Join us as we welcome Jonathan Kuttab to speak about his memoir along with special guest Mubarak Awad. Jonathan Kuttab is a co-founder of Nonviolence International, a Palestinian Human Rights lawyer-and Christian pacifist. In this marvelous memoir, he takes us on a personal journey from anger and thoughts of violence to his deep commitment to unrelenting peaceful activism. Be forewarned: This is not the journey of a starry-eyed idealist. It’s a true life story of a man who has witnessed violence, terrible injustice, suffering and heart-wrenching losses. 3 of the chapters are devoted to nonviolence and the work of his cousin Mubarak Awad who will also be joining the book launch. After discussion of his book we will transition into talking about nonviolence and the future of Palestinians and Israelis today.
Jonathan will be joined by NVI founder, Mubarak Awad. Mr. Awad is an adjunct professor at the American University in Washington, DC at the School of International Studies. He focuses on promoting peace dialogue and transforming post-conflict societies, as well as teaching graduate courses on the methods and theory of nonviolence. Recently, we celebrate the first ever Mubarak Awad Day. Check out this page for inspirational comments from people who have been influenced by his work. https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/mubarak_awad_day
Hosted by: Dr. Maia Carter Hallward is a full professor at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, USA, in the School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding, and Development and Executive Editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. Maia has published widely in the fields of international relations, civil resistance, and international conflict management, including textbooks on International Conflict Management (2019, Routledge) and Nonviolence (2015, Polity). A former intern at Nonviolence International, she became a vegetarian for environmental reasons at 13.
NVI Director, Michael Beer, spent the night of September 7th in the notorious DC Central Cellblock. He was arrested at the White House as part of an effort to use nonviolent direct action to urge US President Biden to declare a climate emergency. He was arrested with Kai Newkirk and Justin Blake.
Michael Beer, speaking to the crowd in front of the white house inviting them to speak up and demand a climate emergency declaration.
Protests Continue for a Climate Emergency Declaration
September 12, inspired by our action, new activists from around the country again put a climate emergency sign on the fence and were arrested.
September 13, another set of activists protested at the White House Fence!
September 14, yet another wave of activists protested at the White House.
September 19th, more citizens put the sign up on the fence and were arrested again.
September 20th. Four more citizens arrested including Dr. Paul Dietz, Rev. Redeem Robinson both of whom were kept overnight at the appalling DC Central Cell Block.
Sept 22nd, More protests led by Native Americans at White House Fence
The crisis is obvious and not some far off future we must fear, but instead a current reality we must face. This effort at the White House is being led by our fiscally sponsored partner For All. Together we are urging the US President to take action to end all new fossil fuel infrastructure. We also call on every country to declare a climate emergency.
You can play a key role in this work wherever you are in the world. Connect with local groups especially those led by frontline communities and young leaders who will inherit the mess we have created.
For those in the US, please join our actions and civil disobedience protests at the White House over the coming weeks. You can learn more about that here.
There is a huge end fossil fuels march in New York City at the UN on September 17, 2023. Large civil disobedience street protests will happen on September 18. Please come to New York and participate in these historic actions. There are over 400 protests around the world this week. Please join one.
NVI has been active on this issue. For those wanting to learn more or be inspired by creative youth-led action, please see:
In the face of increased repression and violence, our friends and allies are continuing and expanding their bold, creative, constructive nonviolent resistance. Join them in resisting the occupation and Israeli apartheid system and take action with us, NVI’s partners, and movements leading the struggle for justice in Palestine below.
Please spread the word about the reality of the situation and urge others to visit this page, learn more, and take action with you.
For those wanting to learn more about the Palestinian struggle for freedom, please see these NVI resources below. Below the NVI resources are primers welcoming people who are not yet immersed in the conversation.
The Popular University of the Palestinian Youth Movement Presents - OUR HISTORY OF POPULAR RESISTANCE: PALESTINE READING LIST
For those interested in learning more about state by state US legislation, please see this impressive map from Palestine Legal. They tell us, "The right to stand for justice is under attack. Politicians are pushing unconstitutional laws to stop the movement for Palestinian freedom and shield Israel from criticism."
Do you have suggestions for other high quality introductory material we should consider including?
If so, please contact us.
And, of course, please help spread the word. Ask people to visit this page, learn, and take action.
(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)
The brutal occupation of Palestine is likely to get even more repressive. The coalition government in Israel includes unrepentant haters and racists. They have wasted no time showing their true colors. The impacts will be immediate, widespread, and as usual those harmed the most will be Palestinians.
People who have been paying attention know that the occupation has been supported by successive governments of all parties. And still we recognize we are entering a new and dangerous moment. We will work to make sure that this is also a time with the potential for real and lasting positive change.
During this time, we will see suffering increase and we must urge people to open their eyes to the reality of the situation. We must find ways to make the power of active nonviolence relevant to this struggle. NVI co-founder Jonathan Kuttab wrote,
"Successive Israeli governments have pursued these goals steadfastly, while pretending that their aim was security and that their aspirations were for peace with Palestinians, not domination over them. The new Israeli government abandons all such pretense, rips off the mask, and dares the world to do something about it.
Acknowledging that reality is the first necessary step towards addressing it. When Israel determined it wanted to be a Jewish state, and further that it wanted to keep all the land of historic Palestine, the results were inevitable. The only two options Israel allows for are ethnic cleansing or apartheid. Calls for democracy and equality (where democracy includes giving Palestinians [50% of the population] the vote and a stake in running the country) are totally rejected.
