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Shadow Resistance … How does the ruled resort to the trick to resist tyranny?


In his book “The Slave Society”, the American writer “Albert Jordi Raputo” tells us one of the famous stories of racism against blacks during the era of the American Civil War, narrated by Mrs. “Mary Livermore”, who was a white nanny telling about her fellow black cook, “Age” Then she says that her colleague “Agi”, who was very polite and conservative in her words with her master, was surprised one day by this master beating her young daughter violently, after he accused her of theft.

Agi was standing helpless as she saw her daughter being severely beaten in front of her, but she was squeezing pain and frustration that soon blew her tongue out as soon as the master came out of the kitchen: “The day will come .. The day will come .. I hear the noise of the vehicles and I see the sparkles of guns , A day will come when the blood of the eggs will shed on the ground, and the dead will be heaped on each other, thus … Oh God, hasten the coming of that day when devastation, suffering, ashes and fire will fall on the heads of the eggs!

On this story, the American writer and sociologist James Scott comments, asking: “What would have happened to Ajy if she had said these words directly in front of the master?” Which may prompt us in our turn to ask him: Why did Aggie say her words only in the absence of the master? But it would seem a naive question if we know that another question deserves our attention, which is: Could this simple cook be just an angry cry, or does it bear an accurate depiction of the day of revenge that oppressed blacks have dreamed of for centuries?

From this conclusion, “Scott” proceeds in his book “Resistance by Ruse … How does the convict whisper behind the ruler’s back?” To analyze the hidden rhetoric of the oppressed and its effect on strengthening their sense of resistance and passing it on among them, and then addressing the forms and defensive mechanisms that protect their continuation from the oppression of tyrants, so what is the resistance with this trick? What are its pictures?

Scott believes that there is a pattern of resistance that uses trick and delusion in resisting it before violence and revolution, and that this pattern subjugates the relationship between the tyrannical ruler and the vanquished ruled to more than one discourse between them, so there is a face and there is a mask, and therefore each of them has two discourses: a declared speech and one Backdoor. As for the ruler, his declared speech flatteres his subjects, promising them and wishing them, because power does not rule alone, as Hitler says.[1]It is always in need of a discourse that contains the psychologically ruled and deludes them that power is in line with their interest, while hiding the authoritarian in his backyard.[*] Another speech between his peers and his entourage expresses his exploitation of this people and what he holds on the truth for them.

Likewise, the convicted person shall proceed; A declared revered speech to the ruler, in which he presents the obligations of loyalty and obedience, and another hidden speech completely different from his good and friendly speech, a speech in which these marginalized people practice their hidden resistance to the oppression of their rulers; This is because the practices of control and exploitation “usually lead to the generation of insults and insults to human dignity in a way that in turn generates a discreet discourse of feeling offended.”[2]This discourse does not depend on the directness and clarity on which the rhetoric of public is based that satisfies the ruler. Rather, its main consistency is camouflage, puns, and hiding behind metaphors and metaphors that the ruler cannot often decipher or punish their owners with clear crimes.

Thus concluded, “Scott” that the convict “lives something like a schism, or I am a double: I am real, and a fake one plays a role in the play of politics, so that the first rises by observing the performance of the second, and how effective it is in using the mask.” Suppression or narrowing of the safe space for the convicted. According to Scott, the convict is very careful to preserve the umbilical cord between the hidden speech and the public speech, because if it breaks it will pose a threat to his freedom, his job and perhaps his life. Nevertheless, the ruler is always looking for the hidden that appears in his folds, no matter what the condemned may have.[3].

Behind illusions and insinuations, winks and insinuations, jokes, songs, gossip, disguises, linguistic tricks, metaphors, euphemistic expressions, tales, ritual references, codes, and even myths, behind all this the hidden speech of the oppressed is fortified lest the ruler discover it, whether through his declared utterance. Or conventional intelligence. This fortification takes place through several means, including choosing places far from the ruler’s eye for gathering, camouflaging nearby places, or other material means, but the most important method – according to Silence – has always been to hide the speech in a way that only the resistance members are aware of. And that took many forms throughout the ages.

In his book “Sarcastic and Revolutionaries”, the researcher “Muhammad Husam al-Din” focused on one of the most famous patterns used in resistance through trickery: sarcasm, as he believes that the culture of resistance is not a condition that societies and peoples require under occupation only, but rather a socio-cultural condition that deals with All life affairs and attitudes, which is a very rich social resource in which societies preserve their freedom and public rights, protect justice and reform, and resist corruption and tyranny.[4]Or, in the words of a Jamaican slave: it is a “violent straight blow with a crooked stick.”[5].

Sarcasm – as he sees it – leads, by its quantitative accumulation, to the emergence of qualitative action in the form of resistance, which in turn turns into the paradoxical act of revolution. The satirical speech appeared – in this context – “an extension of the idea of ​​peaceful, non-violent resistance to political oppression, which is something that the Egyptian people used to resort to throughout its ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary history in the face of brutal authorities.”[6]. With this connection between the comedian and the tragic, “Sarcasm has always been an act of rebellion, allowing the serious attitude to find its place in the heart of the sarcastic situation, funny and crying at the same time.”[7].

