Synopses & Reviews
The unexpected victory by Hamas in the Palestinian elections has once again thrown the Middle East peace process into turmoil. At this critical juncture there has never been a more crucial moment to publish this essential new history by renowned peace activist Mary Elizabeth King. In A Quiet Revolution, King argues that the first Palestinian intifada was characterized by a massive nonviolent social mobilization, rooted in popular committees, and often steered by women. These committees adopted ingenious and durable strategies that began to lead to political results--among them the beginnings of a negotiated settlement. King traces the tragic movement away from peaceful protest following the killing of four Palestinian laborers in Gaza and charts the PLOs increasing contempt for nonviolent struggle. She details the complicity of the media in this escalation of violence--television crews would not cover peaceful protests, but Palestinian boys throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers would always attract foreign camera crews. Drawing on the history of nonviolent movements--from the strategies of Martin Luther King Jr. in the American South, to the student uprising in the Balkans, to the Serbian activists who brought down Eduard Shevardnadze's regime in Georgia--King argues that it is only through nonviolent strategies that a negotiated peace can be achieved with Israel.
"'Ascholar of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, King contends that the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993) was explicitly peaceful from its inception. Stating that '[h]istory is often the narrative of wars, and military historians enjoy prestige, whereas the chronicling of how societies have achieved major accomplishments through nonviolent resistance is scant by comparison,' she draws on a wealth of documentary and statistical evidence to demonstrate that the Palestinians exercised remarkable restraint during the first years of the intifada. Tying together the threads of civil society, political mobilization and social change, she delivers a fascinating account of a nation in transition. In the occupied 'territories,' she argues, the Israeli military brutally repressed the 'wedging open of nongovernmental political space and development of institutions not under official purview' and deepened the Palestinians' desire for change. The closure of the educational institutions in the West Bank in 1988, for example, caused teachers and professors to return to their home villages, where they were quickly able to politicize uneducated people. While King may be faulted for ignoring the gradual return to violence that's characterized the situation in recent years, her book is essential reading for anyone interested in Mideastern peace. (Aug.)' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
In A Quiet Revolution, renowned civil rights activist Mary Elizabeth King questions the prevailing wisdom that the first Palestinian Intifada was defined by violence. She argues that initially, the uprising was characterized by a massive nonviolent social mobilization, rooted in popular committees often steered by women. These committees adopted strategies that began to lead to political results among them the beginnings of a negotiated settlement. King traces the tragic movement away from peaceful protest following the killing of four Palestinian laborers in Gaza, and charts the PLOs increasing contempt for nonviolent struggle. She details the complicity of the media in this escalation of violence TV crews would not cover peaceful protests, but Palestinian boys throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers would attract foreign cameras. King draws upon the history of non-violent movements and argues that only through nonviolent strategies can a negotiated peace be achieved with Israel. King believes that the residual knowledge of the power of nonviolent resistance from the first Intifada will provide the bedrock upon which to build this eventual, lasting peace.
About the Author
Mary Elizabeth King is an expert on Nonviolent Political Strategies and worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. as a student. She is a Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University for Peace of the UN, and a Distinguished Scholar at the American University Center for Global Peace in Washington, DC. She is the author of "Freedom Song" (which won the RFK Memorial Book Award) and "Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Power of Nonviolent Action." King lives in Washington, DC.