Updates-A Story of Realistic Hope

Challenging Christian Zionism: Mennonite Action Walks to D.C.

 

Join Mennonite Action's March for Ceasefire 

Starting today, July 18th, 2024, 50+ marchers from across North America—from Waterloo to NYC and Arizona to Maryland, South Dakota, and more—embark on an 11-day, 135-mile All God’s Children March for a Ceasefire.

The march starts in Harrisonburg, VA, and ends on Sunday, July 28th in Washington, DC. In DC, marchers and NVI affiliates will join counter-protests outside of the CUFI convention. 

Whether you’re participating in the march, joining in Washington, DC for the interfaith mobilization July 28-30th, or supporting from afar, here’s how you can follow along:

July 18 mass call—live from the march!

Mennonite Action’s next mass call will take place on Thursday, July 18 at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT. The call will focus on the theme “On the Way,” and will be broadcast directly from the march. This is your opportunity to hear updates from the first full day of marching and about where they're headed. Sign up here.

Mennonite Action social media accounts
Mennonite Action will update their social media accounts regularly with updates from the march. You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

Mennonite Action blog
They will be posting reflections, photos, and stories on the Mennonite Action blog here. Stay tuned for updates!

March to DC Bible study guide
Throughout the march, they will explore the idea of being “On the Way” that comes up throughout the book of Mark. Each day of the march, they will post reflections, prayers, and passages from Mark compiled by the pastoral team for your congregations to stay connected throughout the programming. Find the guide here.

Interested in the march or DC mobilization?
The march and DC mobilization are quickly approaching but it’s not too late to join for a day or in-full! For the march, consult Mennonite Action's toolkit and fill out the registration form. For the DC mobilization, consult the toolkit and fill out the registration form.

Kenyan Finance Bill Protests

 

As I lay in bed on the night of June 12th, 2024, scrolling through X, I stumbled upon a tweet by a user named Amerix. The tweet sharply criticized the government for the taxes it was already imposing on citizens. Being new to the job market, I felt an immediate connection to the sentiment and liked the tweet, resonating with its frustration. Little did I know that this single tweet by Amerix would mark the beginning of a revolution led by the Kenyan youth.

In the days that followed, Amerix flooded X with tweets that further fanned the flames of discontent. He posted phone numbers of various Members of Parliament, urging Kenyans to call and text them, demanding they reject the Finance Bill 2024. Though I had heard about the bill in passing, I hadn't paid much attention to it until now. The leak of the MPs' phone numbers piqued my curiosity, driving me to learn more about the bill that was causing such an uproar.

Knowing the struggle of coping with the existing taxes and being new to the workforce, I understood that Finance Bill 2024 would add even more burden and this pushed me to take immediate action. I searched for a copy of the bill and read it, determined to understand the full extent of its implications. Unfortunately, I realized that the window for public comment had already closed on June 10th at 5 pm.

Nevertheless, my curiosity had been sparked, and I knew I couldn't ignore the issue. This was no longer just a series of tweets; it was the beginning of a movement, and I found myself swept up in its momentum.

Users of X began posting their respective MPs' responses to texts urging them to reject the bill. As expected, most responses dismissed our concerns with condescension. This sparked a deep frustration within me. "Who do these MPs think they are?" I asked myself. The anger bubbling inside me fueled my determination. "I will show them," I resolved.

Without hesitation, I searched for my MP's phone number and sent a text, voicing my opposition to Finance Bill 2024. I gathered phone numbers of other MPs, texting them as well, pretending to be a member of their constituencies. Each message was a small act of defiance, a way to make my voice and the voices of many other heard.

The feeling of taking action, even in such a small way, was empowering. It wasn't just about a single bill anymore; it was about standing up to a system that seemed to have forgotten the people it was supposed to represent and serve. And so, with each text, I felt a growing sense of solidarity with my fellow Kenyans. The arrogance that came with some of the MPs' responses led to a turning point. On the evening of June 16th, 2024, an X user tweeted, "Why can't we all show up in town on the 18th of June and have a peaceful protest so that these MPs see we mean business in rejecting this bill?" The tweet resonated deeply, garnering countless impressions and agreement from others. Soon, the idea of a peaceful protest took on a life of its own.

