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 Olive Harvest delegation. Please see below, consider applying yourself, and / or share with others in your community. They have made it easy for us by providing clear concise language and social media share graphics.
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. Check out the information below and join me in celebrating the innovative, much-needed work of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.
Our partners at CJNV are bringing Jewish activists from around the world to join in the olive harvest for week-long shifts this October in this timely and impactful act of coresistance.
Learn more and apply by July 14th at https://cjnv.org/olive-harvest/
(Please note: the images below are from Instagram - so no need to swipe and hotlink mentioned in bio is above)
(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)
Please watch this recording of our webinar:
Diaspora Russian War Resisters and Evaders Speak Out
5:15 - Andre Kameshikov, Ukraine
17:19 - Konstantin Samoilov, Uzbekistan
26:00 - Nikita Rakhimov, Kazakhstan
32:00 - Evgeni Lyamin, Georgia
40:10 - Alexei Prokhorenko, Poland
47:45 - Questions and Answers
They movingly shared their stories of exile and opposition to this Russian invasion. They talked about the plight of hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling against Russophobia and visa and financial challenges.
Please listen to these brave Russian voices who have not been heard amidst the din of war. Then, please help spread the word.
NVI Ukraine Director, Andre is now focusing on supporting the anti-war movement in Russia. In March-May, he traveled to many countries to which thousands of Russian war evaders and conscientious objectors have fled. He interviewed some of them and surveyed the plight of diaspora war evaders and has written a short report of his findings. You can find this and other report here.
NVI is hosted a webinar on June 26, 2023 to provide a space for Russians who have fled the war to speak out. Speakers will include NVI-Ukraine Director Andre Kamenshikov and Konstantin Samoilov, now based in Uzbekistan, who will speak about the situation of diaspora war resisters and evaders today. Hundreds of thousands of Russians fled the war to neighboring countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Armenia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. The resistance and plight have not been heard. NVI will also present its plans for organizing communication groups of diaspora to share alternative information with their families and friends in Russia.
Konstantin Samoilov is a Russian energy corporation executive turned an anti-war political activist in exile in Uzbekistan now, the host of INSIDE RUSSIA daily show on YouTube and the creator of Tashkent International Breakfast Club where Russians and Ukrainians meet, make amends and heal. Konstantin’s goals are to shed light on current Russian regime’s actions, to stop Russian aggression in Ukraine, to promote future transformation of Russia, to help Ukraine and to create on-line and off-line international communities where repentance, healing and forgiveness takes place.
Andre Kamenshikov, Director, NVI-Ukraine
Andre Kamenshikov is the director of NVI Ukraine and the regional coordinator of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in Eastern Europe. He has worked as a civil peacebuilding activist in conflict zones throughout the ex-USSR for over 30 years, including as the founder of Nonviolence International–CIS, a civil society organization operating in post-Soviet states for 22 years until its closure due to political backlash in Russia. Kyiv-based for the past eight years, Andre works with the local civil society sector to build capacity to contribute to peace and democratic development in Ukraine. He is the author of a number of publications about the role of civil society in post-Soviet conflicts, including “International Experience of Civilian Peacebuilding in the Post-Soviet Space” and “Strategic Framework for the Development of Civil Peacebuilding Activities in Ukraine."
Nikita Rakhimov is a psychologist-psychotherapist living in Kazakhstan. He now works with Russians who have fled and emigrated in connection with the mobilization for war. Nikita has set up a messaging platform to provide psychological support for other Russian emigres avoiding conscription.
