Carpenter, Michael J. PLALESTINIAN POPULAR STRUGGLE: Unarmed and Participatory. 2019. Rutledge, London UK & New York, USA. ISBN 978-1-138-54239-6
Review and photo by Theresa Wolfwood
“This is a book about Palestinian traditions of popular struggle…”
“…Palestinian traditions of participatory organization challenge modern governance norms of large-scale organization.”
Carpenter’s in depth study of popular struggle in Palestine, mainly the West bank, is based on many months of research in Palestine and led to his doctoral thesis on which this book is based. Although complete with many references and foot notes, the passion of his subject comes through in the words of many Palestinian activists and the descriptions of their action in daily struggle.
He writes about how an enormous chunk of the Israeli apartheid wall was pulled down with simple machines and ingenuity. There are stories of how villagers responded to the wall cutting them off from their olive orchards, a matter of major importance; the olive is the foundation of Palestinian life.
The olive is the basis the economy, the culture, the way of life and is the symbol of the struggle. People, land and trees are inseparable in a country which the occupiers have destroyed or stolen more than one million olive trees. Planting new olive trees is an important part of the struggle. In spite of soldiers and settlers disturbing planters and uprooting seedlings, two million trees have been planted in the West Bank, some funded by international support which creates awareness beyond the global mass media’s concept of news. Whole villages are under attack by the occupier and the resistance movement uses many strategies to defend their lives and lands.
The author makes the point that this book is about Palestinians and only indirectly about the Israeli occupiers. The fact remains that Palestine has been brutally occupied by Israel for more than seventy years with my letting up today. It leaves us to seek the rationale for Canada, most of Europe, the USA and its client states to support the constant violation of human rights, international accords, and UN resolutions to support a small country of less than eight million full citizens. One pro-Palestinian Jewish activist form Jerusalem told me that the only logical explanation was that the USA needed a base in the Middle West as he called it, a land–based aircraft carrier, to exercise its imperial domination in this region and the world. Canada as always continues to support this position.
Palestinians are dedicated to their land, throughout this book are many personal accounts of persistent resistance. Palestine is home and they intend to stay and struggle. Their passion is expressed in this book. Groups of students, farmers, women, villagers and city professionals all contribute the struggle. Children learn to use cameras to record brutality of occupiers; some learn English to communicate with internationalists. Lawyers defend children in court while others provide support to their families. Some villages have won back some lands in court, Bil’in was in the forefront of popular resistance for years and had some lands restored by legal means in Israeli courts. In Carpenter’s book the words and actions of Palestinians inform and inspire us on many levels.
“…the popular struggle is when everyone is included” says on Palestinian.
If we believe that human rights and the international law apply to all, then we are part of this popular struggle.
Photos: Bil’in demonstrators confront armed soldiers; several activists have been killed there; olive tree planting; in Khan Al Ah mar, a village resists destruction now.2010 april to june EU pal jordan toronto 3292018 oct nov dec all lumix 082me farmer and gerds tree


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