What began as a single suggestion quickly became a movement. The X timeline was soon flooded with posters detailing the peaceful demonstration. Users tweeted about dress codes, meet-up points, and volunteered to print T-shirts with messages rejecting the bill. Others offered to create placards and distribute water. As I watched these plans unfold, a realization hit me: "Holy shit! It's actually happening. People are actually angry enough to take to the streets." Despite this, I told myself I would wait until the protest day to see if people were truly as fired up as they seemed online.

Like wildfire, the call for protest spread across other social media platforms. A day before the scheduled protest, content about the Finance Bill and the upcoming demonstration was shared to millions of people. The momentum was unstoppable, and it was clear that this might be more than just an online outcry—it was a collective movement ready to take to the streets. What I did not know was that this first demonstration would spark a string of demonstrations that would bring about fear, joy and sadness collectively to many in the country. 

I remember waking up at 8:10 am on that fateful Tuesday. I hurriedly said my morning prayers, asking God for protection for everyone going to the protest. I grabbed my phone and opened the X app, shouting to my mom in the other room, “I am off chicken duty today!” My timeline was flooded with tweets about people heading to town and amplifying the #RejectFinanceBill2024 hashtag with content related to the finance bill.

True to what had been discussed online, protesters carried banners, wore black shirts with messages rejecting the finance bill, and had vuvuzelas, water, and whistles, all while exercising peaceful protesting. The protest was soon dubbed the “Gen Z” protest.

As people started gathering in the Central Business District, the police began arresting anyone who had carried banners or had worn a black shirt with the #RejectFinanceBill slogan on it. These events were broadcast live on TV and shared across social media. Yet, the more people were arrested, the more determined they became to show up for the protest. "Because I did not borrow permission from work, I will just become a keyboard warrior today, but the Thursday demonstration I must attend," I told myself. I continued to follow the protest’s progress on various platforms, tweeting about the protest and its main agenda on my X account.

The scale and nonviolent discipline of the protests may mark a change in Kenya's history of demonstrations. The turnout of that first protest motivated many to come out for the next one on Thursday, June 20th. As I woke up on that fateful Thursday of the protest I told myself "I am doing this for my dad and many more who cannot afford cancer treatment," as I got out of bed. After my usual morning routine, I left for the CBD, coordinating with my friend who was also attending the protest. Upon arrival, the air was filled with a tingling smell that made me sneeze. I alighted the bus and saw a crowd gathering, so I joined them while waiting for my friend. The crowd was fiery, charged, and invigorated, ready for the day. My friend arrived within 20 minutes, and the running began.

We marched towards the police officers, chanting “We come in peace,” trying to head towards Parliament. Each advance was met with tear gas, scattering us in different directions. After the effects of the gas subsided, we regrouped and tried again. I remember one protestor telling a police officer, “We are here not only to fight for our rights but also yours. You are one of the civil servants who take home the lowest of salaries, and you still defend this government that pays you peanuts by tear-gassing us.” 

Despite our repeated attempts, we couldn't reach Parliament, but our spirits remained unbroken. We even helped police who thirsted for water and conversed with them, an act never seen before in Kenya. We gathered along Kenyatta Avenue, awaiting the first vote on the bill. Protesters followed the live proceedings from Parliament, hoping their presence would influence their MPs. When a protester announced, “Guys, the vote was 204-Yes and 115-No,” my heart sank. I felt despair. "All this for nothing," I thought. However, as I scrolled through X, I learned that the bill could still be rejected in the second reading, restoring a bit of hope.

The bill passing the first reading did not kill our spirit. Protesters decided to party in the streets, singing and dancing before going home. Little did we know that night would see a mother and father robbed of their son, marking the beginning of protestors getting killed. Rex Maasai was the young man that was shot dead by the police and when I got home I got to learn about this sad news. The video of his shooting spread across social media platforms, igniting further outrage

The days following the protest were marked by demands for accountability from the government regarding Rex Maasai's death. This incident galvanized even larger numbers to come out on Tuesday, June 25th, a day now petitioned to be named Mashujaa Day. Close to 30 people lost their lives on this day alone, shocking the nation. Parliament was accessed by citizens, a section burned, the mace (symbol of power) stolen, snipers deployed, and protests erupted in 35 out of 47 counties. What made the situation escalate to this point is because unethical politicians hired goons to pose as protesters who smeared the reputation of the peaceful protest and caused chaos. These hired goons looted, destroyed property and caused havoc jeopardizing the demonstration's main goal which was peaceful protesting. Even with all these happenings, the MPs still decided to pass the bill during the second reading.

