I’m over non-violence, as a political philosophy. Advocating non-violent resistance to injustice is either a luxury or something that’s undertaken by those who have superhuman tolerance for violent oppression.
It is a crime in Saudi Arabia for unmarried men and women to mix. A Saudi religious policeman (representing the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) busted a 20-something couple for being together in a park in Al-Mubarraz recently, and got a righteous beat down in return–from the woman.
“For unknown reasons, the young man collapsed upon being questioned by the cop,” according to The Jerusalem Post. That strikes me as a little odd, and I suspect it could be code for “knocked out with a baton.” But anyway, the woman let it rip on the religious policeman, hitting him repeatedly and leaving him to be taken to the hospital for the resulting bruises. Should the woman be charged, she could face a lengthy prison term as well as lashings for assaulting a government representative.
Because crushing daily oppression is an abstraction rather than a reality for most of them, some feminists felt torn about this story. See: this comment thread on Jezebel. I’m annoyed Katy even used the words “While we don’t usually condone violence …” in her post. Over and over people whisper “Violence is always wrong, but …” before they dare express support for–or pride in–this brave woman.
IT’S OKAY! Depending on what really happened to her companion, this burst of oh-so-terrible violence could have been self-defense. I don’t particularly care, because I am not conflicted about the oppressed using violent force to overthrow their oppressors. More often than not, it is the only thing they understand. In the case of this woman, I am not conflicted about the oppressed exploding with violent rage at her oppressor after one too many boots have stepped on her neck. I don’t know if this woman’s actions will spark a rebellion or if it’s just an isolated incident I read about online. I do know not everyone is privileged enough to sit around quoting Gandhi at people in situations like the one women in Saudi are facing.