Evgeni Lyamin is a 25 year old civil activist from Moscow, engaging in civil activities focusing on humanitarian and anti-war issues in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is the founder of Emigration for Action, a humanitarian aid organization which fundraises to purchase medical supplies and essential goods for refugees of the war. He is the former Media Literacy & Critical Thinking Training Program Coordinator at "Was It in the News?" and former organizer & editor at Space Policy. Evgeni left Russia right after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Alexei Prokhorenko, independent journalist from Russia, now living in Warsaw, Poland. Alexei left Moscow in late September 2022, after partial mobilization was announced in Russia
Hosted by Barbara Wien
Since 1981, Barbara Wien has worked to end human rights abuses, violence, war, and ecological destruction. She has protected civilians from the death squads in conflict zones and worked to establish 280 programs in the study of peace and conflict resolution on campuses around the world. Barbara is a public scholar and peace practitioner with extensive knowledge of gender violence, peacebuilding, nonviolent social movements, and the political economy of war. She has edited and written 27 books and articles, led eight non-profits, and taught at six universities. Recognized for her leadership and “moral courage” five times by foundations and academic societies, Barbara won the 2022 Mohanji Foundation Award for "Visionary Leadership", and named "Peace Educator of the Year" in 2018 by the Peace & Justice Studies Association (PJSA), a network of 500 campuses in Canada and the U.S. Her students voted her “Professor with the Greatest Impact” in 2018 and 2019, and graduate students voted her “My Favorite Professor” in 2015 and 2017. She was featured in Amy Goodman’s book Exceptions to the Rulers (2003), and the Progressive magazine for opposing the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as a U.S. government official. Her interviews include Canadian Broadcasting, the BBC, Progressive Radio International (PRI), The Washington Post, NBC Nightly News, Defense One, National Public Radio, Australian Broadcasting, Nuclear Times, and further broadcasts in India, Uganda, Zambia, Palestine-Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Winner of the 2022 Mohanji Foundation International Award for Visionary Leadership
"Public Policy and My Journey to Activism," Chapter 9 in Environmental Ethics, 3rd Edition, edited by Michael Boylan, 2022
SIS professor @barbarawien joined Eleanor LeCain on the All Together Now podcast to discuss what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine and options to support Ukrainians, including with nonviolent resistance. https://t.co/IaCm1IeROB— AU SIS (@AU_SIS) June 7, 2022
Police Officers Arresting Protesters in St.Petersburg (Source: Aljazeera)
Demonstrators for Peace (Source - Dmitry Serebryakov/AP Photo)
With thanks to The Fellowship of Reconciliation
and our former fiscally sponsored partner, Waging Nonviolence,
here is my latest article they just published.
Please help spread the word and get this in front of people who don't yet agree with me.
Earlier this month, I attended the large Jewish-led demonstration in Washington, D.C. (un)welcoming Israeli Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich to the U.S. We gathered in the cold rain to say that his remarks celebrating a brutal pogrom — and suggesting the state should take over from the settlers and “wipe out” a Palestinian town — are morally unacceptable and antithetical to the values at the core of our faith. We agree that, in this moment, the future of Israeli democracy is being decided.
I found it quite moving to be among so many Jews united in our outrage and concern. It strikes me that there is much agreement among those gathered, and I get the impression that there are important potential disagreements we should discuss openly. First, let’s focus on the points of agreement between us. Since the protest was organized around letting Smotrich know he doesn’t represent us or Judaism, we can assume there is consensus in opposing his rhetoric and policies.
My ancestors fled Eastern Europe running from violent pogroms. I never imagined that my people — the people of the book and of the Exodus — would make the word “pogrom” relevant and force us to face its clear painful definition. But sadly that is where we are. Turning away from this reality does not make it any less real, but instead blocks our chances of co-creating positive change.
So we stood together in Washington, D.C. to call us forward to a better future. I assume we also agree that Smotrich and his ilk can’t define us out of Judaism. Those who have such a narrow, limited, unloving view of Judaism must not be allowed to decide if we, the vast majority of the world’s Jews, are indeed Jewish. I know who I am. They can never take my identity away from me. Nor yours from you.
I hope we also agree that we must actively oppose any attempts to use warped theological cover as an excuse for what comes down to Jewish supremacy. Every group should celebrate the unique beauty of their traditions, but whenever people suggest that “we” are somehow inherently better than “the other,” danger is close at hand. Anyone who pretends that a “Jewish soul” is superior to all others is warping our faith in a way that undermines our proud history. This belief is having a profound impact on key policy decisions and on people’s lives. Thus, we have a clear and ongoing obligation to call out this evil from within our community.
As Jews, our scripture makes clear that freedom is the universal right of all people. In this moment, I hope we can all agree that Palestinians are human beings deserving of the same basic rights as all other precious human beings. This should not be controversial, but sadly it clearly is.
