Two small children together hold a sign to protest the
destruction of their school. Rows of men and women block the path
of Israeli bulldozers from turning their farms into rubble. A
slogan on a cloth reads, “Peace needs bridges not
These were scenes of Palestinian nonviolent resistance that are
disturbingly absent in the media’s portrayal of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pro-Palestinian activist Radhika
Sainath, a member of the International Solidarity Movement, a
campaign to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank through
nonviolent means, spoke last night to students about her 11-month
experience and her efforts to aid Palestinian resistance in
Using photographs she took of her experiences, Sainath came to
the University to illustrate and comment on the major nonviolent
resistance movement in the West Bank, a movement she says most
Americans are completely unaware of.
“I want to show students the reality you don’t see
in the U.S. media,” she said.
Upon her arrival in October 2002, Sainath said she was amazed
when she witnessed Palestinians’ nonviolent resistance toward
“I was not expecting Palestinians to rise up in nonviolent
resistance. But a lot of village leaders would talk to me about
Gandhi,” she said.
In one experience, Sainath said she joined villagers and
protested the potential destruction of a Palestinian high school by
surrounding a bulldozer, and blocking its path. While they were
successful in stopping the bulldozer, she said they were only met
with threats from the Israeli authority to cease any future
Still, Sainath said villagers took on other methods to protest
the bulldozing by having school children write slogans on walls
such as, “Let me learn peacefully,” and “Stop
These attempts at peaceful protest are not only gradually
becoming effective in preventing the encroachment of Palestinian
land, Sainath said, but they have also spurred entire communities
to mobilize against Israeli authorities.
“Women were excited to join in; they felt like they were
getting control of their lives,” she said.
Sainath added that she participated in many other nonviolent
protests as a part of the major nonviolent movement currently under
way by many Palestinians.
The majority of the resistance is non-violent and not through
terrorist attacks, she said, but the media ignores this, and as a
consequence alters Americans’ view of Palestinians.
“Look past the media and realize that maybe what you are
seeing is just not true,” she said.
Sainath then urged students to pressure the American government
in acting against the Israeli occupation.
For students, the event brought a deeper perspective to the
LSA senior Amar Daswani said the event opened his mind.
“It was on a personal level, a different perspective.
That’s not necessarily reflected in the mainstream
media,” he added.
University alum Nidhi Singhal added a similar remark by saying
current media coverage is biased. “In general I don’t
think the mainstream media gives the full truth. Things they cover
are very political. They are always exposed to one side for
Although it is an international organization, International
Solidarity Movement has chapters in five U.S. states, including