The good news is that with this new government, the mask is off, and many people can see the reality. This includes a majority of the Jewish people in the United states and their supporters, who have always been liberal, democratic, and in favor of progressive values. Facing the reality of Israel may be painful for many of them, but it is an important first step towards seeking a new solution based on equality and human dignity, and which would also bring healing and peace."
Tallie Ben-Daniel, the managing director of Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), said the new Israeli government has openly embraced apartheid.
“The horrifying actions of this new government, only five days in, prove exactly what Palestinians have been saying all along: Israel is an apartheid state, where Palestinians are treated as inferior. The dangerous escalations by the new Israeli government make clear that now is the time for action.”
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wrote,
“Not even one week into 2023, the new far-right apartheid government is moving to ethnically cleanse entire communities—which would displace more than 1,000 Palestinian residents, including 500 children. All with American backing, bulldozers, and bullets. #SaveMasaferYatta”
As Rosh Hashanah approaches, it is Jewish tradition to reflect on the last year. At CJNV, we are simultaneously mourning the heartbreaking and devastating impacts of Israel’s violence toward Palestinian communities and celebrating our movement's victories in building Jewish-Palestinian solidarity and unity against Israeli apartheid and occupation. At this important time of year, we are also reaffirming our commitments to this critically important work fighting for freedom and justice for all.
As we plan for the future, we are invested in building new and expanded ways for Jews from around the world to join in solidarity with Palestinians. CJNV's sustained solidarity presence in Masafer Yatta, Hinienu, is a central part of our coresistance work to support Palestinian sumud (steadfastness). In order to better support Palestinians facing increasing settler violence during the shepherding season, we are extending our Hineinu program from three to four months this coming year.
Hinienu means "we are here" in Hebrew. As we enter the new year, we are deepening our commitments to show up in solidarity with Palestinians who are calling on international activists to support their resistance efforts. That's why we are opening applications to join us for the next cohort of Hineinu today! Applications are open until October 20.
|ID: A photo of an out-of-focus person in the foreground walking toward three people leading a flock of sheep. The text over the image reads: "Join us for Hineinu, CJNV's 4-month sustained solidarity project in Masafer Yatta."|
Many of us are hurting now. Those with caring hearts, who are willing to face the reality of the world as it is, are struggling. And, still we know that both our ancestors and future generations are calling on us to persist.
I write these words in a time of growing global violence. I also write as a Jew horrified by the expanding inhumane treatment of Palestinians. A few months back I heard the word “pogrom” used to describe current events, not the distant horrors that my ancestors fled. My initial reaction was to resist the use of this term. And, then I read more about what happened. Sadly, the word fits.
All over the world, people expressed outrage. Could our commitment to Never Again fit this painful reality? I wrote this piece trying to reach out to members of my community about how the occupation is warping Judaism.
In recent weeks, the word has been accurately used again to describe what is really happening to precious people. In times like these many find themselves frozen in fear. Our goal at NVI is to move people to take action. Face our fears and find realistic reasons for grounded hope.
I find hope in the work of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partners. Today, I raise up for your consideration the glorious light of love shining from the solidarity and coresistance model actively employed by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.
These people understand the beauty at the heart of our faith. And, they act on the need to express our values through daily work. I invite you to look closely at their powerful example. I imagine many who take the time to do so will find a deep well of inspiration. For those looking to take action or learn more about Palestine / Israel please visit this page full of resources.
You can help in a variety of ways. NVI and all our partners value your kind financial support.
CJNV could use your help spreading the word about their upcoming delegation. Please consider applying yourself, and / or share with others in your community.
We’ve heard that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. True and important, but might we modify it to say, we have a clear and ongoing obligation to both curse the darkness and to light candles of hope. Join me in celebrating the innovative, much-needed work of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.
(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)
Nonviolent Resistance to the Occupation and Annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco
For those new to this topic, please scroll down to learn from the many resources below.
NVI supports a coalition of groups called Just Visit Western Sahara. Our mission is to support human rights and self-determination of the Sahrawi people and to support the international tourists to visit the has long supported Sahrawis who continue to resist the occupation and annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco. Invaded by Morocco in 1975 (with strong support from the USA), resistance has been armed and nonviolent. NVI supports nonviolent resistance and an end to the Moroccan occupation. The Western Sahara has UN status as the world's last major non-self-governing territory. In 1991, the United Nations promised to hold a referendum for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara. To this day, the referendum has not transpired.
In recent years, nonviolent resistance has been led substantially by Sahrawi women including the Khaya Sisters. In 2022, NVI in conjunction with other groups, intervened in the siege of the Khaya Sisters. At the invitation of the Khaya family in Boujdour, Western Sahara, US-based volunteers arrived at their home to protect them from human rights abuses and break the almost 500-day siege of the house imposed by Moroccan occupation forces. Sultana Khaya was escorted to Spain by our team on Jun 3rd, 2022 to obtain medical care.
In June of 2023, Wynd Kaufman and Adrienne Kenney who were participants in the intervention to save the Khaya family, spoke powerfully of their experiences of the Saharawi people and Moroccan illegal occupation at the UN Special Committee on Decolonization. Please these 4 minutes videos and read more below the Saharawi people.
Here is Wynd Kaufman's testimony!
Here is Adrienne Kinne's testimony
September 2023 Waari Khaya and Sahrawi Women Protest During UN Visit.