One remarkable event was when a group of protesters entering Parliament, saw a differently-abled MP who had voted yes and was trying to flee the chaos, helped the MP by carrying him across the street to safety. This act of kindness amplified our peaceful mantra, yet the police remained violently relentless. Many went home injured and disappointed by the government's response. That evening the president had a brief address where he announced that he was not going to sign the Finance Bill into law and that he would return it back to parliament. Even with the Finance bill being brought back to parliament, people still decided to protest on Thursday. The protest was characterized by the same brutality as seen on Tuesday.

The president's addresses to the youth and the nation have only alienated him further from the people who once supported him. Each address shows he still isn't fully listening to the youth. As I write this, Kenyan youth have vowed to protest every Tuesday and Thursday with a new agenda and the hashtag #RutoMustGo, demanding accountability for police brutality, auditing the national debt, tackling corruption, and most importantly, the president's resignation. Citizens are demanding his resignation due to his failure to uphold the Kenyan Constitution, particularly the right to demonstrate and picket. They accuse him of deploying the police force against peaceful protesters. But the big question remains: will the peaceful protests be free of police brutality as the president has promised?

In conclusion, there has been a historical shift in protests in Kenya. A country once characterized by violent demonstrations, marked by stone-throwing and tire-burning, has seen a new dawn ushered in by Gen Z. This new generation of activists, armed not with weapons but with phones, water bottles, and hearts full of dreams and aspirations for a better Kenya, has embraced non-violence as their strategy. Civil disobedience has been portrayed in a planned and methodical approach. The non-violence approach in the protests has showcased the power of solidarity and peaceful resistance. Personally, the demonstrations have reinforced the teaching of how powerful social media can be and the impact it has if used correctly. Kenyan youth have also learned and are still learning the power of civic engagement and collective action. The demonstrations have proven that active participation in democracy goes beyond voting and that more civic actions need to be done post-voting.

Kuttab Brothers Debate the Future of Palestine

Kuttab Brothers Debate the Future of Palestine:

Where are We Now and Where are We Going?

Webinar Transcript

The situation in Palestine is becoming increasingly dire. Daily ferocious and deadly attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue, alongside the blockade of humanitarian aid and medical care for those most in need. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, ongoing violence from settlers and the Israeli army against Palestinians persists, including harming civilians, land confiscation, and destruction of property. In Israel (1948 territories), Palestinians are facing unprecedented levels of discrimination and violence. 

Public declarations and positions by Israeli officials are undermining efforts not only for a ceasefire but also for a genuine and viable solution that ensures peace and security for all residents of the region. Subjugating the Palestinians seems to be the only solution offered by these politicians and there seems to be wide support for them.

Additionally, many experts warn that the Palestinian Authority is on the verge of collapse, rendering it even more powerless than before to provide for its population and protect it from these relentless attacks and violations, even in statements of condemnation.

The ongoing struggle has left many around the world with questions about the future of Palestine and the nonviolence resistance movement.

The Crucial Questions:

  • Where is the Palestinian movement for liberation standing now?
  • What is the future of the Palestinian political leadership?
  • Is there any viable solution to the occupation and what does it look like?

Watch the recording to answer these questions and many more are two brothers who have dedicated their lives to Palestinian liberation and peace.

Featured Speakers:

Jonathan Kuttab: Jonathan Kuttab is a leading human rights lawyer. In 1979, he co-founded Al Haq, the first international human rights legal organization in Palestine. Later, he co-founded the Palestinian Center for the Study of Non-Violence (now Nonviolence International) and also founded the Mandela Institute for Prisoners. Jonathan is a Palestinian Christian, past chair of the Bethlehem Bible College, and serves on the board of the Sabeel Ecumenical Theology Center in Jerusalem. Jonathan was part of the 1994 legal team for the Cairo agreement that resulted in the Oslo II Accord. He was a visiting scholar at Osgoode Law School at York University in Toronto in the Fall of 2017 and is a founding director of Just Peace Advocates Mouvement pour une Paix Juste, a Canadian-based international law human rights not-for-profit. Jonathan is a resident of East Jerusalem and a partner of the Kuttab, Khoury, and Hanna Law Firm in East Jerusalem.


