We Are All Part of One Another - Webinar Series
Jonathan Kuttab's Book Launch - The Truth Shall Set You Free
Thursday September 28, 2023, Noon-1:30pm ET
Hosted by Maia Carter Hallward, with Special Guest Mubarak Awad, NVI Founder.
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.
You can purchase Jonathan Kuttab's book here.
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 12th, inspired by our action, new activists from around the country again put a climate emergency sign on the fence and were arrested.
September 13th, another set of activists protested at the White House Fence!
September 14th, 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.
Here is a LINK to video of their protest!
September 22nd, more protests led by Native Americans at White House Fence
September 28th, Kai Newkirk interrupted President Joe Biden's speech in Arizona.
Various outlets covered Kai's disruption:
October 1st, Mehdi Hasan covered Kai's disruption and put it into conversation with the narrative in climate scientist, Michael Mann's recent book.
The climate 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 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:
Our wonderful partner, The Center for Jewish Nonviolence, is bringing 6 to 8 Jewish justice-seekers to spend four months in Masafer Yatta engaging in daily solidarity activities, accompaniment and human rights documentation work–deepening relationships of coresistance and supporting Palestinian efforts to resist displacement, dispossession, and forced transfer. Throughout the four months, participants will work to communicate their experiences and work with Palestinian activists to highlight their stories to transnational audiences, crafting narratives that can advance coresistance efforts.
Find out more and apply before December 1st, 2023 at https://cjnv.org/hineinu
Update: These are devastating days, full of so much pain and grief and so much work to do. The notion of solidarity itself is tested at times like these, which means the work that the Center for Jewish Nonviolence is doing is especially important right now. The situation is shifting rapidly, and as it does CJNV is preparing for their next on-the-ground sustained solidarity cohort of Hineinu, which brings 6 to 8 Jewish justice-seekers to spend four months living in Masafer Yatta to engage in urgently needed solidarity work with Palestinian partner communities facing ongoing settler-state violence.
Earlier CJNV wrote...
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 December 1st.
|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.
Learn more and apply at https://cjnv.org/hineinu
(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.
The Siege of the Khaya Sisters in 2021 and 2022.
A report with photos can be found here.
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.”
Nonviolence International's History of Nonviolent Action in Western Sahara
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.
Resources on 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.
Donate to support NVI's ongoing efforts to promote nonviolence in Western Sahara here.
(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:
- Learn about Mubarak’s life story. You can start with this video. Then check out the links and short quotations below.
- Take Action - Tell at least two people who don’t yet know about Mubarak that we are approaching the first ever “Mubarak Awad Day” and that you are celebrating by spreading the word a) about the power of active nonviolence, b) the ongoing suffering / resistance of the Palestinian people, and c) by protecting his legacy.
- Protect his legacy by donating to NVI. Any amount would be most appreciated, but to celebrate this momentous occasion we are particularly looking to inspire large multiyear gifts that can help transform the power of the organization he founded. Together, in his honor, we must find a way to rise to the challenges before us. Consider adding NVI to your will to celebrate his legacy and make real his vision of a peaceful world where the worth and dignity of all people everywhere is protected.
(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."
Please add your voice to this global celebration by filling out this simple Google Form.
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
NVI staff present and past, board, former interns, and supporters gathered at the investiture of Mohammed Abu-Nimer to the Abdul Aziz Said Endowed Chair of Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service at the American University on September 28th. Abdul Aziz Said was a founder and long standing board member of NVI, and Mohammed Abu-Nimer is a current board member. Present were former NVI staff, Betty Sitka, Karim Crow, Asna Husin, NVI Director Michael Beer, NVI partner Bassam Ishak and his son Said, former intern Majid Abu-Nimer, NVI counsel Bill Espinosa, NVI founder, Mubarak Awad and spouse Nancy Nye, and many NVI supporters including Lester Kurtz, Bobby Herman, Barbara Wien, the El-Hibri family, Elena Turner, & Saji Prelis.
Below, please see a letter from the President of American University announcing that NVI Board member, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, will serve as the inaugural Abdul Aziz Said Chair in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Dear AU Community,
Establishing faculty chairs not only furthers the scholarly impact of our expert faculty, but also supports changemaking work in our community and around the world. They are a key priority of the Change Can’t Wait campaign to shape AU’s future. In rare instances, a chair can symbolize both a legacy that means so much to our history as an institution and a call to action for our future.
