When people see a helpless person, you often try to defend them from the injustices and cruelties that they are facing. Civil disobedience is justified when you are defending the innocent and the oppressed people of this world who cannot assist themselves, it is the righteous choice to make. Martin Luther King Jr had said that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” MLK is the man who had stood up and said no to the racism and segregation that the African Americans faced in America. He had been championing for the basic and fundamental human rights that the African Americans were so greatly deprived of. This essay will aim to target and discuss some of the many inequities that occur in Middle Eastern countries, sometimes by a foreign government or their own nation. Yasser Arafat is the face of the Palestinian struggle against the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. He was the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 1969-2004. The PLO was created with the purpose of the “liberation of Palestine” through armed struggle. However, the rebellion of the armed Palestinians that intention of achieving their homeland back from the occupiers was unlawful and an act of “terrorism” to many in Israel, and around the world. They were two major uprising the against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the First and Second Intifadas (uprising or shaking off.) The PLO used civil disobedience for a virtuous cause, which was to try and free the oppressed Palestinians from the Israelis’ harsh and unforgiving grasp of their homeland. Ali al-Nimr was just 17 years old when he was arrested for illegally protesting against the Saudi government. He was sentenced to crucifixion, which means publicly displaying the body after death, usually as a warning to others in Saudi Arabia. He was given this cruel sentence for participation in an pro-democracy, illegal demonstration during the Arab Spring. It is illegal to protest, let alone say a ill word towards the monarchy. He had many offenses against him, including “explaining how to give first aid to protestors” and using his blackberry to invite others to join him at the protest. Ali al-Nimr spoke out against the horrendous regime of the Saudi monarchy and broke many laws, however he had stood up in opposition to his repressive and dictatorial government. Muntadhar al-Zaidi was an Iraqi journalist who is well known for his defiant act, which was throwing a shoe at former President Bush at a press conference.  As he threw the first shoe he yelled “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog.” “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq,” he shouted as he threw his second shoe. Al-Zaidi could have being charged with insulting a foreign leader and the Iraqi prime minister. He risked being prison, or maybe even being killed to denounce the illegal occupation and “liberation.” He knew the risks that he and his family night face, but voiced and stood with his beliefs nonetheless. As I conclude, my main examples supporting my arguments included the PLO, Ali al-Nimr, and  Muntadhar al-Zaidi. They are many stories out there like these men, people breaking laws to fight backward ways to protect and serve something more greater than themselves. Protecting the ones who need protection isn’t a choice, it is our duty as humans. As the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Husayn ibn Ali had once said “Those who are silent when others are oppressed are guilty of oppression themselves.”

Author