Daoud Kuttab: Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and media activist. He is the former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. Daoud Kuttab is currently the director general of Community Media Network (CMN), a not-for-profit media organization dedicated to advancing independent media in the Arab region. CMN is registered in Jordan and Palestine and administers Radio al Balad in Amman and ammannet.net. He is a regular columnist on Palestinian issues with Al-Monitor, Arab News, and writes frequently in the Washington Post, LA Times, Al Jazeera, New Arab, Newsweek, The New Republic, and other publications.

Born in Jerusalem in 1955, Daoud studied in the United States and has worked in journalism since 1980. He has received several international awards, among them: the CPJ Freedom of Expression Award, the IPI World Press Freedom Hero, the PEN Club USA Writing Freedom Award, the Leipzig Courage in Freedom Award, the Next Foundation Peace in Journalism Award, and the Japanese Peace Award for producing Shara'a Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street.

Watch the recording for an insightful and compelling discussion on the current state and future of the Palestinian movement, political leadership, and the quest for a viable solution to the occupation.

Watch the Recording Here

Nonviolence Advocate Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Dies.
                                   Photo Credit: Thai PBS WORLD

Renowned advocate and scholar of nonviolence and peace,  Chaiwat Satha-Anand has died of cancer at the age of 69 on June 27th, 2024.

Chaiwat was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1955. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Hawai'i and created a legacy of nonviolence theory and activism. Chaiwat was a professor of political science at Thammasat University and served as the director of the Thai Peace Information Centre. 

He was an expert on nonviolence theories and activism, and the overlap between these theories and Islam. For several years he directed the International Peace Research Association’s (IPRA) commission on nonviolence and also served on the Scientific Committee of the International University for Peoples’ Initiative for Peace (IUPIP).

In 2003, he was nominated to lead efforts to reduce violence in Thailand, serving as a member of the National Reconciliation Commission, and was the lead author of the final report to the Thai government. In 2012, Chaiwat was selected by Nonviolence International as the winner of the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize. 

After decades of leading nonviolent actions and educating others, Chaiwat succumbed to his illness. His legacy will undoubtedly live on through his students, and his many published works including “Non-killing Security and the State.”

A ceremony for those who wish to pay their respects to Chaiwat was held at the Maroon Mosque in Bang Rak district of Bangkok on June 27th,2024. His funeral took place on the morning of June 28th, 2024. 

One of his most notable works, The Nonviolent Crescent: Eight Theses on Muslim Nonviolent Actions can be found here.

Direct Action by Solidarity Activists to Break the Siege

 

https://youtube.com/shorts/yD8V3kn-UKE?si=bGj0edTBl51e5Fst

 

 As we witness the daily horrific attacks against the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip, we also see the global movement calling for a ceasefire and an end to Israeli genocide grow with protests taking place across every major city in the world today. Taking this activism a step further, many are also engaged in direct action to break the siege of Gaza that has lasted for over 17 years and intensified in the last 8 months. People that are ready to put their lives on the line to save others. These people represent us, the global nonviolence movement, coming together from different parts of the world and from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.These are the ones who said, in the face of the impossible, we want to do something.

This will be hosted by Sami Awad. Our impressive speakers updated us and answered our questions!

Freedom Flotilla-Ann Wright

Rabbis for a Ceasefire- Ilana Sumka

Host- Co-Director of Nonviolence International, Sami Awad


Watch the Recording Here!

Stop Arms to Israel

NVI is supporting efforts to pressure governments, most notably the USA, to halt its weapons transfers to Israel so as not to contribute to further war crimes and human rights abuses.

Control Arms (which has recently spun-off from NVI) issued a statement that calls on governments to abide by the Arms Trade Treaty.  US Pres. Trump withdrew from the ATT and the Biden administration has shamefully refused to re-sign.  NVI is proud to have supported Control Arms and the Arms Trade Treaty and encourages all to support this valuable citizens' network and this humanitarian disarmament treaty.

May 2024 - #Stop Sending Arms - Control Arms Statement on the Israel - Palestine Conflict

1. Control Arms, in partnership with the Ceasefire Now coalition of 688 NGOs, calls attention to the role of transferred weapons, parts, and ammunition in facilitating the atrocities taking place in Gaza, and demands a halt to these transfers and the immediate establishment of a ceasefire.