"Sahawaris peacefully demonstrated in the capital city of El-Aaiún in response to the arrival of the United Nations Special Envoy to Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura."
Nonviolent resistance to occupation and annexation continues. The media release is here and the results of her beating by Moroccan authorities are shown below.
Sultana Khaya is touring the world speaking out against Moroccan occupation and abuses.
On February 7th, 2023, Sultana Khaya spoke to the European Parliament about her experience in the aftermath of a scandal in which massive Moroccan corruption of the European Parliament led to failure to win the Sakharov Prize.
In December, the Vice President of Parliament, Eva Kaili as well as other key figures were arrested in conjunction with allegations that they recieved money in exchange for favorable actions for Qatar and Morocco. " The Italian newspaper "Il fatto quotidiano", quoting investigators from the federal prosecutor's office in Brussels, indicated that the interference of the Moroccan regime would not have been limited to influencing the decisions of the European Parliament concerning Morocco, but would also have been focused on the "appointment of members of Eurochamber committees that dealt with sensitive issues for the Maghreb country", including that of 'candidates for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought'. See here for the full article. https://www.spsrasd.info/news/en/articles/2022/12/24/43391.html For more information on the scandal, watch the Democracy Now Interview.
US-Based Volunteer Adrienne Kinne interrupting the siege with Sultana Khaya and friends.
Supported by the Human Rights Action Center (HRAC), NVI and a network of other human rights groups, the international unarmed civilian protection (UCP) volunteers, Ruth McDonough, Adrienne Kinne, Merwyn De Mello and Tim Pluth visited the Sultana family.
Since November 2020, the Khaya Sisters had been forcibly confined to their home and the family has faced many forms of abuse, including home invasions, sexual violence and injections of unknown substances. The Khaya sisters have been raped by Moroccan security forces in front of their 84-year-old mother. Furthermore, their water has been poisoned, furniture and property destroyed, and electricity cut-off.
Referring to her experience, Sultana Khaya shared, “I am not the first Saharawi woman to be raped by the occupiers. I am simply the first woman to speak publicly about it. I have to expose the reality of the occupation. And I need to pave the way for the next generation of Saharawi women.”
Sultana Khaya is a Saharawi human rights defender whose work focuses on promoting the right of self-determination for the Saharawi people and ending violence against Saharawi women, through active participation in nonviolent efforts and demonstrations. She serves as the president of the Saharawi League for the Defense of Human Rights and the Protection of Western Sahara’s Natural Resources, and is a member of the Saharawi Commission against the Moroccan occupation (ISACOM). She is a nominee for the Sakharov Prize and winner of the Esther Garcia Award. As an outspoken activist, she has been targeted by the occupying Moroccan forces while engaged in peaceful protests, enduring abductions, beatings, and having one eye gouged out.
The US-based visitors called for an end to the rapes, freedom of movement for the Khaya family and all visitors, and an independent international investigation of these human rights abuses.
Grounded in international law, Unarmed Civilian Protection is a nonpartisan strategy that revolves around the use of nonviolent methods by civilians to protect other civilians under threat. Such protection is provided on invitation from local actors and supports local agency and infrastructures for peace.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other highly respected investigative groups have documented widespread detentions, the torture of dissidents, and violent suppression of peaceful protests by Moroccan forces in Western Sahara.
On 1 July 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, condemned the reprisals against Sultana Khaya and expressed “particular concern about the apparent use of violence and the threat of violence to prevent and obstruct women human rights defenders in their peaceful human rights activities.”
NVI has been worked to support nonviolent resistance to Moroccan occupation since 1991.
September 2022, NVI launches an online pledge calling on everyone to support nonviolent resistance to all occupations and forcible annexations, whether they be in Western Sahara, Golan Heights, Greater Jerusalem, or Ukraine.
June 2022, Sultana Khaya is escorted to Spain for medical care.
May 2022, A 2nd delegation of US based visitors to the Khaya family were kidnapped by unknown Moroccans and deported from Western Sahara.
May 2022. Moroccan authorities repeatedly smash the Khaya residence with a massive truck to kill all of its residents and US guests.
April 2022: In Nonviolent Strategies and Stories in Israel-Palestine and Western Sahara, Michael Beer and Osama Elewat speak with the Metta Center for Nonviolence on the power of nonviolence.
March 2022: NVI in conjunction with other NGOs, organized a team of US based activists to visit the Khaya Sisters and break the almost 500 day siege.
January 2022: Stephen Zunes writes in Foreign Policy in Focus that President Biden's refusal to reverse President Trump's policy on Western Sahara has dangerous global implications.
Zunes piece in The Progressive warned that the threat of further Russian aggression against Ukraine was real and noted that the Biden administration is in a weak position to lead an international response.
December 2021: Khaya Family Update
March 2021: Nonviolence International is proud to make connections across boundaries that for far too long we have allowed to divide us. This NVI webinar connects those resisting occupation from Palestine to Western Sahara. We believe in the power of active nonviolence and offer this conversation as a way to celebrate brave nonviolent leaders and our shared use of creative Nonviolent Tactics and Training to make us even more impactful.
(Video above shows Sultana Khaya - while under heavy surveillance - joining our webinar through Salka Barca. Note the 22-minute mark, at which Sultana Khaya dramatically confronts those who besiege her house.)