Today, I am announcing a new chair in the School of International Service (SIS) that achieves this unique distinction. The Abdul Aziz Said Chair in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, named in memory of one of AU’s cherished scholar-teachers and made possible through the philanthropic support of our dedicated community, will advance the vital SIS charge of “waging peace.”
A three-time American University alumnus (SIS/BS ’54, MA ’55, PhD ’57) and member of the SIS faculty for almost 60 years, Professor Said was a mentor to countless students, a friend to generations of AU faculty and staff, and a pioneer in his field. Over his decades of scholarship, Professor Said was sought out by peace activists, policymakers, and thought leaders for his expertise. Diplomats and international delegates often stopped by his campus office for advice on addressing issues of violence, extremism, peace negotiation deadlocks, and conflicts in the Middle East. His innovative thinking and inclusion of disparate perspectives in his scholarship—including spirituality and religion, the promotion of human dignity, human rights and human development, and the social inequity and injustice that fueled conflict among groups and nations—forever shaped the field of international affairs.
As a lifetime champion of peace and conflict resolution, Professor Said modeled the ideals of his scholarship in his own life. For instance, in the 1950s, when Jewish students were excluded from already established organizations on campus, Professor Said stepped forward to help create the AU chapter of the Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity. Serving as faculty advisor for decades, he is fondly remembered by the Phi Epsilon Pi brothers for helping to foster their enduring friendships.
Established in the memory of this true AU changemaker, the endowed Said Chair was made possible through the generosity of numerous alumni, Phi Epsilon Pi brothers, friends, and family and matched by the university in its commitment to honor Professor Said and the important work of the chair. This collective fundraising effort was led by his wife, Elena Turner, SIS/BA ’82, who was instrumental in working with Dean Shannon Hader and the SIS community. The philanthropic investment of our community to honor Professor Said reflects the incomparable impact his work, guidance, mentorship, and empathy made on the lives of students, faculty, and practitioners worldwide.
Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer will serve as the inaugural Abdul Aziz Said Chair in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Professor Abu-Nimer is a prolific scholar with more than 35 years of teaching, including 22 years alongside Professor Said. He currently serves in the SIS International Peace and Conflict Resolution program. His work includes extensive research and practice in peacebuilding in divided societies; nonviolence, dialogue, and religion; the application of conflict resolution models in Muslim communities; Palestinian-Jewish relations in Israel, faith-based peacebuilding, and impact evaluation of peacebuilding interventions.
He received the PEACE Distinguished Scholar Award from the International Studies Association and the International Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, both earlier this year. He is the president and founder of the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice; served several years as a senior advisor of KAICIID Dialogue Centre, an international organization specializing in interreligious and intercultural dialogue; and was director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute in SIS for 13 years.
Professor Abu-Nimer will carry Professor Said’s legacy to a new generation of scholars and continue to expand SIS’s reputation for “waging peace.” Supporting our faculty scholarship is a cornerstone of our strategy and the Change Can’t Wait campaign. It provides opportunities for our community to learn with foremost experts and to provide actionable research and knowledge that directly impacts the greatest challenges of our time.
Please join me in congratulating Professor Abu-Nimer and thanking the community for supporting his scholarship and honoring the legacy of Professor Said.
Sylvia M. Burwell
President, American University
2023 Distinguished Scholar Award goes to...
Mohammed serves on NVI's Board of Directors and has just been chosen as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Scholar Award of the Peace Studies Section of the International Studies Associations. The award is given each year to a scholar who has a substantial record of research, practice and/or publishing in the field of peace and conflict studies. The selection committee was deeply impressed by the breadth and quality of his work on interreligious conflict resolution and faith-based peacebuilding, interfaith dialogues, and on incorporating peace and forgiveness into pedagogy in the Muslim world, his expertise in conducting interfaith dialogue workshops and trainings across the world, as well as his institution - and organization - building work. Congratulations on your selection!
At the upcoming 2023 International Studies Association conference which will take place in Montreal, Canada (March 15th – March 18th ) Mohammed was invited to the Distinguished Scholar Awards Roundtable that will celebrate his many contributions to the field.
Congratulations and thank you for all you do Mohammed.
NVI is proud to be associated with your visionary leadership for a better world.
US Rep. Pramila Jayapal recently was rebuked by many in the Congress of the United States for her statement that Israel is a racist state. Her statement is tragically correct. When people who speak important and difficult truths are attacked, the purpose is not just to silence them but also to intimidate others. We at NVI reject this. The world needs more brave people ready to speak unpopular truths raising up our shared humanity. Rep. Jayapal has been a consistent voice for the worth and dignity of all people. In the video below, you will see how she spoke powerfully with Nonviolence International. As she stood with us, when she is under attack, we stand with her and all those willing to speak truth about the sad reality of human suffering. Together we seek to find a path forward to a better world for all. Facing hard truths is an essential part of that path.
