Discussion on “The role of non-violent resistance in the conflict and Palestinian State Building” with Dr. Mustafa Barghuthi



On January 23rd 2019 Dr. Mustafa Barghuthi, General Secretary of al-Mubadara, delivered a keynote speech on the importance of non-violent resistance for state building in Palestine which was followed by a discussion with the audience. The event in Ramallah was hosted by FES that included a reception for their partners, friends and supporters.

Dr. Mustafa Barghuthi, General Secretary of al-Mubadara, is known for his outspoken stance on non-violent resistance as an effective and important tool for state building in Palestine. As he explains, throughout history many successful examples of non-violent resistance can be found all around the world like Ghandi’s Indian independence movement who fought against British rule by nonviolent civil disobedience or Nelson Mandela who brought down the Apartheid regime. Of course, experiences and models of non-violent resistance and liberation cannot be transferred or reproduced directly from one country to another. Each nation needs to find its own way to operationalize the idea of non-violence as a form of resistance and expression of political discontent.

In the lively discussion following questions were raised whether non-violence might in fact just be a euphemism of synonym for passivity or even conformation to which Dr. Barghuthi countered that non-violent resistance is by no means passive or ineffective just because it does not require violence and armed struggles. As he explains, even setting up a popular blood-bank or organizing schooling in private homes in times when public schools cannot operate is a form of resistance. In fact, activism is the core of non-violent resistance as the civil society actively seeks out alternatives to arms and violence to take care of each other and effectively make their voiced heard. It unites people as everyone is allowed to participate not just a small group of people. This is what makes non-violent resistance even more effective.