CNN featured Sultana Khaya’s powerful op-ed on a difficult topic that rarely gets the attention it deserves (Morocco: Western Sahara Activist Raped)
November 2020: NVI's Director, Michael Beer co-wrote this piece calling for an End to the Conflict in Western Sahara) and encouraging the US Government to change it policies towards Western Sahara.
Nonviolence International supports international law and opposes the unlawful and violent occupations of its neighbors by Israel, Morocco and Russia.
(Mubarak Awad & Jonathan Kuttab in Western Sahara in 2015)
2015, NVI's co-founders Mubarak Awad and Jonathan Kuttab are some of the few Palestinians and Americans who have gone and done solidarity work with them in the occupied territory.
2014, Jonathan Kuttab visits Western Sahara to speak about nonviolent resistance to occupation, human rights, and international law.
2005, NVI invites a Sahrawi representative to speak in Bethlehem at the World Conference on Nonviolent Resistance.
1991-2013, NVI is one of the only organizations to lead protests in Washington DC against Moroccan occupation and abuse in Western Sahara.
A BATTLEFIELD TRANSFORMED: FROM GUERILLA RESISTANCE TO MASS NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE IN THE WESTERN SAHARA
Dr. Maria J. Stephan and Jacob Mundy.
War Resisters International’s January 2021
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's nine minute video on Western Sahara
Democracy Now's hour long documentary: Four Days in Occupied Western Sahara: Africa's Last Colony.
An 2022 update on the Geo-politics of Western Sahara, by Jacob Mundy.
NVI is thrilled to be the fiscal sponsor of US Boats to Gaza, a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition.
Check out this powerful video, learn more about their important work, and please consider supporting this creative constructive nonviolent movement.
The precious people of Gaza deserve better and we have a role to play supporting their efforts.
If you want to hear directly from impressive young leaders in Gaza, please read about our wonderful partner We Are Not Numbers.
(Please see this powerful piece from our wonderful partner We Are Not Numbers.
Reposted with permission from Palestine Chronicle.)
By Yousef Dawas
Hard times either bring us together or break us apart. For the young couple, it was the former, not the latter. Anan stepped up to become Rima’s pillar of support.
Anan Saadat is a 30-year-old dentist from the Gaza Strip. He is married to Rima Abu Aida, 27. Though the couple now has a renewed sense of hope for their future, things were difficult, in fact, very difficult in recent years.
Anan and Rima got married in 2018. Three years later, the couple faced a challenge. They wanted to conceive a child but couldn’t. So, in 2021 they resorted to a specialized hospital for in-vitro fertilization.
During the egg retrieval procedure, however, Rima developed a severe infection caused by unsterilized equipment, resulting in kidney failure.
The young woman was transferred to a hospital in the West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron), where she spent 24 days in the intensive care unit. Doctors informed Anan that his wife would require regular dialysis to survive.
“In the beginning, I stood helpless. I sobbed uncontrollably for my wife,” Anan told The Palestine Chronicle.
For Rima, it was a different kind of heartbreak. “After dialysis, I was so tired I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t have a life. It truly felt like my life didn’t have any meaning.”
Hard times either bring us together or break us apart. For the young couple, it was the former, not the latter. Anan stepped up to become Rima’s pillar of support.
The couple returned to Gaza, where Anan stopped practicing dentistry to entirely focus on Rima’s needs. He cared for her during the initial three-month treatment period, accompanying her through the grueling dialysis sessions three times a week.
“We used to go to dialysis at 10 pm and finish at 2 in the morning, sometimes even 3 or 4,” Anan said with a broken voice.
Aside from his wife’s suffering, Anan had also to deal with the financial strain and mounting debts.
He also wanted to donate his own kidney, but the procedure required outside expertise not available in Gaza.
Rima, at first rejected Anan’s offer, then, accepted, for her sake, and the sake of the new family.
Journey of Hope – Then Despair
In May 2022, the couple eventually traveled to Egypt for the transplant surgery.
“I was no longer working; therefore I had no source of income at the time,” Anan told us.
“I borrowed money from my in-laws, my sister, and my family. Even my married sisters sold their gold (obtained as marriage gifts) so that I could travel with my wife for her treatment.”
But after a month in Egypt, more complications followed. The couple had no tissue matching, which is required by Egyptian medical regulations for kidney transplants.
When they returned to Gaza, Anan and Rima felt truly defeated.
But hope was quickly rekindled when they met Dr. Ghazi Alyazji, head of the Kidney Transplant Department at Al-Shifa Hospital.
The doctor said that, despite the lack of tissue matching, the kidney transplant was still possible, with the help of a visiting medical delegation.
The first delegation, coming from Jordan, was prevented from entering Gaza. However, on July 13, 2023, Anan and Rima finally underwent the delicate surgery.
It was a success.
Following the successful surgery, Anan can breathe a sigh of relief. However, he is still processing the trauma and he cannot forget the details of that harrowing experience, which tested their love, faith, and willpower.
“My wife’s dialysis treatment lasted two years, one month, two days, and five hours,” he recalls. He remembers the whole ordeal in all of its details.
For Rima and Anan, the transplant was comparable to a rebirth. Rima, however, still longs to become a mother. She told the Palestine Chronicle that she hopes that one day she will hold her baby in her arms.
Considering everything that Rima and Anan have been through, such hope is maybe possible.