As we mourn the current state of democracy in Israel, I hope we can also agree that the occupation is corrupting Judaism and leading us down a dangerous path. We were told the occupation was defensive in nature and only temporary. Anyone watching closely now knows that is not accurate. As those who long advocated for a two-state solution, we must admit that approach is no longer possible. Instead we are called to the difficult and essential task to find a way to live together.
Maybe those with me on the street that day are not yet in agreement about some of what I’ll raise below, but I hope — building on the major points of agreement above — we can engage in mutually respectful dialogue about these other vital issues. And, at the end of this piece, I offer an invitation to begin that conversation.
Some who gathered to greet Smotrich seem to be of the belief that all was well prior to the last election. They suggest that somehow we could restore a democracy by avoiding the worst excesses of this new extreme government. I’m not Israeli, but instead, like most on the street that day, I’m one of many American Jews who have cared about the region for years. When we came together to let Smotrich know he was not welcome, we brought with us a range of beliefs and approaches to street protest. Remember the old joke about a gathering of Jews always having one more opinion than people? It proved true that day.
I’ve organized many events and I understand the valid concern about message discipline. Still, it was troubling that those in the large group with many Israeli flags were harshly unwelcoming of Palestinian flags joining in. From my perspective, the image of those flags together better represents our deep concerns about Israeli democracy itself. With deliberate intent, Israelis have been told that the Palestinian flag is a symbol of hate. We’d be much better off if people could understand the flag and the familiar head scarf (keffiyeh) as symbols of a people whose basic human needs have not been met. Of course, that vast understatement does not adequately reflect the scope of Palestinian suffering that should concern us all.
It is self-evident to me that you can’t have a healthy democracy while actively implementing oppressive policies that demean the basic humanity of others. If you have another view, I’d like to understand it. I celebrate those standing up for democracy in Israel and ask them to extend their compassion to include Palestinians. It seems to me that any true understanding of democracy requires this simple and essential step.
The changes we need to make are systemic, and still we recognize that all systems are built on individual actions. What we each do over time creates the system we live in. Maybe if those of us who ended up on that same street, at the same time, can find a way to better understand each other, we can do our small part to help create that larger system-wide change we so desperately need. Having celebrated dialogue groups in the past, I now see both their power and their limitations. It seems they can give good-hearted caring people something meaningful to do while the oppressive structure remains firmly in place. Still, in these troubled times, I’m not willing to give up on communication between people, even those with fundamental disagreements.
So I invite each of you reading this to check out the Global Town Hall that took place on Tuesday, March 28. We gathered to hear from two renowned nonviolent Palestinian scholars and activists, one just returned to the U.S. and the other joining us while on a trip to the region. These smart visionary leaders are worth listening to.
Of course, this is not the only opportunity to listen to Palestinians or engage with others coming to terms with what is happening in the world these days. If you couldn’t make this particular conversation, please find others. Consider getting in touch with me and seeing what kind of forum we might craft together. In particular, I ask readers to help get this piece in front of the new organization UnXeptable and the longtime Progressive Israel Network, which both played key roles in the protest.
To all those who were with us on the street that day and to those with us in spirit, let’s build on our shared concern for peace and democracy in the region and be ready to listen and learn together as we seek a path forward to a better future. We all agree that we stand at a crossroads. For many of us, this perilous moment is deeply frightening, but we must not hide from that fear. I still believe that if we work together it might also prove to be a moment of opportunity. The veil has been lifted. Let us be brave enough to see clearly the challenges we face and together find a way to overcome them.
NVI is interested in supporting efforts to provide direct relief to the residents of Huwara.
If you can, please consider making a donation.
If you give, please let us know it is for this purpose.
(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)
Nonviolence International is deeply concerned about recent events in Sudan.
Sudanese civil society is united both home and abroad in opposing the Rapid Support Forces (militia) and the Sudanese Army in their fight for power. The country has been in a transition period since the dictator Al-Bashir was removed from power in 2019. The people of Sudan want democracy and an end to corruption. They are now suffering enormous humanitarian hardships because of the fighting. They are crying out for help. The violent solutions to Sudan's condition are not working. Nonviolence is the only way to a vibrant inclusive Sudan.
