This comparative study of the resistance behavior between the Palestinians and Chinese Uyghurs delineates the commonalities of the two case studies in terms of circumstances and resistance behavior, while creating its research puzzle from their differences of the latter. The research question asks what explains the variation in resistance behavior between the two groups given their similarities.
The study analyses the commonalities and differences of resistance behavior with regards to a "resistance spectrum", starting with 'frames' ("How is the conflict framed?"), continuing with an investigation of the non-violent forms of action-based resistance (poetry, songs, protests, etc.), concluding with an analysis of the violent forms of resistance. The study relies upon four different theories in its hypotheses' development in order to test different variables for explaining the research puzzle.
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Daniel James Schuster was born in Linz, Austria, in 1986. He completed his BA studies in Philosophy at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz in 2013. In 2006/2007 he was an Austrian Holocaust Memorial Servant at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial site.
Chapter 3. Empirical Background to the Case Studies:
The empirical background review of both the Palestinians and Uyghurs proceeds as follows-: first a brief general introduction to the resistance history, followed by an outline of the resistance types, with a separate section for each: ideational resistance (passive non-violent resistance; the framing of the respective conflict within the discourse of the group as found in the literature), active 'covert' and 'overt' non-violent resistance, and violent resistance.
a.) Palestinian Resistance Behavior:
1. Brief general introduction to the Palestinian resistance movement:
The Palestinians are Arabs living in Palestine or descendants of those who trace themselves back to Arabs who lived in Palestine prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. In the tumultuous context of the creation of this state, climaxed by the Arab countries' declared war against Israel, many Arabs of Palestine fled their homes, resulting in large waves of Palestinian refugees. Emerging victorious from the confrontation, Israel extended its territory to the borders of the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- territories occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively. Following the Six D-ay War of 1967, Israel occupied these two territories and the Sinai Peninsula after defeating the Arab armies militarily. Already before 1967 but particularly since then, nationalism waxed significantly amongst the Palestinians, and calls for an independent state and a withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories became increasingly frequent, vocal and international over time. Simultaneously, Palestinian resistance increasingly coalesced into a social movement and a 'national cause' amongst most of Palestinian society, and thus the history of resistance against Israeli occupation has unfolded. As a social movement and in terms of organizational scope as well as violent activities, this resistance twice peaked in intensity during the two intifadas, in 1987 - 1993 and 2000 - 2005. Even though the Palestinians have resisted the occupation in certain ways on a daily basis ever since it started, the resistance activities during the two intifadas increased manifold in terms of type, frequency, sophistication and lethality. The resistance types ranged from ideational resistance in the form of descriptions of the conflict situation (by invoking certain frames that will be explored), to nonviolent activities, such as songs, public speeches, protests, and mass -noncooperation, to acts of violence, such as stone throwing or suicide attacks. Until today Palestinian resistance has not yet achieved its stated goal -- an independent Palestinian state or the dismantlement of Israel as a Jewish state -- although several lesser objectives have been reached. Most significantly, the recognition of the PLO as the legitimate political representative of the Palestinian people, as a result of the Oslo Accords following the first intifada, marked a milestone in the Palestinian history of resistance.
2. Ideational resistance:
The significant role of frames in social movements is well established and has led to the emergence of the so-called framing theory within the social movement theory. On a basic level, frames are understood to be "schemata of interpretation" that enable social movement adherents "to locate, perceive, identify, and label" incidences in their lives and the world. According to framing theory, frames are significant as they identify the problem, attribute the locus of blame, define the scope and sphere of influence of the conflict demarcation lines, and the strength thereof. In the case of the Palestinians a set of frames have been identified that have existed for a long period of time in the public discourse.