2. Israel’s bombardment and siege are depriving the civilian population of the basics to survive and rendering Gaza uninhabitable. Today, the civilian population in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented severity and scale caused by systematic, deliberate destruction of the basics of life. Palestinian armed groups have indiscriminately fired rockets into Israel without concern for the protection of civilians and with open disregard for international humanitarian law (IHL). 

3. We have witnessed more than six months of relentless Israeli attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, including the use of starvation as a weapon of war. The International Court of Justice has ruled it is plausible that this could amount to genocide. All States have an obligation to prevent atrocities. In these circumstances, the Arms Trade Treaty is clear: any transfer of weapons, ammunition, parts and components that are at risk of being used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and therefore, must cease immediately. 

4. The four Geneva Conventions and customary international law obligates all states to ensure respect for international humanitarian law. By ending their supply of items that are at risk of being used in the conflict, major arms exporting states can help to bring an end to serious violation of IHL and most importantly to the suffering being witnessed in Gaza. As close partners to Israel, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom shoulder a distinct duty in this regard.

5. Despite the United States and its allies repeatedly urging Israel to protect civilians in Gaza, the United States has decided to provide over US$14 billion in further military support without any new conditions to protect human rights. This aid includes expanded authorities for arms transfers and subsidizing Israel's defense industry. The U.S. should withhold this assistance or enforce existing laws, such as Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, which prevents aiding countries that restrict humanitarian assistance. Failure to act risks prolonging civilian suffering in Gaza and escalating regional tensions.

Here is another coalition Letter to US State Department calling for a Halt of Weapons Transfers to Israel

For more information on Control Arms, here is a link to Control Arms work seeking to halt weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen. Otherwise, one can go to the website Controlarms.org

Nonviolence Can Heal National Traumas, by Jonathan Kuttab

Dear reader,

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more generalized trauma are not only personal and individual in character but often afflict whole nations and peoples. Frequently historical in nature, trauma can be passed down intergenerationally. 

One of the greatest examples of such trauma afflicting  humanity is that of the Holocaust, compounding the historical experience of centuries of persecution, hatred, and discrimination against Jewish people. This is a trauma that made it easy for many to succumb to the doctrines of Zionism, offering Jewish empowerment via Jewish supremacy in a Jewish-dominated state as the only cure for their ongoing suffering. It has made many easy prey for fascist doctrines, of belief in the value of violence and military overkill as the only path to survival. It has also made it difficult for many to take seriously any path towards peace and reconciliation that is not firmly rooted in their military power and supremacy. And while many cynically exploit the traumas of the Holocaust for political ends, there exists a genuine phenomenon of authentic fear that cries out for healing and needs to be addressed.

That rabbit hole of domination and “deterrence” will likely doom Israeli Jews to eternal strife and enmity with their neighbors, leading to ever increased militarization since in their traumatized state no amount of military power will ever be sufficient, and any attempt by Palestinians to resist that domination is only likely to reinforce the trauma. Similarly, all peace efforts will be viewed with deep suspicion and reticence, particularly if they require concessions that seem to reduce Israeli military domination or appear to make Israel weaker or more vulnerable to the risk of future attacks.

As a Palestinian, I am keenly aware of these traumas. I realize, however unjust it is, that our liberation is tied to the healing of our oppressors from the traumas of the past, for which we are the current victims.

Rubble from a destroyed school in Palestine

I am also aware that armed struggle by Palestinians, however legitimate under international law—and even if it were directed solely at armed soldiers and settlers—still risks reinforcing rather than healing the trauma.

In addition to this, we cannot forget that the Palestinians also have a long history of trauma, are now being traumatized, and are in great need healing, especially when the current genocide stops and the difficult process of rebuilding Gaza commences. Tens of thousands of orphans, bereaved families, over 70,000 wounded, and millions who have lost their homes require not only justice but also time and space to undertake a long process of healing.

I am also deeply conscious of how attractive the call to violence can be for oppressed and traumatized peoples. The events of October 7—apart from the attacks on civilians at the music festival and the kibbutzim as well as the taking of civilian hostages, which are properly to be condemned in no uncertain terms—were also viewed by many Palestinians as a brilliantly successful military operation whereby resistance fighters armed with primitive hand held weapons simultaneously breached the sophisticated walls imprisoning Gaza in 30 locations, captured two army bases, including the headquarters of the Gaza Battalion, killing 340 soldiers and capturing about 40 others, and carried the fight into the territory held by their enemies (rather than their own). Despite the massiveness of the Israeli retaliation and the utter destruction of Gaza, the events of that day will likely hold an appeal to those who preach armed resistance for many years to come.