NVI Director, Michael Beer, spoke at a Sudanese led rally on June 3rd in Washington, DC at the US Capitol. He suggested to the crowd to
1) Ask the US and other governments to provide more humanitarian aid, visas for refugees, and to pressure the neighboring countries to support civil society and democracy in Sudan.
2) Support the white flag campaign which was started by Sudanese people in Khartoum. Let’s encourage everyone to display white flags on their social media platforms and homes and cars calling for a ceasefire and a return to democracy. Please see more here.
Please donate to NVI to support nonviolent solidarity work for Sudan.
Social media accounts to follow and support:
Hashtags to learn more about the Sudanese resistance:
November 24th, 2021 - Our good friend, community organizer, and nonviolence activist, Mubarak Elamin was featured on Metta Center's podcast talking about Sudan. Check out this transcript which also includes an impressive conversation with our new partner Solidarity 2020 and Beyond.
He also gave a powerful interview on WBAI radio. His remarks begin at the 10:38 mark.-(WBAI Radio Link)
As with all issues, NVI is committed to bringing our values forward. That includes raising up local leaders. We know those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. In this case, we were deeply moved by the nonviolent discipline of the brave leaders in Sudan. Please see updates and action steps from our Sudanese colleagues below.
From July 2020
Nonviolence International is thrilled to share this video featuring our impressive friends and colleagues educating us about the people power nonviolent revolution in Sudan and the current challenges they face today.
The brave nonviolent revolution in Sudan inspires us and deserves our active support. Instead the US government is blaming them for the past actions of the very brutal regime they fought to remove from power. Our moral obligation is clear and in this instance lines up well with our strategic interests. We should 1) immediately remove the sanctions, and 2) lead an international effort to provide much needed humanitarian support so that the transitional government can succeed.
Our speakers include Khartoum-based experts: Asma Ismail Ahmed - a well known civil society activist, Anthony Haggar - a prominent businessman and influential leader, as well as Jalelah Sophia Ahmed - a leader in the Sudanese diaspora in Washington DC. US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal joins us to speak about what US and global citizens can do to help.
Our host is Michael Beer, NVI Director, who provided much needed support for the Sudanese people during the uprising.
Anthony Haggar - 6:25
US Rep. Pramila Jayapal - 16:13
Asma Ismail Ahmed - 29:53
Jalelah Sophia Ahmed - 38:36
Q&A and Group Discussion - 45:12
Below is a clip from the same webinar featuring US Representative Pramila Jayapal speaking about the people power nonviolent revolution in Sudan. She represents Washington's 7th congressional district and is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Rep. Jayapal joined us for a webinar led by our Sudanese colleagues.
She has just released an important new book. Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change. https://thenewpress.com/books/use-power-you-have
You can follow her on Twitter @RepJayapal.
For more on this important topic, please see:
From October 2020
NVI is proud to announce Michael Beer and Mubarak Elamin's (of the Sudan Policy Group) recent and important piece on Common Dreams. In their op-ed, they call on the US to revoke its decision to extort $335 million from the Sudanese People. Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world with not enough food or medicine for their citizens. Thus, punishing the people of Sudan for overthrowing their dictator in a nonviolent revolution is nonsensical.
Here is a short snippet from the article:
"US policies are adding to a nightmare for the Sudanese people who have just suffered from the worst flooding in a century. While the US wasted a year to free Sudan from this terrorist designation, Sudan was unable to trade worldwide and obtain support from multilateral institutions to rebuild its economy and deal with covid19. The US is extorting the Sudanese people for the terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda on US citizens. However the Sudanese people and the present government are in no way responsible for those criminal acts. It was the government of the Sudanese dictator Al-Bashir that protected Al Qaeda during the early to mid-1990s, prior to the attacks against U.S. interests in Kenya and Tanzania. In 2019, the Sudanese people revolted in a nonviolent struggle and successfully ousted the dictator and his ruling party. The new government has succeeded in signing peace agreements ending three civil wars.