This is confirmed by the researcher “Menna Allah Al-Hariri”, who describes this matter with the genius of coding. Symbols made by the cynical opponent “carry the true opinion that he wants to say, or put her hand on what should be corrected,” and then he resorts to coding to cover his opinion “with linguistic masks. Or caricature or any form, through its intelligence in exploiting the available to penetrate the unavailable, and employing the permitted access to the forbidden and forbidden areas. ” All this is to embarrass “the authority that expanded the area of ​​the forbidden … Hence, sarcasm does not only include providing sufficient space for the repressed to appear and resist external pressures, but also includes intelligence in the way it appears.”[8].

The Egyptian researcher added that the first characteristic of political satire is that it is politically directed, as it differs from the mockery intended to make people laugh and daily harassment of living conditions. This is what the writer Ghassan Kanafani said about this type of irony, which he summarized very eloquently as it is not “a naive tactic about the appearances of things, but rather it resembles a special kind of deep analysis.”[9], It carries content related to the existing order and politics in one country or another.

Moreover, according to Hariri, this mockery avoids restrictions, overcomes obstacles and opens doors for joy that were closed without us, in addition to being more flexible in spreading and trading in the medium that believes in its content and wants to take a safer path, due to its concealment and the difficulty of surrounding it, it seeks because Remains its appearance that can be held accountable within the framework of permissible law; That is, it is the open text that can be interpreted in more than one direction, according to the recipient. Also, this style exposes the tyrant and does not make him fearless[10]This is an end to the resistance in and of itself.

In the context of his response to a question: Why was literary creativity in the sixties in Egypt more abundant than in the seventies, even though the margin of freedom during the latter was greater, and literature needed a free climate? Naguib Mahfouz said: “The creative people in the seventies were free to say whatever they want in their conversations and articles, which is what benefited their creative side, as there were no challenges in front of them like the ones that existed in the sixties, which led to the completion of creative works, including the symbols they contain. And projections to express what they want. “[11].

That answer leads us to the question: Does literary creativity need freedom, or its opposite ?! Mahfouz’s answer – as the writer Ammar Hassan sees it – presents literature as a kind of resistance by means of the oppression that the authority exerts on the masses, or a field for the intellectual to vent about what he has in his conscience towards the authority and which he cannot say directly for fear of accountability.

Then he resorts to symbolism, changing the features of the characters, adding some imagination to the events, or “returning to heritage facts and projecting them to the present in a fictional dress, or making a hero rescuer who jumps over the deteriorating reality and takes people to a better society, so that his resistance is safer in the face of laws.” Because the resistance with ruse faces humiliation, deprivation and insults by developing hidden cultures that promise a better future. Here literature becomes a form of resistance through trickery, especially when it wraps around the symbol, and avoids directness.[12].

As the irony, literature derives its power from the difficulty of controlling it, and according to Berthold Brecht, “political power cannot seize creative works as well as factories, nor can literary expressions be appropriated just as licenses and permits are seized.” In the end, literature is a type of discourse that conveys the discourse of authority, in the context of the space in which the authority of knowledge is resisting, with all its components presented by the French thinker Michel Foucault, the material authority that presses in the direction of subjecting man to its logic and interests.[13].

Every true literary text, in the words of “Adonis”, is like “war or attack.”[14]; If the task of the resistance “is to explode and change the political and economic reality, then the task of the revolutionary Arab poet is to explode the prevailing language (culture – values) system and change it.”[15]. The resistance, as the writer “Siham Abu Al-Omreen” sees it.[16]It is an existential act related to the human struggle for survival and preservation of himself and his identity in the face of the dangers facing him, and that this struggle is what sharpened the human mind to create the arts.

You also see that these arts are the means by which the first man circumvented his fears. The age of resistance is from the life of man over the simple, it is in the nature of a free person, and one of his basic features that is not detached from him naturally, so man involuntarily resists any hostile behavior towards him by taking his spontaneous positions to defend himself and those around him, so whoever has lost his resistance and surrenders to the other as if he has lost his honor And his humanity[17]; Even if that resistance was just a ploy that the oppressed would hide behind.



  • Back Garden: a term for the Secret Realm; Where it is practiced things are desirable to hide.


  1. Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action .
  2. James Scott, Resistance by Ruse … How the ruled whisper from behind the ruler.
  3. Saeed Al Salmi, the soft rebellion in light of the thesis of the American political scientist James Scott.
  4. Muhammad al-Hamamsi, the satirical speech is an extension of the idea of ​​peaceful, non-violent resistance to political oppression.
  5. James Scott, Resistance by Ruse … How the ruled whisper from behind the ruler.
  6. Muhammad Husam al-Din, cynics and revolutionaries.
  7. Muhannad Najjar, satire as political resistance.
  8. Saif Abdel Fattah, in sarcasm, the tyrant.
  9. Ghassan Kanafani, Faris Faris.
  10. Saif Abdel Fattah, in sarcasm, the tyrant.
  11. Ammar Hassan, political fraud in the Arab heritage.
  12. Ammar Hassan, Political Authority and Literature .. What is the relationship between them?
  13. Same source.
  14. Adonis, a time of poetry.
  15. Same source.
  16. Siham Abu Al-Amreen, literature and resistance.
  17. Same source.

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