I want to point out that nothing that she said was controversial. If Representative Jayapal is wrong, then so are all the experts and the advocates that study this issue and that apply it across the globe. So, the attack on her is actually a bullying and harassment attack that is meant to scare everyone else from even having a conversation and acknowledging this reality on the ground, and, most importantly, taking responsibility for it.
The United States is not just a bystander here. The United States is complicit and a pillar of Israeli apartheid in its provision on unequivocal financial, diplomatic and military support, that, but for that support, Israel could not sustain this regime, which is not surprising, which is not surprising at all, because the U.S. was the last pillar to fall, the last domino to fall, in sustaining apartheid in South Africa, where it had to fall in line with everyone else. But during apartheid South Africa and the international campaign against it during that regime’s tenure, the United States issued the most vetoes within the Security Council to protect apartheid there, just — to protect apartheid in Namibia and South Africa, and here we’re seeing a similar pattern.
As to the way that Representative Jayapal amended her statement, note that she didn’t walk it back. She didn’t say that Israel is a racist state. She wanted to make a distinction between Israeli people and the Israeli government.
Please see this moving video of Rep. Jayapal speaking to NVI.
Nonviolence International-Ukraine has worked for the last 9 years actively to promote peacebuilding in Ukraine and to support nonviolent resistance to the war. You can see below an introduction to some of this work. You will also find action items that you can carry out.
In March-April 2023 NVI-Ukraine Director Andre Kamenshikov undertook a fascinating and important trip to many countries to assess the willingness and capability of the “new” Russian diaspora (those who left Russia because of Putin’s war against Ukraine) to effectively communicate anti-war messages back to their home country. The brief report from this mission can be found here.
Take Action: Contact your elected representative and insist on a policy of asylum for conscientious objectors from Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia. This action is still needed to this day. Please make your voice heard and help bring the war to an end.
Feb 14, 2023 - Renowned historian Lawrence Wittner has written a beautiful Homeage to Russian War Resisters.
He writes, "courageous war resisters should remind us that, despite the violence of the Putin regime, a better Russia is possible."
Public Opinion on the War and Anti-War Messaging in Russia
Documenting/Monitoring Russian Public Opinion. NVI-Ukraine is helping ordinary Russian citizens with anti-war messaging from NVI's internal public opinion and messaging reports. Although Russia is a dictatorship - public opinion does matter a lot. In fact, the Russian government is not able to currently sell to its own population the concept of an all-out war against Ukraine, thus it uses euphemisms such as a "special military operation" etc. Due to this - the government cannot announce a full mobilization, it does not have the legal instruments to send people to the battle zone against their will and so on. The reports are researched and produced by a volunteer team through out Russia.
Police Officers Arresting Protesters in St.Petersburg (Source: Aljazeera)
We are also proud to share this visionary report written by NVI Ukraine Director Andre Kamenshikov. This work is a result of effective collaboration between NVI and the Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR).
NVI Director, Michael Beer, spoke about the power of Nonviolent Direct Action and discussed the war in Ukraine. He introduces the mechanisms of nonviolent action and suggests nonviolent approaches for ending the war in Ukraine.
OTHER PAST WORK AND ACTION ITEMS
Coordinating GPPAC. NVI-Ukraine serves as the coordinator of the Eastern European Network for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). GPPAC is the longstanding network of peace groups in the region. GPPAC has long worked to ameliorate internal ethnic, religious and community conflicts in Ukraine and the region.
On February 22nd, 2022, NVI-Ukraine and GPPAC call for an immediate cessation of all military actions which threaten the lives and livelihoods of citizens of all countries involved. In particular, we urge:
- All parties to uphold obligations under international humanitarian law regarding conduct during wartime.
- The international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine.
- Third parties, especially EU countries, to provide safe haven for those people who do not wish to take part in wars of aggression.
We call on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (and all countries in the world) to honor the conscientious objection of their own citizens and of those in the opposing military forces. We call on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to cooperate with 3rd countries and swiftly transfer them abroad if the resisters so request. If countries would like to be more generous to these courageous war resisters, then they should offer asylum to their immediate families as well. If the soldiers do not fight, then wars cannot be fought.