The victims of bombings deserve reparations. If reparations are to be paid, let the US and Saudi Arabia lead the way. The US and Saudi are not solely responsible for Al Qaeda but their policies greatly boosted its growth. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden who used the Saudi supported Salafi theology to create a violent group opposing non-Sunnis and, ironically, later to the Saudi monarchy. Its success was attributed to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and by the US support for Israel."
From September 2020
As some of you may know, Nonviolence International has been collaborating closely with brave nonviolent activists working in Sudan. We just received this amazing photo of a mural that was recently completed. We are told this is at the crossroads of major roads that connect Khartoum North with Omdurman in Sudan.
The mural displays the names of friends and allies who have supported the nonviolent movements in Sudan during their time of crisis. You will see the names of:
Michael Beer - Director of Nonviolence International.
Stephen Zunes - Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco with a concentration in strategic nonviolence. Long time supporter and colleague of NVI.
Michael Nagler - President of the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education, and Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Long time support of NVI.
Stephanie Van Hook - Executive Director of the Metta Center.
Steve Williamson - Human rights activist and educator.
Walter Turner - Host of Radio, KPFK, about Africa and the African Diaspora.
Pramila Jayapal - Washington State representative in Congress and Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.
Michael Beer and NVI provided support for the people of Sudan by
- Offering webinars on nonviolent resistance seen by 350,000 people.
- Spoke at major Sudan protests in Washington, DC.
- Provided expert testimony for a Congressional briefing on Sudan,
- Provided daily coaching for some of the mediators from May through July.
- Raising humanitarian funds for the nonviolent resistance.
We have co-founded a new Sudanese network called Madania. This is a network of Sudanese educators who want to promote civic education in Sudan. After being under a dictator for 30 years, many people don’t know how to participate in their own governance. Madania will be mapping the extent of civic education (human rights, nonviolence, voter, political party, etc) efforts in Sudan, begin creating networks of Sudanese civic educators, and provide a vehicle on the internet for mass education on citizen empowerment. Please support us monthly as we continue our Sudanese solidarity work.
We thank the Sudanese for creating and sharing this beautiful mural and for the deep and lasting impact their brave, creative, and constructive witness has had on all of us.
In these challenging times, the Sudanese people inspire us to keep focused on the much needed transformation in our own society.
Summary: In 2019, Sudanese activists succeeded in ending the autocratic rule of Omar al-Bashir and instituting democratic reforms. However, on 25 October 2021, the Sudanese military led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took control of the government in an attempted military coup. At least five senior government figures were initially detained. Civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok refused to declare support for the coup and on 25 October called for popular resistance; he was shifted to house arrest on 26 October. Widespread internet outages were also reported. Later the same day, the Sovereignty Council was dissolved, a state of emergency was put in place, and a majority of the Hamdok Cabinet and a large number of pro-government supporters had been arrested.
Major civilian groups including the Sudanese Professionals Association and Forces of Freedom and Change called for civil disobedience and refusal to cooperate with the coup organisers. Mass protests took place on 25 and 26 October against the coup, with lethal responses by the military. At least 10 civilians were killed and over 140 injured during the first day of protests. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Information and the Prime Minister's Office refused to recognize the transfer of power, stating that the coup was a crime and that Hamdok remained Prime Minister.
Sudan action steps in 2019:
Please contact your governments to demand a strong response in opposition to the putsch. Special attention should be paid to countries that have not condemned the coup including Egypt, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
We are asking all Sudanese-Americans and Friends of Sudan in the United States to call the leaders below and ask them to hold an emergency hearing on the crisis in Sudan.
Civil society in Sudan is calling on all Sudanese and the world to fly white flags for a ceasefire and a return to democracy.
Unfortunately, the Sudanese Army has threatened anyone calling for a ceasefire as a traitor to the army and the nation. Fighting has been particularly severe in Khartoum and in the west of Sudan. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Wednesday that as many as 2.5 million more people could slip into hunger in Sudan as a result of the conflict, raising the number of people suffering acute food insecurity to 19 million.
More than 700,000 people are now internally displaced by battles that began on April 15, and another 150,000 have fled the country, UN agencies said this week.
People in Khartoum are without food, water, and cash. Electricity and internet are intermittent.
Many people have died. All the major factories of Khartoum have been destroyed.