Yousef Dawas is a writer at our fiscally sponsored partner We Are Not Numbers. He is interested in economics and politics, and he is a talented photographer. WANN contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. https://www.palestinechronicle.com/kidney-transplant-and-rebirth-a-palestinian-love-story/
For decades, people all over the world have been inspired by the creative, bold, and loving nonviolent example of Nonviolence International’s founder Mubarak Awad. After being expelled from his home in Palestine, Mubarak has lived in the United States. The Israeli government didn’t know what to do with his impactful nonviolent activism, but even exile could not stop this force of nature.
While he is celebrated widely among those who follow movements for either active nonviolence or Palestinian humanity, many of his neighbors have been unaware of his impact. As one small and meaningful step towards correcting the record, his adopted hometown of Gaithersburg, Maryland has declared the first ever Mubarak Awad Day!
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, this August 22nd, the City Council and Mayor of Gaithersburg, in an official act of government, declare their “heartfelt gratitude” to Mubarak.
(We celebrate both Mubarak’s 80th birthday and his lifelong commitment to active nonviolence!)
Globally respected leader, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution, celebrated and challenged all of us to make full use of this rare and precious opportunity. He said,
This is a great and well-deserved honor. All of us who have worked alongside Mubarak know of his loving spirit and creative active nonviolence. It is wonderful to have the government of Gaithersburg join us in celebrating his accomplishments.
Now the question must be asked…
How can we best celebrate Mubarak Awad Day?
I suggest three ideas that, if implemented widely, will have a real and lasting impact:
(It's official! Mubarak Awad Day is coming. How will you celebrate?)
As word of this recognition spread, the NVI community reacted with overwhelming joy.
Mubarak inspired many people who inspired others and thus the ripples of his impact spread.
(Read these powerful testimonials and then keep scrolling so you don't miss the fun photos, impressive links, and the under 2 minute video where a young leader explains how meeting Mubarak changed her life.)
Basp Bayingana Simon Peter, Ugandan Solidarity leader, wrote, "Thank you Mubarak for all the efforts in founding NVI which has been the engine in supporting social movements and activists across the world in waging against various forms of systemic injustices."
Daniel Roth, Executive Director of our wonderful partner Center for Jewish Nonviolence, declared, "Mubarak, we are celebrating you today! Your example has been an inspiration to generations of activists - including me - and you're work has had profound impact on so many people around the world. Thank you for everything you have done, taught us, and for all that you will do in the years to come! Happy birthday, Mubarak!"
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Founder, Palestine Museum of Natural History, shared, " I have known Mubarak for >25 years. I wrote about him and his work in my book on Popular Resistance in Palestine. I once told him he is like many prophets: more appreciated outside of their own communities. He just shrugged it off with his usual humility and kindness."
George Lakey, legendary nonviolent activist and trainer, said, "Huge thanks, Mubarak, for giving us such a warm and human example of what courage looks like. I'm one of the many you've inspired."
Rivera Sun, acclaimed author and nonviolence trainer, wrote, "Mubarak's steadfast commitment to justice and nonviolence is an inspiration to so many from all corners of the globe, from all walks of life. I am grateful for all that he brings to our troubled world.
Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution (the group carrying on Gene Sharp's work), said, "I’ve had the great pleasure of crossing paths with Mubarak numerous times over the years as a beneficiary of his decades-long friendship with Gene Sharp. Mubarak is truly one of a kind - an inspiring, wise, committed teacher of nonviolent resistance, and a friend and supporter to so many of us. During the Celebrating Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance Conference in Bethlehem in 2005, he made sure to highlight and promote diverse voices, including mine as a young woman new to the work. He encouraged me to take the stage to present to an audience filled with my nonviolent heroes, an experience that shaped the work I’ve done since then, and one that will stay with me. Mubarak, thank you for your friendship and support to Gene, to the Albert Einstein Institution, and to me. Looking forward to continuing to learn from you and to be inspired by you for many years to come."
Rev. Amy Yoder McGloughlin, leader with our amazing partner, the US Advisory Committee for Hebron International Resource Network, wrote, "Thank you for all the ways you have modelled nonviolence in the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Your example inspires and challenges us all."
Michael Conklin, 3d Thursdays for Palestine advocacy group, said, "We seek the peace that surpasses all understanding as we embrace the darkest hours before the dawn. With Gratitude for Mubarak’s legacy."
Peter Weinberger, NVI Board member, told us, "Mubarak has been a mentor and friend to me for almost 30 years. I am deeply grateful for his constant encouragement and support. I am happy to celebrate this day in his honor."
Sami Awad, founder of our impressive partner Holy Land Trust, said, "It is without a doubt that if it was not for Mubarak, I would not be who I am now. He is the one that introduced me to the power of nonviolent resistance and I loved joining and participating in the activities he held, but there was a bigger reason why I even started joining the actions he was leading in the early 80's in Palestine when he opened the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence. He had a red motorcycle that he would have me ride on the back of when he went to many of these actions. I was the only 12 year old I know who had such a cool uncle. So yes, the motorcycle had a big part to do with it as well."
Oriel Eisner, On-the-Ground Organizing Director CJNV, wrote, "Happy Birthday Mubarak! Eid Milad Saeed! It's an honor and privilege to be connected to you in this work. You are an inspiration!"
Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, said, "Deep appreciation for you, Mubarak, and your strength in pursuing nonviolent resistance from Palestine to the world. You have been an inspiration to me and have always been grateful for the opportunity to have learned from you."
