .
The first one is that I do n't believe women are inherently or essentially more peaceful than men .
But I do believe that in today 's world , women experience power differently .
Having had to navigate being in the less powerful position in multiple aspects of their lives , women are often more adept at how to surreptitiously pressure for change against large , powerful actors .
The term `` manipulative , '' often charged against women in a derogatory way , reflects a reality in which women have often had to find ways other than direct confrontation to achieve their goals .
And finding alternatives to direct confrontation is at the core of nonviolent resistance .


Now to the second potential misunderstanding .
I 've been talking a lot about my experiences in the Middle East , and some of you might be thinking now that the solution then is for us to educate Muslim and Arab societies to be more inclusive of their women .
If we were to do that , they would be more successful .
They do not need this kind of help .
Women have been part of the most influential movements coming out of the Middle East , but they tend to be invisible to the international community .
Our cameras are largely focused on the men who often end up involved in the more confrontational scenes that we find so irresistible in our news cycle .
And we end up with a narrative that not only erases women from the struggles in the region but often misrepresents the struggles themselves .


In the late 1980s , an uprising started in Gaza , and quickly spread to the West Bank and East Jerusalem .
It came to be known as the First Intifada , and people who have any visual memory of it generally conjure up something like this : Palestinian men throwing rocks at Israeli tanks .
The news coverage at the time made it seem like stones , Molotov cocktails and burning tires were the only activities taking place in the Intifada .
This period , though , was also marked by widespread nonviolent organizing in the forms of strikes , sit-ins and the creation of parallel institutions .


During the First Intifada , whole sectors of the Palestinian civilian population mobilized , cutting across generations , factions and class lines .
They did this through networks of popular committees , and their use of direct action and communal self-help projects challenged Israel 's very ability to continue ruling the West Bank and Gaza .
According to the Israeli Army itself , 97 percent of activities during the First Intifada were unarmed .


And here 's another thing that is not part of our narrative about that time .
For 18 months in the Intifada , women were the ones calling the shots behind the scenes : Palestinian women from all walks of life in charge of mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people in a concerted effort to withdraw consent from the occupation .
Naela Ayesh , who strived to build a self-sufficient Palestinian economy by encouraging women in Gaza to grow vegetables in their backyards , an activity deemed illegal by the Israeli authorities at that time ; Rabeha Diab , who took over decision-making authority for the entire uprising when the men who had been running it were deported ; Fatima Al Jaafari , who swallowed leaflets containing the uprising 's directives in order to spread them across the territories without getting caught ; and Zahira Kamal , who ensured the longevity of the uprising by leading an organization that went from 25 women to 3,000 in a single year .
Despite their extraordinary achievements , none of these women have made it into our narrative of the First Intifada .


We do this in other parts of the globe , too .
In our history books , for instance , and in our collective consciousness , men are the public faces and spokespersons for the 1960s struggle for racial justice in the United States .
But women were also a critical driving force , mobilizing , organizing , taking to the streets .
How many of us think of Septima Clark when we think of the United States Civil Rights era ?
Remarkably few .
But she played a crucial role in every phase of the struggle , particularly by emphasizing literacy and education .
She 's been omitted , ignored , like so many other women who played critical roles in the United States Civil Rights Movement .


This is not about getting credit .
It 's more profound than that .
The stories we tell matter deeply to how we see ourselves , and to how we believe movements are run and how movements are won .
The stories we tell about a movement like the First Intifada or the United States Civil Rights era matter deeply and have a critical influence in the choices Palestinians , Americans and people around the world will make next time they encounter an injustice and develop the courage to confront it .
If we do not lift up the women who played critical roles in these struggles , we fail to offer up role models to future generations .
Without role models , it becomes harder for women to take up their rightful space in public life .
And as we saw earlier , one of the most critical variables in determining whether a movement will be successful or not is a movement 's ideology regarding the role of women in public life .


This is a question of whether we 're moving towards more democratic and peaceful societies .
In a world where so much change is happening , and where change is bound to continue at an increasingly faster pace , it is not a question of whether we will face conflict , but rather a question of which stories will shape how we choose to wage conflict .


Thank you .


( Applause )