Besides just trying to survive, Sudanese civil society is largely united in calling for a ceasefire and return to Democracy. Here is a political statement of the Civilian Front to Stop the War and Restore Democracy, that was largely organized by the neighborhood committees and has wide support.
Please fly a white flag at your home and on your social media.
Here are photos from Sudan of white flags flying outside homes and buildings. Thes are flown often a personal risk.
US groups are speaking up as well as people in Sudan.
The Adams Center in Virginia USA speaks out strongly for a ceasefire.
Friends Peace Teams from many countries meeting in Pennsylvania call out for a ceasefire and a transition to democracy in Sudan.
To see NVI's earlier work on Sudan, please visit this page.
NVI Raises Up The Good Work of the Damai Pangkal Damai
We met Diah Kusumaningrum, an impressive nonviolent trainer and activist, through collaboration on our Malaysia training.
She just shared with us this impressive report. As far as we know, there is no place else in the world where there has been an ongoing effort to catalogue every nonviolent direct action. They use Gene Sharp's groundbreaking work on NV Tactics and kindly thank NVI's own Michael Beer in this report.
This important work not only records and categoriezes NVDA, but also makes important suggestions on how to increase our impact.
NVI is inspired by all the good work being done around the world. Even as struggle to face the painful reality of the as it is, people everywhere are building towards a better future.
As usual, the annual reflection has 4 parts -- respectively, on Indonesia, maximalist campaigns around the world, issue-based campaigns across the globe, and a special topic.
The first part underlines how nonviolent resistance in Indonesia has stagnated in 2022 and suggests building a number of infrastructures of resistance to overcome it.
The second part highlights how a number of maximalist campaigns around the world stagnated, transformed into (or from) reformist campaigns, or emerged in 2022.
The third offers a global outlook on a number of issue-based campaigns: gender equality, climate justice, and workers’ rights.
The fourth looks into nonviolent resistance in the face of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, calling for the need to revisit and revamp the literature on nonviolent defense and civilian-based defense.
Damai Pangkal Damai is a database project that records nonviolent actions that took place in Indonesia 1999 onwards -- that is, after the fall of Suharto’s dictatorship. Its database can be accessed here: ugm.id/DPDdatabase (case sensitive), its monthly kaleidoscope through Instagram @damaipangkaldamai, and its other products here: linktr.ee/DamaiPangkalDamai
Please feel free to forward the above information to your networks. Also, please do not hesitate to write to me if you have ideas for collaboration or you’d like to be a contributor to next year’s reflection or next month's kaleidoscope. If scholars on democracy studies can put together several annual reports on the state of democracy worldwide, I don’t see why a group of scholars on civil resistance can’t put together an annual reflection on the matter that’s close to their heart.
Once upon a time...
At a time of growing global crisis, a call went out across the land.
People gathered deep in the heart of the troubled empire’s capital - they were full of fear.
Democracy itself was being tested here and around the world.
Violence was built into the economic and social systems.
Hatred followed fear to every part of the globe.
And, at the darkest hour, the light of active nonviolence shown brightly.
Through this free publication they were able to celebrate the youth-led, diverse, global movements claiming a better future.
They searched and came upon a wonderful array of free resources that helped build movements for peace, justice, and planet.
Together the celebrated and supported Nonviolence International's wonderful partners.
Still, many issues plagued the people.
As our tale begins, the concern focused on a swarm of runaway bees.
Yes, runaway bees in the heart of D.C.
What shall we do?
We rely on bees for so much of the food that sustains us.
We love bees, but have also grown to fear them.
They sting and swarm.
And, so the question was asked… who you goin’ call?
The Ghostbusters can’t help us.
We are alone and full of fear.
Just then a lone voice called out.
Quiet at first.
Soon joined by others.
We shall call the Bee Wrangler.
Maybe he can help!
He picked up the swarm and guided them to a new home. He knew that bees like humans are intensely social creatures. He and NVI know that social power has enormous potential to organize new homes and a new society. NVI is not alone in recognizing that we have much to learn from nature in general and bees in particular. For those interested in learning more, please see: Building-beehives-handbook-for-creating-communities This handbook outlines tools and techniques to create organizational communities and community events that provide strategic returns. Using beehives as a whimsical metaphor this book includes specific step-by-step techniques for bringing professionals together to collaborate and produce results.
