The Movement of Movements is Taking Shape Now!

In a time of growing global crisis, the Poor People’s Campaign came to Washington, DC.

It was a powerful gathering reflecting hard work building the movement of movements many of us have been dreaming of for decades. More words below, but first some photos! 

Let's start with cute kids making key points. This shirt reads, "It Doesn't Have To Be This Way"


This sign from the West Virginia ACLU reads, "Stop Criminalizing Poverty"


The Poor People's Campaign Proudly Declares that We Won't Be Silent!

For those not already familiar with this exciting campaign please scroll down below the final photo. 

(Look closely and notice the two flags displayed here)


The most commonly heard chant on this special day was, "Forward Together. Not One Step Back!" 


Everybody Rises - Lift From the Bottom!


More and more people are coming to see that deep system change is needed. 

"Poverty is the Disease: A New System is the Cure!"


The Youth-Led Climate Movement was well represented. "Fight for a Green New Deal"


"Fund People Not War - Nuclear Weapons are Illegal"


I moved from Maine to DC in 1997 to work for the wonderful Veterans for Peace. Was great to see them out in force at the Poor People's Campaign. Note the US Capitol in the background. VFP is an organization that seeks to abolish the war system using the power and influence of those who have seen the horror of war and understand how militarism is connected to other pressing issues. 

"U.S. Militarism Fuels Climate Crisis"


Veterans for Peace says, "Fight Poverty Not Wars!"


Before the event began there was a special Sabbath service led, in part, by Reb. Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center. He was kind to me when I was little kid in Philly interested in all things peace. As the Sabbath ritual wrapped up, I saw the amazing Jodie Evans of Code Pink and went up to say a quick hello. Code Pink shared an office with the Institute for Policy Studies when I worked there and I hadn't seen her in years. She is a skilled organizer who gets stuff done and she immediately recruited me to march with a Code Pink sign. I picked out a nice one that linked militarism with poverty and was about to head off when Jodie said, "no, you are an educator. How about this one?" She gave me the sign above on the poverty draft and student debt. Unlike the other sign I picked this one had a QR code people could scan and upload their photos to be seen along with all the others uploaded. Jodie gave me a large roll of stickers and flyers and thus made my day even more fun. It was a thrill to see how many people were interested in taking pictures with this sign. I used the sign to engage with dozens of people and each person I spoke with was introduced to the important work of the impressive women-led peace group Code Pink. Thanks Jodie, Medea, Ariel, and all the Code Pink team. Your work inspires us all. 


Code Pink was a notable presence throughout the march. What's this photo of?  Not a war tank. We were in DC, but it is not a think tank, but Code Pink's Peace Tank with clear concise messages "Demilitarize Everything! Food not F-35s. Books not Bombs. Homes not Drones. Everybody's Got a Right to Live." 


Code Pink's beautiful Peace Tank from the other side. Sign reads, "War is Ecocide"


I started with a kid’s shirt. The final photo I'll share sums it all up. This leader's shirt reads simply, "There Comes a Time When Silence is Betrayal"

Yes, dear friends, I think we all know in our hearts that time is now. For far too long we have allowed ourselves to become numb to the totally avoidable daily suffering of precious people living in poverty in the shadow of plenty. That this suffering continues is a result of policy decisions we have made. We will not be silent any longer. At long last, when the interrelated crises are hurting so deeply, the movement of movements we need is underway. 

There are two important truths that are now finally being acknowledged. No one movement - no matter how powerful - can solve the problems facing us today. None of the movements for peace, planet, or justice have any chance to achieve our goals in isolation. But, together we might just bring some light into the world and match the moral clarity with the soul force and political clout sufficient to respond to the urgent challenges of our time. The need to come together is a gift since we realize our movements are connected in fundamental ways. In decades past, we had to debate this fact even with our friends and allies, but now many more people understand that our issues are inextricably linked and can only be solved together. 

At its radical loving best active nonviolence can play a unifying role bringing activists across movements together. Nonviolence should never allow ourselves to be misunderstood to suggest an attempt to police how oppressed people protest, but instead as the Force More Powerful we are just beginning to experiment with. We know Nonviolent Tactics are the tools of liberation (check out our recent webinar on this very topic). 

Nonviolence International celebrates the bold leadership of Rev. William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign. We are inspired by their moral witness and join with them in solidarity asking all our friends and supporters to do whatever you can to help raise up their vital work. 

There are 140 million poor and low-wealth people in the richest country in the world. Somehow we have allowed enormous and totally unnecessary suffering to continue year after year, decade after decade. It is as if we have forgotten our moral obligation to reduce the violence inherent in the way our society is structured. We at NVI ask - how have Americans become accepting of violence in their economy? How do our actions at home and abroad impact others living in poverty? 

Those who recently lectured on how Dr. King would have felt about property destruction seemed to have missed his larger point. We must recognize the humanity of all people. That recognition requires long-delayed and bold action. The time for small ideas is over. This movement, rooted in the leadership of poor people, deserves the active support of all who consider themselves to be committed to nonviolence. 

Focusing our attention on those who are most in need has long been a central guiding principle of active nonviolence. For those interested in history, please see how Dr. King’s final campaign echoes in the work we are engaged in today. 

See our earlier post on this topic that explores Gandhi and King’s moral commitment: 

https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/in_this_time_of_crisis

Here is the full livestream of the event. So much to love here. Great music, visionary leaders, hearing directly from those most impacted, and a spirit of revolutionary love and solidarity. Rev. Barber's energy as emcee in call and response created a powerful united flow to the program. His speech is among the best I've ever heard. Find it at: 2:01. Phyllis Bennis, the great scholar of Middle East peace (whose office was next to mine when I was at the Institute for Policy Studies) speaks at 3:49. She reminds us that budgets are moral documents and shares hard truths about how the US Federal Budget is distorted to value war above all else. As usual, Rev. Cornell West knocks it out of the park noting the importance of international solidarity. Check to out at: 4:20 or just watch the whole video and be inspired by the emerging movement of movements. As they say, this is, "A Moral Revolution of Values" and it has come to us in these crucial years. May we embrace this movement, help it grow, and claim our future. 

Latest posts

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


 

Activists discuss global nonviolent movement for Palestinians April 8th

Don't miss this important event!

Join us on our youtube live channel, Youtube/nonviolence to watch this discussion of activist leaders on global solidarity and resistance for justice in Palestine.

 


 

(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.


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


 

Mennonite Action Day of Action March 29, 2024

Send Aid Not Bombs, March 25-29, 2024

See a map of actions around the USA

 

For more information check out their website: https://www.mennoniteaction.org/

Donate here. 


 

 

Mennonite Action Prayer Service For Ceasefire in Gaza in the US Congress on January 16, 2024

Don't miss this prominent and positive coverage in the Washington Post. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2024/01/16/gaza-protest-cannon-building-mennonite-action/


We are people of God’s peace.

Mennonite Action is a movement of Mennonites bonded by a common belief that we must be public about our peace values. We believe that Mennonites have a responsibility to use our voices as powerfully as possible for the cause of peace and justice. We are taking public action as Mennonites. We are mobilizing Mennonites across the US and Canada to demand a ceasefire, end the US and western funded occupation of Palestine, and build for lasting peace.


 “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic.  It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness...What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.  If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction...And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future.  The future is an infinite succession of presents and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."  -- Howard Zinn

NVI is proud to be the fiscal sponsor for the this important project. Please consider donating here

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