According to Wolfsfeld, the Palestinians have, on a broad view, resorted to regarding, interpreting and promoting occurrences of the conflict through the lenses of an "injustice" and "defiance" frame, while Israelis tend towards a "law and "order" frame. This means that Palestinians perceive, select, interpret, promote and justify acts in terms of "injustice and defiance," the Israelis in terms of the rule of law and security. Wolfsfeld also devised a "signature matrix to operationalize both frames" on the basis of metaphors, stereotyping, lexical choices and visual images that capture frames that are applied for the purpose of "labelling of individuals, leaders and groups; labeling of actions; personalization of victims; sources; and content of visual images." The following matrix provides an overview of frames applied within the discourse about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on both sides, offered by Deprez and Raeymaeckers on the basis of contributions from Wolfsfeld, Gamson and Lasch and von Gorp. [.].
For the purpose of this paper we will limit ourselves to the frames employed by the Palestinians and ignore the Israeli frames. Several points need be highlighted: First, in the context of resistance Palestinians have perceived Israelis as occupiers ever since the 1967 war. They strongly conceptualize their relation with the Israelis as an "occupied and occupier" relation. In a broader historical and global context, they tend also to view Israelis as colonizers and imperialists, by implication an extension of "the West." In particular, organizations influenced by Marxist thinking posit the case in such terms, exemplified by, for example, the following claim: "The arch-enemy was 'imperialism' of which 'the Zionist entity' was only one aggressive spearhead".
Second, such historical-political frames have been conjoined with metaphorical ones, such as the 'cancer' and 'David and Goliath' frames, as mentioned in the table above. As Becker points out, Yasser Arafat, for example, in his magazine The Voice of Palestine, featured writing "[f]ull of polemics and promises to fight 'the Zionist entity, the cancer in our midst, the agent of imperialism'" (emphasis added).
Third, a whole new set of frames regarding Israelis became prominent with the emergence of Hamas and its religious peers (although to some extent the same already existed long before). Frames labeling Israelis as 'infidels,' 'enemies of Islam,' and calling for "an adherence to the Islamic vision of holy war (jihad) against Israel" have dominated the Hamas discourse and make up the core of its ideology. This is evident, for example, from the organization's charter, published in 1988, which states in Article 1: "The Movement's programme is Islam. From it, it draws its ideas, ways of thinking and understanding of the universe, life and man. It resorts to it for judgement in all its conduct, and it is inspired by it for guidance of its steps." The charter too makes frequent use of the labels 'infidels' and 'enemies of Islam,' as well as containing references to colonialism and imperialism. Edwards and Farrell summarize as follows: "Hamas's credo can be defined simply as 'Islam is the solution.' It offers an Islamic solution to the conflict with Israel, wrapped itself in the twin banners of religion and nationalism".
3. Active non-violent covert and overt resistance:
In 1984, three years before the outbreak of the first intifada, Mubarak Awad, the founder of the Palestinian Centre for Nonviolence, provided six reasons why for the Palestinians "the most effective strategy is one of non-violence," ranging from a lack of arms and other resources to the inability of the military branch of the PLO as well as the neighboring Arab states to take up armed struggle with Israel. In that article he elaborated on the meaning of, and provided the rationale for, nine different methods of non-violent struggle: demonstrations, obstructions, refusal to cooperate, harassment, boycotts, strikes, support and solidarity, alternative institutions, and civil disobedience.
History shows that the Palestinians have engaged in all these forms of non-violent resistance, particularly but not only during the intifadas. Mazin Qumsiyeh, for example, in his book "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment," argues that Palestinians have a long history of resistance "dating back to the times of the Ottoman rule up until today's BDS movement." Like many others, this book too bemoans the fact that the Palestinian intifadas have been largely portrayed as violent resistance movements, whereas, except in parts of the second intifada, non-violent resistance was the norm and violence was the exception.
Before addressing the various forms of resistance advocated by Mubarak Awad in greater detail, let's look at a particular form of Palestinian resistance employing more subtle means: poetry, storytelling and fiction. Mahmoud Darwish, one of the most famous Palestinian poets, was a member of the PLO and wrote poetry containing political messages and advocacy. He certainly did not hate Jews as such, although he clearly expressed resistance in his poetry, which "transmits icons and images to a much larger audience when they are sung by popular singers," as he "freely borrows "'popular cultural heritage,' imagery, and even popular rhymes within them." What is important for our purposes is to consider the level of directness/explicitness -- the 'vocality' -- of his poetry.
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