So we clearly need to resist the siren call for violence, especially in our pursuit of justice. But what can we do to bring about some measure of healing to these deep traumas that are currently feeding the cycle of violence and without the healing of which, no peace is possible?

NVI's fiscal partner, Holy Land Trust along with FOSNA held an extensive series of trainings, attended by over 70 Palestinians in the West Bank, to work on the process of dealing with ongoing trauma. We are also committed to pursuing such healing globally. 

Another conversation between NVI's new Co-Director, Sami Awad and Gabor Mate “From Pain to Healing: Healing Collective Trauma in Israel/Palestine” deals with this problem as well. It is this healing process that is urgently needed by all sides, and it is one area that supporters of nonviolence, can be part of the solution.

Peace,

Jonathan Kuttab, Co-Founder and Board Member

P.S.The Gaza Freedom Flotilla is delayed in Turkey, but another boat is headed from Sweden and is currently near Eurovision raising awareness of the ongoing blockade and siege of Gaza.

 

(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)

US Boats to Gaza helps Freedom Flotilla Effort to Break the Siege

Update from global volunteers in Istanbul on April 20th including

Ann Wright, Huwaida Arraf, Dr. John Reuwer, Lisa Fithian, Wynd Kaufmyn, Cassandra Nixon and Shabnam Mayet.  All hosted by NVI Palestinian leaders, Mubarak Awad, and Sami Awad

 

 

Update from Ann Wright, April 15, 2024

Here is a beautiful Instagram that updates the world about the upcoming flotilla. Volunteers are coming from more than 30 countries!

 

Media Release
April 4, 2024

The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) will sail in mid April with multiple vessels, carrying 5500 tons of humanitarian aid and hundreds of international human rights observers to challenge the ongoing illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is an emergency mission as the situation in Gaza is dire, with famine setting in in northern Gaza, and catastrophic hunger present throughout the Gaza Strip as the result of a deliberate policy by the Israeli government to starve the Palestinian people. Time is critical as experts predict that hunger and disease could claim more lives than have been killed in the bombing.

Getting humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza is urgent, but it is not sufficient. We must end Israel’s unlawful, deadly blockade as well as Israel’s overall control of Gaza. Allowing Israel to control what and how much humanitarian aid can get to Palestinians in Gaza is like letting the fox manage the henhouse.  And yet, this is what the international community of states is allowing by refusing to sanction Israel and defy its genocidal policies in order to ensure that enough aid reaches the trapped, beleaguered and bombarded civilian population.

The Cyprus maritime corridor, the U.S. floating pier project, and symbolic air drops of food are all distractions from the fact that these methods of aid delivery are insufficient, and still leave Israel in control of what aid can get to the Palestinian people, all while Israel actively prevents thousands of aid trucks from entering Gaza through the land crossings.

On January 26 the International Court of Justice ruled that, ‘the State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said Order, including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.’ On March 28, the ICJ ordered additional preliminary measures, which included requiring the Israeli forces to stop “preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance” to Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel has long violated its responsibility as occupying power to ensure the health and wellbeing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Now, it is engaging in full scale genocidal conduct in Gaza and using starvation as a weapon of war. Israeli military and political leaders have repeatedly declared their intention to collectively punish the entire population of Gaza, including by denying them food, water and other life-sustaining aid. We therefore reject Israel’s control over the humanitarian aid that can enter Gaza and reject any Israeli inspection of our cargo.For everyone’s safety and to ensure aid is delivered to those who need it, the FFC is bringing hundreds of international humanitarian observers, from many countries and different backgrounds.

“The International Court of Justice’s preliminary measures ordered against Israel are very clear” comments Ismail Moola of South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. “The court’s ruling requires the whole world to play their part to stop the genocide unfolding in Gaza, including unobstructed access to vital aid. While our governments fail to lead in these urgently required humanitarian responses, people of conscience and our grassroots organizations must act to take leadership. When governments fail, we sail!”

###

Many supporters of Nonviolence International are joining this aid effort as volunteers.

If you want to donate, please donate here.

