Im just reading Zizek's new book "Living in the end times," and he makes a very interesting point about Jesus' words about turning the other cheek. It seems that Jewish listeners 2000 years ago would have heard these words very differently and much more complexly than we might hear them. Jesus mentions the right cheek first for a legal reason. To give someone a backhanded slap - as most people are right handed, a backhanded slap will be to the right cheek - was considered a terrible lowering of the status of that person, and a claim of higher status on the part of the person doing the slapping. In Jewish law of the time, a slap to the face was due two different levels of compensation. The compensation due for a backhanded slap was twice that of a slap with the palm of the hand, i.e. to the left cheek. (Even today, we talk of backhanded behaviour as being particularly bad.)
So, when Jesus offers the left cheek too, he is saying something quite complex. He is saying: You consider yourself so much higher than me, but, here is my left cheek too, if you slap it you are admitting that you are not so much above me as your backhanded slap would suggest.
As Zizek puts it:
"Behind the mask of submissive non-resistance, the gesture of "turning the other cheek" thus defiantly provokes the other to treat me as equal, an equal who, as equal, has the right to defend himself and strike back."
Reading these words, I was reminded of the Blanket Men and, later, the Hunger Strikers. They suffered the backhanded slaps of British state power - and the kicks and punches too. In doing so they made British state power admit that it is not the working of "democracy," sitting high above the Irish terrorists, but is, in fact, the naked brute force of terror itself. British state power is the very terrorism that it tries to look down on. British law is crime universalised. In this admission, the British state admitted that the Irish nation has the right to strike back and defend itself.