You may know him as the person who wrote the book about Nonviolent Tactics, but he is also known locally as the Bee Wrangler. Send up the swarm notification and he will be there!
In addition to his beekeeping support services, NVI’s longtime director, Michael Beer, spoke recently with Science for Peace - a Canadian group about the Civil Rights Movement in the US.
Michael Beer shares learnings and re-learnings from the civil rights movement for social movements today. He stresses the need for nonviolence training and tune-ups. The need for strong civil society institutions such as religious groups and labor unions to sustain campaigns. The need to maximize participation particularly by women, girls and the elderly, since they are the majority of the population and that violence by young men often discourages broader participation.
Michael talks about his book Civil Resistance Tactics of the 21st Century. Building on the work of Gene Sharp, Beer has added new tactics and new categories of action to our understanding of nonviolence today.
Michael joined the celebration of former NVI staff leader, Andrés Thomas Conteris 60th Birthday!
While at NVI from 2002-2016, he served as Program Director of the Americas.
The GREAT Joanna Macy joined the PARTY!
So did the wonderful David Hartsough
Solidarity 2020 & Beyond holds historic gathering of nonviolent activists in Nepal
From March 15 to 19th, 2023, NVI Director, Michael Beer joined 75 nonviolent activists from 40 countries in Nepal to strengthen global solidarity, particularly in the global south. We compared stories of organizing campaigns, prisons, and social movements. A child soldier shared stories of organizing for their rights in Nepal, Latin America activists shared the stories of women organizing to find and remember their disappeared loved ones, and African and Myanmar activists shared their struggles against dictators. To learn more about this new transnational network that NVI is fiscally sponsoring, please read more below.
We Are All Part of One Another - Webinar Series
The Crisis of Apartheid: Report Back from Palestine
NVI co-founder, Jonathan Kuttab, was eager to report back from his recent trip home.
He was in conversation with NVI Board member Mohammed Abu-Nimer who joined us during a second recent trip to the region. The event was hosted by Tess Greenwood.
We discussed the current reality on the ground and how to support each other at this difficult time.
0:00 - Tess Greenwood's powerful framing remarks
6:07 - Jonathan Kuttab's moving reflections
22:05 - Mohammed Abu-Nimer's insightful remarks
41:15 - Q&A starting with NVI founder, Mubarak Awad
113:33 - Cosponsors share about their vital work
Our experts, Jonathan Kuttab and Mohammed Abu-Nimer, took time to answer audience questions we didn't have the opportunity to address during the webinar.
Q: How can we lift up Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank in our conversation about Jonathan's book, Beyond the Two State Solution?
A: Unlike the Oslo Process and the two-state solution, my [Jonathan's] vision recognizes that the Palestinians are one people who have been fragmented into separate "communities" with each community seeking to find a separate solution to its problems. In my vision, Palestinians who are refugees have a right to return to Palestine, if they chose to do so, and if someone else is living in their homes or properties (whether in Israel or the occupied territories) the new state will work to provide them with some measure of compensation or alternative housing and land from the public lands. It will also provide settlement, jobs, and training as a form of reparations that does not displace Israeli Jews who have been living in their homes or on their lands.
This measure of relative (not absolute) justice can provide healing, remove the sense of bitterness and injustice, without creating an existential threat to Israeli Jews who can also enjoy the benefits of this state, though not exclusively.
So refugees in all these areas can exercise their right of return with the understanding that they must share the land with Israeli Jews who have immigrated to Palestine/Israel and made it their homeland as well.
Q: What are your recommendations on how to humanize the other?
A: Yes, there is need for each side to humanize the other. The problem is that in the past, efforts to create fraternal relationships have avoided dealing with the roots of the problem and created a false symmetry between the oppressor and the oppressed. Thus it rendered the exercise suspect as an illegitimate reinforcer of an unjust status quo. This is called "normalization" and is rightly rejected by Palestinians.