Katherine Hughes Fraitekh, Director of our awesome partner Solidarity 2020 and Beyond, shared, "Dear Mubarak, you were a seminal part of my life and key to my understanding of nonviolent resistance. I tried to visit you during my first trip to Palestine on a delegation during the First Intifada, but the Israelis were terrified of your power and the power of the nonviolent struggle in Palestine that you were helping train and lead, so they deported you. When I got back to Washington, DC, I contacted you and interviewed you for my Masters Thesis on The Palestinian Intifada as a Model Nonviolent Movement for Self Determination. I've followed your work ever since and so appreciate your lifelong commitment to peace with justice in Palestine and many other communities and NVI's fiscal sponsorship of Solidarity 2020 and Beyond! Happy 80th birthday!!"
Asna Husin, Former Director of NVI-Indonesia, said, "Mubarak is a man of generosity and great insights. He helps everyone who approaches him for assistance. His words are always soothing and insightful. He was once on the island of Sabang in Aceh for advanced mediation training for young Ulama leaders of Aceh. After patiently listening to their difficult experience of Aceh conflict (1976-2005), and how they had to convince young Acehnese not to get guns to fight the Indonesian military, Mubarak shared his own experience living in the Israeli occupied Palestine. He also informed them how he started his nonviolent movement. The Ulama leaders could not believe what he went through during his years in Palestine. One leader said to him: “Our experience is nothing compared to yours. Yet, you are so forgiving and hopeful.” Mubarak reminded his audience that your religion Islam teaches forgiveness and your Allah is al-Rahman (Most Compassionate, Most Forgiving). “We have the ability for unlimited forgiveness. It is our strength and not our weakness.” Regarding hope Mubarak said then: “Hope is a delightful dream, it strengthens our spirits and soul.”
Saeed URI, former NVI Intern, wrote, "Your commitment to nonviolence and faith in humanity has had a profound impact on the world. The success of the organizations you've led is clear, but it is the change you catalyze in every individual you interact with that is remarkable. Happy Birthday!"
Michael Nagler, founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, shared, "Dear Mubarak, I am indebted to you -- like everyone on the planet! -- for your tireless witness. There's a Jewish myth about 69 people whose justice keeps G_d from destroying the world. You are one of them!"
Sandra Schwartz, Former Office Manager, said, "I only worked for NVI for a little over a year, but your story, your courage, and your kindness have never left me. Thank you for your never ending quest for a just peace for Palestine and Israel. Your tenacity and faith that there is an answer even in the darkest times, help to give me hope for a better world."
Frederick and Laura Ann Zahn, wrote, "Birthday greetings to Mubarak from the Zahns as we are Blessed to know your mother's prayers and faith live today. Blessed to know you by way of your big brother, Bishara. Blessed to witness the strength of the NVI ministry. Blessed to learn from your vision of peace for God's children, Blessed to have celebrated your return to Bethlehem. Blessed to have had you share with our mission team."
Edy Kaufman, Retired Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, shared, " Jonathan Kuttab and myself joined you yesterday celebrating Mubarak Awad and wishing him a long, active and healthy life. The nicest way to remember him was when Jonathan to me read chapter 15 of his wonderful life story aloud, where Mubarak - as usual- is challenging authority, Israeli or anywhere else. So our best wishes to him, Nancy and to all of his good friends like you who have helped him build dreams and realities."
Rand Engel, Former Director of Balkan Sunflowers, wrote, "Mubarak, happy birthday! Thank you for a life of profound service, for being a fearless avatar of decency and justice, while at the same time a personal model of humility. Thank you again for your visit to a Balkan Sunflowers Learning Center in 2010."
Elin Ross, former NVI staff, said, "I think of Mubarak (or MEA as we always referenced him at NVI!-) almost daily as I make my own decisions as a leader...not that we would make the same choices every time but as a touchstone to remind me to consider different perspectives. This is his gift, you don't have to agree with him, having him in your life simply means that he comes to mind regularly and his lessons challenge you to be open to the possibility of alternatives. I also have to think about him every year because we are birthday twins!-) Happiest of birthdays to a mentor, a leader and ultimately a friend."
Larry Zweig wrote, "Nonviolence creates REAL power ... sometimes Silence creates the LOUDEST explosions."
Dr. E. James Rajasekaran said, "The present world needs leaders like Mubarak to spread the message of peace as in many parts of the world, people face destruction which totally wipeout peace in the society on the whole."
Jenny Thomas wrote, "So thankful for the work and influence of Nonviolence International and Mubarak’s vision and courage!"
Jennifer Duskey said, "Thank you for all the help you gave Mennonite Church USA with our resolution to work for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine. Happy birthday!"
Roseanne Weinstein wrote, "So many memories-So long ago…..Always believed he was special."
Fr. Harry J Bury told us, "When I was abducted in Gaza in 2005, it was followers of Mubarak who got me free."
Genie Silver shared, "I have not met Mubarak but from what I’ve seen and read it’s clear he’s a very kind and humble person who practices nonviolent civil disobedience as the only way to gain freedom, justice and peace for the Palestinian people in their homeland and everywhere. As a psychologist and professor he practices and teaches how to make lives better and to help those in pain. We need more people like Mubarak in the world."
Elizabeth Yates wrote, "I am acquainted with some of the Awad family in Bethlehem. I appreciate especially the non-violent resistance. I work personally with Daoud Nassar and family on behalf of their Bethlehem farm the Tent of Nations. God bless you as your work continues."