(Please see this page for background information, resources, and action steps on Palestine / Israel)


NVI fiscally sponsors groups that work to help Gazans. Please support them.

If you want to hear news and views directly from Gaza, please check the website and social media sites of  We Are Not Numbers.

US Boats to Gaza is a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more about their important work below. 

Here are some photos from the big recent Washington, DC event for Palestinian humanity that was part of much larger global effort.


Don't miss this important event!

 

 

In this time of enormous unnecessary suffering, it is vitally important that people of good will everywhere raise up the humanity of Palestinian people.

NVI is grateful to the co-founder of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partner, We Are Not Numbers, Ahmed Alnaouq, who brought this short moving video clip to our attention.

Don’t miss US Representative Rashida Tlaib saying the name and last words of WANN writer, Yousef Dawas.

Then take a moment to watch her powerful video here.


We Are Not Numbers is featured in this moving piece in "In These Times."

“I yearn for our voices to echo across the globe with the truth, reaching out to those who seek it.”

SHERELL BARBEE FEBRUARY 7, 2024

https://inthesetimes.com/article/letters-from-gaza-genocide-palestine-culture-


 

We are thrilled that Ahmed's powerful voice was included in the Washington Post.

Here is his excerpt and a link (behind a paywall) to the full article, which includes other perspectives - several not rooted in personal experience or basic human compassion for the suffering of others. When militarists are welcomed into the mainstream press, the media doesn't feel a need to provide "balance." But, for some reason, the few times that Palestinian voices are heard, they present another perspective that often negates Palestinian humanity. 

The slaughter must end

Ahmed Alnaouq: Last week, Israel bombed my family home in Gaza, killing my father, as well as two brothers, three sisters and all of their children, in an instant. One friend described their bodies as “bags of meat” — an arm here, a leg there.

I write to you in mourning. Even now, we Palestinians are not granted the luxury to grieve. Instead, we are burdened with the responsibility to talk, to communicate the extent of our suffering and the injustice wielded against us.

So, first, I must say this: We demand an immediate cease-fire. We demand a lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza and the restoration of electricity, fuel, water and food. And we demand unimpeded humanitarian access in line with international law.

Today, the word “genocide” is being widely used. I can’t think of another word that captures the magnitude of what Israel, a nuclear-armed military power, continues to unleash on a captive population of children and refugees. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the quiet part out loud: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before,” he said. “We will eliminate everything.”

But we Palestinians already knew what Gallant had in mind. Corralled in Gaza for the past 17 years, burdened with mass unemployment and poverty — even before white phosphorus filled the skies, or before we lay crushed beneath the rubble — we could not breathe. We were held captive like prisoners who had never committed a crime or shot down when we attempted to peacefully protest our incarceration.

Our 1 million children have never traveled outside Israel’s militarized cage and know nothing but the buzz of drones in the sky tracking their every move.

In the past week, I have lost everything. But I do not seek revenge. There is no “military solution” here, only a collective responsibility to finally grant Palestinians what they have demanded for decades, what they are owed: justice, freedom and their very basic rights as human beings.

Ahmed Alnaouq is the head of We Are Not Numbers, which pairs Palestinian writers with mentors overseas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/11/02/gaza-ceasefire-civilian-military-humanitarian/

Click here to donate to support NVI's fiscally sponsored partner WANN.


Ahmed was also featured in this recent New York Times piece

After the Israeli military killed his older brother in an airstrike in Gaza in 2014, Ahmed Alnaouq says, he almost lost his will to live. “I sank into a deep depression,” he told me in a recent phone call. But an American friend convinced him to write about his brother and channel his grief into something productive. Together, they founded We Are Not Numbers, a project that trains young writers in Gaza and publishes their personal essays in English.

The name is a nod to how numbing numbers can be. The higher the death toll, the less we are inclined to care, since the scale of human suffering can feel overwhelming. Statistics don’t trigger empathy and action. Personal stories do.

“This project changed my life because for the first time, I thought that some people can care about us,” Mr. Alnaouq said, describing the response it got outside Gaza.

We Are Not Numbers began as a way to memorialize the dead, but it quickly turned into a lifeline for the living. For young people in Gaza, stuck in a political system with few rights and a blockaded economy with few jobs, it provides a vital outlet for self-expression...

