Resistance at its core lies in how people resist an oppressor. Through centuries and across continents, forms of resistance varied from cultural to civil disobedience. Despite the diversity in techniques, peaceful methods were never regarded. In fact, they were met with violence. This makes us wonder how the world reacted whenever they have heard of a rebellion, a revolution, or a form of resistance against an ongoing force of power. A force of power that was seemingly thought to have become the norm of life.
Palestine, for 75 years, has been facing a form of brutal occupation that adeptly works on erasing the history of the land and the nation. The atrocious oppression varies from continuous massacres to forming an Apartheid state in which natives are deprived of their basic rights. In fact, such segregation meant a lack of good healthcare, education, and job opportunities. the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of native Palestinians in Gaza is a brief example of this form of occupation.
Israel banned the Palestinian flag, so Palestinians held up the Watermelon as its colors represented the flag of Palestine. When natives were expelled from their homes, they took their house keys in hopes of returning in a week or two, but that never happened. When the occupation burned their olive farms, Palestinians replanted the seeds. Such Peaceful figures of resistance weren’t the only side of it. In fact, the first and the second Intifada were also faced with violent oppression. The Palestinian resistance is then consequently illustrated in the global mind as aggressive, destructive, and antagonistic, consistently painted as terroristic.
Looking back, the story of such an occupation is not the first of its own; in another period of history, Korea faced a colonial occupation. They also tried to viciously obliterate their nation for 35 years. Korean language and history were excluded from schools, and replaced by Japanese, with Japanese names forced upon them. Korea’s agriculture became Japan’s seeds of industrial development. Women were forced to offer sexual services to the military during the Pacific War. Men and women were forced to work in mines and factories. Accordingly, the resistance of Korea was witnessed through the formation of numerous covert organizations such as The Korean Liberation Corps, and Joseon National Sovereignty Restoration Group.
Looking at a photo of a Korean lady holding a sign, “Koreans for Palestine, our own resistance against Japanese occupation was once called Terrorism”, makes us contemplate the many times resistance was marked as an act of terror.
Then again the strategy and techniques may vary but the storyline is still the same. South Africa’s long brutal struggle, from Apartheid to democracy, has also faced unbearable loss. The brawl was illustrated in the difficulties faced by the indigenous people starting with their lack of rights as natives as opposed to the British immigrants. The segregation and slavery were rooted in this form of occupation as white settlers treated black natives inhumanly while overtaking the countries’ natural resources and claiming them as their own. Restrictive movements were demonstrated as “colored” natives weren’t allowed to enter urban areas except only during working hours. They also suffered from a lack of nutrition and health care.
It was in the 1950s when they started protesting as the African National Congress initiated the Defiance Campaign of nonviolent protests. They boycotted white businesses and stopped working, which was met with brutality. However, after the Sharpeville massacre of peaceful protestors, the resistance was then escalated to an armed one. The African Resistance Movement violence led to the government surrendering and aimed to turn the white settlers against their own government too.
Moving across the continent and through time, just up North, Egypt became the Orient’s gateway to European invaders. Britain claimed they were protecting their financial interests in Egypt, so the British occupied Egypt. The occupation used the people to achieve financial gain. The greed of producing Egyptian cotton did affect the food industry, leaving a hole in meeting the usual demands. The occupation committed horrific massacres, especially in Upper Egypt. This escalated the resistance from boycotting and protests to revolutions and armed resistance groups. 74 years of occupation that painted a canvas of a weak, lost, and misguided Egypt.
Close to the land of Pharaohs, another European power was also playing the role of the occupier. The French brutally occupied Algeria for over a century. The crimes committed back then must be investigated, condemned, and brought to justice. The French occupation thumbprint is observed through their massacres, genocide, and rape, but most viciously in the nuclear experiments conducted in The Sahara. The resistance solidly started from the beginning till the end. As the story timeline goes, the peaceful protesting and boycotting was always the beginning to be set later in the form of protests, revolutions, and armed resistance forces.
On the other side of the globe, the white settlers set their foot on the Australian land, and as soon as they were faced with the Aboriginals, violent confrontations started. Adding to the continuous violence, being faced with diseases and unethical crimes, the Aboriginals lost a lot of their clans, and their lands. The double-barrelled shotguns, rifles, and carbines were used against spears, spear throwers, and shields. They were represented as inhuman, barbaric, and uncivilized creatures by the West. Today, the Aboriginals constitute 3.3% of Australia. Some of them still hold on to their clan. Half of them live under dire conditions, on the outskirts working in ranches that took over their lands.
Another minority across the globe did not forget its bruised history, the indigenous Americans. The richly populated North America witnessed the transformation of friendship calls and public negotiations to deceit and forced settlements. They faced genocide, starvation, and relentless violence as the blood shed for perseverance and resistance. Over a century, boarding schools were an obligation for native descendant children as they were removed from their communities to assimilate into Western culture. Along with social and legal challenges, today most of them live in large cities, and the other half are said to live on federal reservations.
In the end, “time is relative” stated Einstein. Time is relative to your frame of reference. Maybe that explains why 35 years, 75 years, or even 132 years of occupation was not enough. Why it was not enough to forge the identity of the land through time?. The frame of reference is still the same land.
Seemingly time is rushing and the years are passing by under an occupation. But, the resistance of the land and the people are rushing at the speed of light. To the people of the land, for time to be true again, liberation was the answer. Life means liberation liberation is resistance, and resistance is life.