Nonviolent Resistance in Ukraine. Nonviolence International assisted nonviolent civil resistance in areas occupied by Russian forces in 2022. While the focus of international media has been primarily on the military resistance of Ukraine to Russian aggression, ordinary unarmed citizens in areas occupied by Russia have been courageously demonstrating their resolve to remain with Ukraine by nonviolent means. In August and September, Nonviolence International co-organized meetings of Ukrainian civil activists who spent months in areas occupied by Russia and were organizing different actions of civil resistance. One outcome of the meeting was to support the establishment of underground clandestine schooling in occupied Ukraine. Here is a report written by Felip Daza Sierra of NOVACT, that documents Ukrainian nonviolent resistance in the first half of 2022. NVI Director, Michael Beer' book, Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century, is cited often in the text and Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine Director is thanked in the acknowledgements. Nonviolent Resistance in Ukraine is currently marginal and not now a focus of NVI's work.
As the war drags on, Russia's key military objectives remain unfulfilled. Our hope is that if anti-war attitudes and resistance will continue to grow, while the motivation of those who support the government remains insufficient, this will put the country's leadership in a situation where it will have no other option as to seek peace and discontinue its imperialist policies.
Facilitating Understanding. NVI-Ukraine continues to work closely with a variety of international efforts to facilitate visits, meetings, delegations, humanitarian efforts, and project explorations. We would like to draw attention the work of Nonviolent Peaceforce, Patrir, and PAX. We also speak out to the media on nonviolent alternatives in Ukraine, Russia, and the region. See below for media interviews.
Demonstrators for Peace (Source - Dmitry Serebryakov/AP Photo)
Preventing Nuclear War! Nonviolence International-Ukraine is deeply concerned about the possibility of Russia exploding nuclear weapons or destroying the nuclear power plants in Ukraine. NVI drafted a letter in April, NVI called on people around the world to appeal to Chairman Xi and Prime Minister Modi to call Putin to dissuade him from exploding nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Take Action: Please contact the governments of China and India to dissuade President Putin from exploding nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Nonviolence International is proud that Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine director, was part of this impressive gathering.
Civil Resistance in Ukraine and the Region
How does civil resistance work and what can it achieve? This panel shares how civilians are using strategic civil resistance to diminish the power and impact of the Russian military.
In Ukraine, civilians replace road signs to confuse Russian military vehicles, they block roads with cement blocks and iron pins, and they have set up a complex humanitarian aid system with neighboring countries. Within Russia, protests and resignations by universities, media outlets, and professionals denounce the military invasion. Join us to learn more about the strategy of civil resistance in Ukraine and the region.
Panelists include leading experts in civil resistance, some joining us from the frontlines in Kyiv.
February 25, 2022: English-Speaking Expert Available to Speak to Media from Ukraine.
Michael Beer speaks with Metta Spencer about reaching out to Russians to end the war. https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-459-reach-out-to-russians/
Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine Director, speaks on March 2, 2022 Democracy Now!: Nonviolence Int'l in Kyiv: Resistance Mounts to Russian Invasion as 2,000 Civilian Deaths Reported
Andre Kamenshikov speaks with NVI intern Paige Wright on March 7, 2022: Interview with Andre Kamenshikov: Violence in Ukraine and a Call for Peace
Andre Kamenshikov speaks on WORT radio on March 9, 2022: Kamenshikov on Russia's 8 Year War in Ukraine
Below is a collection NVI's press releases and statements from other organizations we support.
The Humanitarian Disarmament website launched a new Ukraine War and Disarmament Resources page to increase public understanding of the humanitarian disarmament issues raised by the war in Ukraine and to serve as an information center for advocates, journalists, and others.
Former NVI Intern now teaching English in Prague shares her perspective as war refugees are welcomed.
Our friends at the Metta Center for Nonviolence have created this impressive list of relevant resources.
Don't miss this collection from the Transnational Institute.
Daniel Hunter says Ukraine's Secret Weapon may prove to be Nonviolent Direct Action.
Stephen Zunes calls on us to Support International Law Everywhere
John Feffer asks that we Support Diplomacy and the OSCE
Joanne Sheehan notes that war is a crime against humanity on the Metta Center's podcast.
There is enormous civilian resistance to this war around the world. In Russia, hundreds of thousands of people have protested with signs and chanting in the streets and more than 7000 have been arrested. In Ukraine we see enormous civil resistance with tactics including various kinds of blockades, mutual aid, changing streets signs, boycotting Russian products, direct appeals to soldiers, singing. Please visit our database of 350 tactics that can inspire people around the world to do something at this time.