The challenge is to create opportunities for coresistence, whereby both sides join in activities that confront, and challenge the injustices, rather than reinforce them. This is not done through mere declarations but through actions. When Israelis join a Palestinian led initiative or demonstration, and get equally teargassed or arrested, Palestinians can see the genuineness of their solidarity and do not need to question them about their political positions.
The current situation deliberately separates the two populations who only meet each other in a situation of oppression: as soldiers or settlers or powerful employers holding power over illegal/or permit-controlled labor. Joint activities must recognize the realities of apartheid as they try to break its power and hold over oppressor and oppressed alike.
Q: In terms of changing US foreign policy, I’ve noticed in my local and state Democratic Party very few of us who are advocating equality and freedom for Palestinians are active in party politics. Several people in the county Democratic party told me that they won’t allow discussion of foreign policy because it might lead to discussion of Israel & Palestine. So, they are suppressing discussion of the problem within the state and local party organizations. How can we get more of us to be active and vocal and work toward better candidates for elected office, which would lead to changed policy?
A: I [Mohammed] agree it is important to have an active voice through participation in local and general domestic election campaigns, especially with Democrat and also Republican parties, too. The most direct way is the active membership in the parties themselves and to mobilize and advocate for the cause of ending Israeli occupation. Work through churches and other local civil society organizations can be effective too. These entities are influential in certain local American communities. In the past decade we have seen an increase of diversity among the candidates in such local elections. This is a promising sign for advocacy for Palestinian rights and ending occupation.
Q: I agree with Miko Peled, who clearly states that the only way to dismantle the Israeli apartheid state is to completely isolate them. That is that no country welcomes Israel's politicians, no participation in sports, arts, culture, totally and completely shunned. He thinks this will dismantle Israel and the Zionists and I agree with him completely. Do any of the panelists disagree with this assessment?
A: I [Mohammed] think that the fight against South African apartheid was effective partially due to the fact that many countries took part in the campaign against that regime. I think that similar strategy can be effective to end the Israeli occupation through international isolation of Israeli entities/institutions who directly support the occupation and the apartheid system. At the same time, I think that dialogue and engagement with those who are willing to talk to each other from the two sides based on clear commitment to basic human rights should be endorsed too.
Sponsored by Nonviolence International (NVI).
Special thanks to the Salam Institute
In 2023 Israeli apartheid is intensifying. While Palestinians remain steadfast on their land, the new far right government is outright encouraging settlers to violently attack Palestinians and giving the green light to Occupation forces to carry out explicit ethnic cleansing policies. As more and more people around the world turn their attention to Palestine and demand accountability for apartheid, we will gather for a report back from two Palestinian experts on nonviolence and conflict resolution about their recent experiences on the ground.
Jonathan Kuttab is co-founder of Nonviolence International, the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, and Just Peace Advocates. A well-known international human rights attorney, he has practiced in the US, Palestine, and Israel. He serves as the Executive Director of Friends of Sabeel North America, and as a board member of Nonviolence International and Just Peace Advocates. He was the head of the Legal Committee negotiating the Cairo Agreement of 1994 between Israel and the PLO. Jonathan is the author of Beyond the Two State Solution, which articulates a vision of a binational state that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: how will two peoples live together in some sort of unified state?
Mohammed Abu Nimer is an internationally renowned expert on conflict resolution and dialogue for peace. He serves as a professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution at the American University School of International Service, and as a Senior Advisor to the KAICIID Dialogue Centre, an international organization that specializes in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Mohammed is also a member of NVI's Board of Directors. Prof. Abu-Nimer's research has focused on a wide array of topics in peacebuilding and conflict resolution and has been both author and editor of more than 13 books on faith-based and interfaith peace-building. His more recent areas of focus have included faith-based peacebuilding, interfaith dialogue in peacebuilding and building social cohesion, and pedagogical considerations on incorporating peace and forgiveness education in the Arab world.
Tess Greenwood joined NVI’s staff in August 2022 as the Office and Intern Manager. Tess is a community organizer with a background in youth leadership development and anti-Occupation activism. She holds a BA in Labor Studies from Hampshire College. When she's not working with NVI, Tess organizes with IfNotNow, the movement of American Jews organizing their community to end U.S. support for Israeli Apartheid.