My first painting of 2024. This was inspired by the double-standard around violence, not just in Israel's occupation and destruction of Palestine, but also in the 'monopoly of violence' that is held by states, police, militaries, and intelligence agencies, which allows politicians and commentators to claim that "violence is never the answer" when referring to a regular person defending themselves against a police attack, punching a Nazi in the street, or pushing a cream pie into a politician or CEO's face; but which also allows them to not flinch at the application of unimaginable levels of cruel, and even sadistic, violence as long as the people inflicting that violence wear the correct uniform.
The threshold for what constitutes violence is also far lower when the charge is levelled at the general public, rather than those with power. After the overturning of Roe V Wade by the US Supreme Court, when pro-choice activists were peacefully protesting outside the homes of judges, President Biden said "No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence in any form regardless of your rationale." Implying that a protest was intimidation, and that intimidation was a form of violence.
A quote of "Violence is never acceptable" from the commander in chief of the most powerful military in the history of the world, and a nation that has been at war for all but eighteen of its 247-year existence, also comes preloaded with its own punchline.
This tweet from Aaron Bady on twitter has stayed with me, "The basic (colonial) double standard of the Israel Palestine "conflict" is that any Palestinian violence justifies any Israeli violence, but no Israeli violence ever justifies any Palestinian violence, and once you see it, you'll never stop seeing it."
He continued, "(personally, I think the idea that anything "justifies violence" is a basic category error; violence is, definitionally, unjust. It sometimes be the least-bad, least cursed choice on offer, but justice is the absence of violence, not the correct application of it.)"
This is absolutely spot on in my view.