In May 2023 I and forty other diaspora Jews joined the Center for Jewish Nonviolence (CJNV) in Palestine to engage in coresistance with Palestinians and learn from them about the daily reality of apartheid. During our time in Occupied East Jerusalem and Masafer Yatta in Area C the policies of ethnic cleansing that are hard to grasp from afar became real to me. So did the power of Palestinian resistance and steadfastness on their land.
A group of us spent several days in Sfai, a village in the southern part of the West Bank in a region called Masafer Yatta. In the 1970’s Israel declared much of Masafer Yatta as Firing Zone 918, which designates that land for military training and prohibits civilian presence. In May 2022, the Israeli high court ruled to expel the residents of Masafer Yatta living in the twelve villages located in the firing zone, including Sfai. Since then attacks from the Israeli Occupation Forces and settlers have intensified and many demolitions have been carried out.
During the few days we spent in Sfai we helped build a playground, connected with our hosts, and heard stories about resisting forced expulsion. On our first morning in Sfai, Hamdan, an activist in Masafer Yatta, brought us to the site of a demolished school. He told us about the day the school was demolished back in November 2022, how the Occupation forces blocked the doors to the school while the students were inside and started firing stun grenades at the teachers, parents, and other adults gathered. When the young students heard the stun grenades they moved to escape through the windows of the school, a place they once felt safe. And just a few weeks later, the Occupation forces came back and destroyed the tent that the school moved to after the violent demolition.
Occupation forces don’t show up with bulldozers to the Israeli settlement just a mile away, also in Firing Zone 918, even though the firing zone declaration—among other laws—prohibits their presence too. They don’t launch stun grenades at the settlers or trap their children inside of a building about to be demolished. Instead the Occupation forces work in concert with settlers, turning their heads when they attack Palestinians and even arresting Palestinians assaulted by settlers for existing on their land.
Rubble of the demolished school in Sfai
We spent the rest of our time in Sfai working on the playground: installing see-saws, planting trees, and building a fence to make it harder for settlers to damage the equipment. At the end of our last evening in Sfai, many residents joined us on the playground. Kids were running around and playing on the equipment, asking us to play games and push them on the swings. We chatted with older siblings and parents as the sky filled with the sunset. Just before the sun disappeared completely we started our walk back to our host’s home. On the way back I saw the demolished school in the near distance and felt a wave of grief. I thought about my friends, family, teachers, and rabbis, how we all bought into a vision of safety and liberation that produces this reality. Safety isn’t demolishing schools or homes, or attacking Palestinians on their own land. Liberation cannot come from forced expulsion.
The stories we heard from CJNV’s Palestinian partners made it clear: time and options are running out. Please follow and support the work of Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta as they resist the ongoing Nakba and face forced expulsion from their homes:
- Follow @youthofsumud, @basilaladraa, @ali_awad98, @samihuraini, @hamdan_mo_balall, @awdah.hathaleen, and @humansofmasaferyatta on Instagram. Please engage with their posts on social media and support their work by sharing their profiles and posts.
- For those in the US, demand that congress take action now to stop the violent, forced expulsion of the people of Masafer Yatta.
Please also support our partners and movements working for justice in Palestine:
- Join the Center for Jewish Nonviolence on the ground for the Olive Harvest later this year. Note the application deadline, July 14th, 2023.
- Support our fiscally sponsored partners working for justice in Palestine: Hebron International Resource Network, We Are Not Numbers, Holy Land Trust, and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.
- Get involved in a movement or organization working for justice in Palestine–reach out to us if we can help guide or connect you.
At NVI our eyes have been on Jenin. As images and first hand accounts of the attacks by the Israeli Occupation Forces from Palestinians in Jenin have come out, our hearts have been filled with grief. If you have not already, please join Americans for Justice in Palestine Action in demanding Biden, Harris, and Blinken to publicly condemn Israeli assault on Jenin, here and here.
P.S. Check out the articles Center for Jewish Non-Violence delegation highlights the importance of direct action in Palestine solidarity and They teach their children to hate by CJNV delegates about our experience on the ground in May!
Tess Greenwood is the Office and Intern Manager at Nonviolence International. She is a member of IfNotNow, the movement of American Jews organizing their community to end U.S. support for Israel's apartheid system and demand equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis. She first joined the Center for Jewish Nonviolence on the ground in Palestine in June 2022 and has since participated in the Olive Harvest and the spring 2023 delegation with a focus on supporting delegates to bring their experiences back to their communities at home.
(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)