“After losing my family, I did not stop believing in what I believe in,” he told me. “I don’t want other people to feel what I am feeling. Not the Israelis, not the Palestinians.”


These very painful, honest, meaningful videos feature WANN's co-founder.

Trigger / harsh reality warning. 


Mubarak Awad speaks on KKFI radio about Palestine

Moussa Elbayoumy, Yara Salamed, and NVI President Mubarak Awad discuss calls for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Hamas war. Moussa is an MD and chair of the board of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas). Yara is studying Law at UMKC and is President of Students for Justice in Palestine there. Mubarak is a Palestinian born in Jerusalem in 1943, influenced by Mennonite and Quaker missionaries. He received bachelors, masters and PhD degrees from universities in the US. He became a US citizen in 1978 and returned to Jerusalem in 1983 to found the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. He was expelled from Palestine in 1988 during the First Intifada for organizing nonviolent protests against mistreatment of Palestinians by Israeli military and settlers. Back in the US, he founded Nonviolence International. Moussa, Yara and Mubarak are calling for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Gaza war.      KKFI.ORG


Sadly, this short NVI video clip from two years ago is still relevant. 


Refaat Alareer, WANN's co-founder, killing featured in major media outlets. 

CNN

Al Jazeera

Time


In this episode of Mondoweiss’s podcast Culture Editor Mohammed El-Kurd

speaks with journalist and co-founder of We Are Not Numbers Ahmad Alnaouq.


Michael Beer quoted in LA Times article on effective activism. 


Please see these articles: 

Writing while expecting to die “Can you kindly publish the attached stories if I die?” This is what we have been hearing from the young writers we work with from Gaza in the We Are Not Numbers project.

7 steps to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine:
The path to peace requires nonviolent action not just from Israelis and Palestinians, but also Americans, the media, aid organizations and others.
By NVI Founder, Mubarak Awad.  We are pleased to announce this piece was selected as Waging Nonviolence's top story of the year!  https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/12/waging-nonviolence-top-stories-2023/

When will we learn that violence doesn’t lead to security?
To support Israelis and Palestinians is to insist on their right to equally live in peace and freedom — not help structures of state violence and cultures of militarization.
By NVI Board member, Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Solidarity with Palestinians and Jews Sign on Statement. 

By Jonathan Kuttab, NVI co-founder. Cat Zavis, Jewish Civil/Women's Rights Lawyer, Mediator, and Rabbi: Beyt Tikkun. Michael Lerner, Rabbi and Editor of Tikkun magazine.
Esther Azar, Arab Jewish Trauma Activist, and Rabbi: Trauma Informed Rabbinics.


Recent attacks by Israel on Gaza and Hamas fighters on Israel are tragic and will not resolve bring peace and justice to all.

NVI believes that nonviolence is the only way to end the savagery, brutality and cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

NVI urges all parties to cease all military attacks and prevent further escalation of violence that will only harm innocent civilians on both sides.

Call for an immediate ceasefire and end to all violence, including an immediate halt to attacks towards Israel and Israeli military attacks on Gaza.

Urgent humanitarian action is needed, including the establishment of a humanitarian corridor inside and out of Gaza, for the safe movement of people and the delivery of essential supplies. This includes opening Erez and Kerem Shalom / Abu Salem crossings to allow for the movement of people and goods and remove the ban on access to the sea. 

End violations of international law and impunity, including settlement expansions, forcible transfer, demolitions, settler violence, all part of ongoing and illegal de facto annexation of West Bank territory. Immediately lift all movement restrictions on Palestinian communities in the West Bank to allow the movements of goods and services. 

Take action at the UN Security Council to reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions calling for a nonviolent resolution of disputes, the reversal of the annexation of Greater East Jerusalem and the preservation of the status quo at holy sites.           

NVI supports nonviolent political resolution of the conflict by ending the systemic policies of oppression and discrimination of Palestinians, including the 16-year siege on Gaza and 56-year military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including. East Jerusalem.

We hope you will find this helpful and will share it with others.


US Boats to Gaza is a fiscally sponsored partner of NVI and a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more below. 

In this video, Ann Wright, a leader of US Boats to Gaza, Veterans for Peace, and Code Pink interrupts the US Secretary of State to call for a Cease Fire Now. Timestamp 1:45


Check out this powerful video (from before the latest crisis), learn more about their important work, and please consider supporting this creative constructive nonviolent movement


 

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