Tom Getman, Former Senate staffer and Palestine NGO director/and Geneva UN humanitarian representative, shared, "I owe a huge debt to Mubarak for two reasons. 1. He brings a strong sense of the Spirit of Peace's presence and courage whenever he is in a room where some of us are gathered for advocacy for all suffering and oppressed people. But especially he strengthens us with his wisdom for the sake of Palestinians under the heavy hand of Apartheid in Israel-Palestine. And 2. Mubarak's relationship in the visit to Palestine with our mutual friend Desmond Tutu led The Arch to speak a dart of fire to me at my presence at the liberation of the last segregated beach in South Africa. He said, ""You are now dismissed from working in South Africa with my thanks for the anti-apartheid legislation/law and prayerful non-violent participation. But we are now on our feet with Madiba soon to be freed. If you really want to prove your bona fides on human rights and that of the NGOs with whom you work you must turn your eyes to the Palestinians who are suffering more than we ever have." That was the word of authority inspired by Mubarak's hosting The Arch that changed my life and that of my family for the last 35 years including my wife and I working in Palestine and striving in the UN for peace with justice. Shukran ekter Alhann Wah Salaan, Mubarak and Nancy."
Karim Crow, Former Director NVI's Islam and Peace Program, wrote, "Dr Mubarak Awad has been a notable influence upon myself. It was through my father Professor Ralph Crow that I first met Mubarak and Nancy, in 1989 when my parents moved to Washington DC from Beirut, and Ralph began participating in activities of Nonviolence International. (Ralph had worked with Mubarak before when he helped organize the first conference on nonviolent action in the Arab world in Amman (Jordan) in the late '70s.) From 1996 til 1999 I directed the program on 'Islam & Peace' at NVI, and made several extended journeys with Mubarak to MENA to promote our initiative. One incident made a lasting impression : around 1997 Mubarak and myself flew from Istanbul to Tel Aviv, with Mubarak carrying a number of delicate glass globes and vases crafted in Turkey that he intended to give as gifts to relatives and friends in Palestine. After we cleared passport control, collected our bags, and were on our way out of the airport, we were stopped by security police who questioned us about where we had been. One of them demanded to see the packages Mubarak was carrying, carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and paper for protection. He took each one and placed it on the ground and stamped his boot crushing it into small pieces. I watched incredulously one by one, and grew angry. I started to protest at this gross abuse obviously intended to humiliate him personally, but Mubarak grabbed my shoulder and said, "Its all right, let it go." I saw his face smiling in controlled emotion : I saw nonviolence in action. We never spoke about it again. Mubarak Awad -- while others complain of injustices yet shrug helplessly, He says: "Let's Do something, Let's try this..." May you celebrate your 80th in love and joy, and always keep Hope alive in your heart ! Praying for your health and good spirits, my dear friend."
Rusty Nelson said, "In 1988, I joined the late Kathleen Donahoe on the staff of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane. Having only heard Mubarak on NPR interviews, I was surprised she had the temerity to invite him to speak in Spokane and amazed that he came and interacted with our emerging activists and rigid skeptics in homes and classrooms, 5 to 10 persons at a time. Many of us were just beginning to comprehend the scope of the Palestinian struggle and the capacity of nonviolent action. Accompanying Mubarak on this little tour gave me a crash course in peace advocacy, something I really needed as my wife Nancy and I would lead PJALS for 20 years. I hope there are times I employed the patience, tact, and care Mubarak demonstrated during that visit. He remains among my tiny pantheon of heroes."
Sucy Varughese wrote, "Your zeal for Palestinian Justice, Freedom and Dignity is inspirational."
Karsten Mathiasen said, "Huge thanks, Mubarak, for giving us such a warm and human example of what courage looks like. I'm one of the many you've inspired."
Laura Barnitz, NVI's First Staff person, wrote, "I was studying international relations and peace and conflict resolution at American University when I met Mubarak who had just recently been exiled by the Israeli Government. In those days the first Intifada was beginning to take shape, and the parade of leaders and activists who visited him was impressive but more so was his consistent, kind treatment of everyone, even those who were not practicing nonviolence. Mubarak's perseverance and ability to not take himself too seriously were life lessons I am forever grateful for, but most of all I treasure his genuine friendship. Happy Birthday!
John Salzberg said, "Happy birthday, Mubarak! In appreciation for your valient efforts in advocating Palestinian human rights!"
Betty Sitka, Former NVI staff, wrote, "Mubarak Awad expanded my worldview and empowered me to believe that I can make an impact on the world! I am so grateful for his dedication to freedom and liberty, to his belief in the capacity of humanity to share love and light as a way to heal ourselves! His dedicated friendship with Prof. Abdul Aziz Said of AU compounded his impact on countless, teaching the next generation about possibilities of Nonviolence! I adore you and thank you!!!"
Stellan Vinthagen, Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance, said, "For me Mubarak has been a role model and inspiration since the 1980s, literally showing how spreading research, training and knowledge about nonviolent resistance to a population that suffer under domination and occupation, can be a a great source of mobilization, resistance and hope. It is a clear sign of the importance of Mubarak's work that Israel felt forced to throw him out of Palestine. That, however, did not stop him, instead he escalated his work from the US and on an international level, continuing to have an impact on new generations of nonviolent freedom fighters. To me Mubarak embodies the Palestinian "steadfastness" or Sumud. When I then finally met him 2016 at a conference on nonviolent activism in the US, it was a huge honor. During a dinner I told him about my admiration of his work, but he was not very interested in hearing about that. Instead he responded in a characteristic humble and respectful way, giving me a Palestinian keffiyeh as a sign of his appreciation of my solidarity work for Palestinians through the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. It is people like Mubarak who make it possible to imagine a new world."
