Pundits Waiting for a Palestinian Gandhi? Meet Khader Adnan
February 18, 2012For years prominent corporate media pundits have told us that the world -- and the media -- would embrace a dramatic, non-violent Palestinian resistance movement. If only such a movement -- perhaps led by a Gandhi-like figure -- were to finally emerge, we are told, the media coverage will come, and sympathy from across the world will strengthen support for the Palestinian cause.
This is nonsense -- there has been non-violent Palestinian resistance for years. But that fact hasn't stopped pundits like Time's Joe Klein, as recently as last year, from wondering why Palestinians haven't found their Gandhi. Or New York Times columnist Tom Friedman from writing a column (5/24/11) arguing that if Palestinians would simply adopt peaceful resistance, "it would become a global news event. Every network in the world would be there."
Or consider New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, writing (7/10/10) under the headline "Waiting for Gandhi," that if Palestinians would finally pursue nonviolent resistance, "Those images would be on televisions around the world."
"So far there is no Palestinian version of Martin Luther King Jr.," Kristof wrote -- though he singled out one possible candidate, activist Ayed Morrar, who "spent six years in Israeli prisons but seems devoid of bitterness."
Perhaps that is the standard -- jailed by the Israelis, but not bitter.
But what about someone, right now, resisting Israeli detention practices? Someone whose hunger strike is attracting attention around the world? That is Khader Adnan. As Ali Abunimah tells his story:
The 33-year-old Palestinian baker, husband, father and graduate student has refused food since December 18, a day after he was arrested in a nighttime raid on his family home by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank. He has lost over 40 kgs and his wife Randa and young daughters have described his appearance as "shocking." Adnan, whom Israel says is a member of Islamic Jihad, was given a four-month "administrative detention" order by the Israeli military -- meaning that he is held without being charged for any crime or trial, a practice continued by Israel that dates back to British colonial days.The pundits who tell us that they crave a dramatic nonviolent Palestinian narrative can write the story of Khader Adnan, who has drawn comparisons to celebrated Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands.
But they are not writing his story. His plight is sparsely covered in the U.S. corporate media, and would seem to go unmentioned by these pundits who seem eager to tell stories like his.
It might lead one to believe that Friedman and his ilk don't really mean what they write.