The growing number of people, who are visiting our website, shows that many people are longing for a direction in the present situation to realize peace, a better world for all the people. You want an end of the ruling elite and get a government chosen by you in your way.
First of all I have to tell you something about Arab generation of peace. I am the manager of this organization, which started with the Hip Hopper Hajj. The texts of his first album you can find them on this website. I am a Dutch Franciscan friar living in a monastery beside the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, safe behind the wall unless the Israeli army enters Bethlehem since September 2003. A year before I was already in Bethlehem during the time of curfews.
I realize that I have not direct experience which what it is going in the Arab world now, especially in Egypt beside Yemen and Tunisia and other countries, though I was several times in Egypt. It means that what I write has a limited value. Nevertheless I have to write something.
We have to think on two levels: first what makes sense now in this situation and second what to do for the long run. For the first level, there is the problem that people are already moving because of expensive food, unemployment and lack of perspectives on a better future. This movement can’t be stopped. It is even difficult to steer people in whatever direction. People are fed up. There are organizations which do their job of mobilizing people against the present rulers. They are important, because they have worked for a long time for a change. Now they feel that they have the chance to realize their dream for a change. The most difficult point is that it is hard to oversee what is the best for tomorrow and translate the feelings and experiences of ordinary people into meaningful actions. But it could be powerful and helpful to take time for common prayers as it is the habit in Islam. It can help to attract allies among citizens and army, because it shows that the resistance against the rulers is peaceful. Maybe you need people who can protect the people, who are praying. But remain alert on violence against peaceful people.
Here there is a core notion: how to deal with violence. Violence provokes easily violence. Violence is in favor of the ruling party, because they use it as an excuse to continue their power. It is like the choice between me or the chaos. The threat of chaos means that it is important to organize yourself. I think that the best way is to organize you from local level upwards, starting at the level of neighborhoods. Representatives on the level of neighborhoods can organize them on a level which with you can reach a larger group of people like a village, town or a suburb of a city. The main approach is non-violent and protection against violence. For this you have to oversee from which points in the city or town it is difficult to protect you against violence. With a number of people you can try to control these points. From there on you can demonstrate more safely.
Organize leaders who can take over the power. Then the present rulers have no excuse as if chaos is threatening. Organize protection of the leaders. In this way leaders have always contact with ordinary people in order to avoid the trap ton think they know what is necessary, separated from the people. Main issue is to build up a network of people who you can trust; this is not easy at all.
Soon I will write more about the second level.
Louis Bohte, Bethlehem