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, President, Minaret of Freedom Institute, wrote, "Whenever anyone asks,'When will the Palestinians have a Martin Luther King (or a Gandhi)?', I answer we have many, foremost among them being Mubarak Awad."
Joe Eldridge said, "Mubarak has had his eyes firmly fixed on simple fairness for his people all his life - an effective and determined advocate who has bent the moral arc of the universe toward justice. There should be a Mubarak decade."
John Mbaziira wrote, "The unfortunate bit is having not had an opportunity before to interact with Mubarak himself. Still, the good news is that I have been mentored and groomed in Nonviolence and civil resistance by the people whom Mubarak inspired and nurtured, and by their confessions, I believe the values, principles, and discipline which I have carried on and continue to carry would be no different from what I would take if I were to get that opportunity to be mentored by him. Thank you, Mubarak, for inspiring the world, we celebrate you. Happy Birthday!"
David Ritchie said, "Mubarak, my friend, your life is an inspiration to all who hope to make the world a better place. Thank you for all you have done for humanity."
Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, wrote, "In his words and actions Mubarak Awad has demonstrated not only that "the pen is mightier than the sword", but also that the "heart is stronger than the fist" and that peace is the true and inherent essence of humanity - not war. In difficult times - when fear, hate, nationalism and armed violence fill the media channels, it is vitally important to dispel this with the positive examples and power of non-violence advanced by Mubarak Awad and other non-violent champions."
Max Obuszewski, Peace Activist said, "While Mubarak was expelled, I did visit his nonviolence center in Palestine while on a human rights visit in the mid-1980s. May his vision last through the ages."
Lynnea Bylund wrote, "On the auspicious occasion of Mubarak Awad's 80th birthday, we in harmony with the nonviolent community celebrate and pay tribute to his lifelong dedication to the principles of nonviolence. Often hailed as today's Gandhi and King for the Palestinian people, Mubarak Awad's enduring commitment to peaceful activism has left an indelible mark on hearts worldwide. His powerful example, born from a spirit unyielding even in the face of adversity, continues to inspire generations, reminding us all that love and compassion are forces capable of remarkable change. As we join in commemorating the first ever Mubarak Awad Day, declared by his adopted hometown of Gaithersburg, Maryland, we convey our deepest gratitude for his extraordinary contributions to fostering a more just and harmonious world. Happy 80th birthday, Mubarak Awad!"
Pastor Carolyn Morton, Poor People's Campaign leader in Alabama, said, "Thank you! Mr. Mubarak Awad, for sharing the blessings of your teachings and faith through wisdom of study on Nonviolence and resistant Nonviolent as well. And social justice movement and humanity around the country! I am a faith leader, a Activist, peace maker,and a Peace Builder, social justice Activist! My heart and doing this work in the community combined 15 years on behalf of Samford Commnity Outreach Nonviolence Movement! I Celebrate you and Congratulations to you, and your proclamation! Thanks, again and Be Blessed."
David Hartsough, co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce and World Beyond War, wrote, "Happy Birthday Mubarak!! You have been and are a gift to our planet. Your commitment to helping people understand and realize the power of Nonviolence and nonviolent movements and spread the seeds of nonviolence in Palestine and around the world helps give us all HOPE that we can help create a world with peace and justice for all, that We Shall Overcome!"
Art Laffin, Longtime nonviolent activist, member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, and co-editor of Swords Into Plowshares, said, "Mubarak, HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY!!! I give thanks to God for the great gift of your life, your friendship, and your exemplary and courageous commitment to the way of nonviolence struggle in resistance to State-sanctioned violence, no matter the cost. Thank you for showing the world that nonviolence is the best and most meaningful way to resolve conflict! Deo Gratias for your 80 years of life and for all you have done, and continue to do, to help create a nonviolent world."
Tiffany Pache (Danitz) wrote, "I have so many fond memories of Mubarak that it is difficult to pick just one. Instead, I'll express my gratitude for teaching me to meet people where they are with patience and agape."
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb said, "Dear Mubarak, Your article in the Fellowship about hospitality in Palestinian culture transformed my understanding of Palestinian spirituality. And seeing the intergenerational impact of your work has also been profound! Thank you for your ongoing legacy."
Mubarak says, "Thank you to our many friends and fellow peacemakers who sent greetings for my birthday. I am very humbled and grateful to have so many friends. Your messages increased my commitment to peace and nonviolence."
(In under two minutes, Meg Wilder explains how meeting Mubarak when she was just 19 years old changed the direction of her life.)
(Even when silenced, Mubarak's powerful loving voice will be heard!)
(With a commitment to active nonviolence and justice for all, Mubarak confronts occupation forces.)
(To enjoy the great story behind this photo, please click here.)
Learn more about Mubarak's life and work at the links below.
Did you know he co-taught a course on nonviolence with a Jew in Haifa?
Here he is reflecting on his long friendship with Gene Sharp.
Along with Jonathan Kuttab, Mubarak answers tough questions asked by a Jew.
Mubarak lovingly remembers Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu.
Mubarak celebrates the life of NVI co-founder. Abdul Aziz Said.
Lessons in Nonviolent Palestinian Resistance From the First Intifada: An Interview with Mubarak Awad