Updates-A Story of Realistic Hope

The Many Faces of Nonviolence - Paula Green

By Nimesh Wijewardane & Rand Engel 

Paula Green, a renowned peace activist, educator, and psychotherapist, passed away on February 21. She was the Founding Director of the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, a nonprofit which facilitates post-conflict resolution, with active programs in more than 30 countries across South and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Paula was the Professor Emerita and founder of the CONTACT Program for Peacebuilding at the School for International Training in Vermont. The CONTACT program invited participants from opposing sides of war- Israelis and Palestinians, Indians and Pakistanis, Hutus and Tutsis- and trained them in the tools of peacebuilding. Paula served on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the steering committee of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. She was a prolific writer, authoring a Training Manual for peacebuilders and several books, chapters, and articles. Paula gained international recognition for her peacebuilding work, receiving the Dalai Lama’s “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” award. Learn more about her incredible life and the many lives she touched on the Karuna Center website and Buddhistdoor Global's remembrance

Paula meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town in 2009, Credit: karunacenter.org

"The roots of our wars can be understood through the examination of greed, hatred and delusion. It’s all about desire, about self. . . Until we change ourselves, and the unjust social structures in which we’ve embedded ourselves, we’re not going to have peace.” ~ Paula Green, Barre Buddhist Center, Spring 2002

Paula receiving the Unsung Heroes of Compassion award from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2009, Credit: karunacenter.org 

NVI supporter and volunteer Rand Engel shared this beautiful remembrance of Paula:

We’ve lost another lion of peace in a time of loss. Such is the passing of Paula Green.

I was truly fortunate to meet Paula at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) around 1985. I was a staff member, Paula a member of the Board of Directors. It was there too, during that time, that Paula met Jim Perkins, another IMS staff member, an anti-war activist and nuclear resister, and gardener with a heart big enough for the world, who became her husband and life partner.

Paula was a professor at the School for International Training and co-director of the Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT) program in Vermont, and founder of the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. She was bridge-builder, a nonviolence trainer and activist who worked in conflict zones around the world.

I’ve slept many nights in Paula and Jim’s home, eaten their fresh vegetables from the garden and home baked bread, talked long hours. She was always open and welcoming, always encouraging – and pushing for – engagement for a better world. After all, she was relentless in seeing the possibility for peace and justice and embraced the responsibility to pursue it.

Of the many missions that Paula undertook around the world, I was fortunate to meet her in a few places over the years: a group she led to meet ethnic minorities in Burmese border jungle lands, 1990 – and then organizing a conference in Washington DC on Burma, which included meeting then a young student activist who made a lot of that conference happen, Michael Beer, now director of Nonviolence International; sitting in on her workshops with Palestinian and Israeli youth in Jerusalem, working with mixed ethnicity peace activists, and traveling through the West Bank in 1996; in Kosovo 2006. She brought experience and strategy, intelligence and vision, warmth and passion, and no-nonsense directness to teaching, facilitating and inspiring.

In recent years, traveling less around the world, she turned attention to being part of Hands Across the Hills an initiative that brought together people from western Massachusetts and eastern Kentucky, often separated by more than miles, in our fractured country, to meet deeply with each other.  She was passionate about this realm of reaching out.

Paula was and is a great soul. She will be missed. 

Rand Engel & Paula Green (center) at the Burma border, 1990 

Jonathan Kuttab is Home in Palestine / Israel to Change the Conversation. Please join us.

Everyone who follows the issue of Palestine / Israel knows we stand today at a critical moment. Not only have efforts to build a lasting peace been stalled for far too long, but facts on the ground have deepened the divisions and locked into place a brutal status-quo that is serving neither side well.

Today, we are pleased to announce that in the midst of this mess, our co-founder Jonathan Kuttab has just arrived home in the region for a month long journey to “change the conversation.” He asks all of us to join him in this effort and to help spread the word and build our collective power.

Four small but mighty groups have joined together in an ad-hoc coalition for peace and justice. Nonviolence International, Holy Land Trust, Just Peace Advocates, and Friends of Sabeel North America are working to support Jonathan’s trip and his larger vision.

Of course, we are not only hoping to help change the conversation, we want to change policy and thus impact people’s lives. And, we can’t do that without your help. So, we make these few clear requests of each of you who read this call.

1) We will be posting updates to this page and our social media accounts. Please come back to this page often and follow all of the groups in this new coalition on social media:

https://twitter.com/fosnalive

https://twitter.com/holylandtrust

https://twitter.com/AdvocatesJust

https://twitter.com/NVIntl


2) If you haven’t already, please read Jonathan’s short book or at least the brief and moving executive summary. Below, you will find several videos we have produced on this issue. The shortest is under five minutes long.

3) Please spread the word. There are some wonderful people already involved in this important effort. But, we also recognize that we currently do not have the clout to make real the changes we desire. So, we ask you to spread the word. Tell others about this effort and have the difficult conversations needed to change the world. Please do talk to people who already agree with us. Activate them or ask them to do even more at this critical moment. And, then stretch yourself to talk to people who see this situation quite differently than you do. To change hearts and minds, it is always helpful to listen first before seeking to be heard. Throughout the conversation remain true to our shared values that all people deserve to live in dignity with their basic human rights protected. Talk to friends, and family. Talk to co-workers and neighbors. Talk with those you fear talking with. Those conversations are never easy, but they can be the most valuable. If you’d like further suggestions on how to have these impactful conversations, please check out this resource from our friend Alex McDonald, a leader of the US Boats to Gaza, a fiscally sponsored partner of NVI.

4) Consider writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. This is one of the most read parts of most newspapers and remains a good way to reach out to new people. Or, if you are more focused on social media, post about this tour using the hashtags #JourneyWithJonathan & #Beyond2States.

5) If you are in the United States, please recognize the central role it plays supporting the ongoing occupation. We are proud to announce that Jonathan’s timely and visionary books has been hand delivered to every single US Senate office. That’s right - all 100 Senators have this book. This is an important step in changing the conversation.


For those looking for a more complete report on Jonathan's travels, please see this wonderful collection from our friends at FOSNA. 

March 1st, 2022, Update.

#JourneywithKuttabNaturally. Here is another update from Jonathan Kuttab, (NVI Co-founder) on his journey which includes a book tour of his book Beyond the Two-State Solution. He also serves as the Director of Frien#journeywithkuttabnaturally
I had a long working meeting with Omar Harami, Director of Sabeel in Jerusalem.
In addition to other ongoing projects, Omar described to me an exciting new project for providing health insurance to West Bank/Gaza Palestinians. Unlike Israel, which provides a universal health insurance system that covers everyone, including East Jerusalem residents, West Bank/Gaza Palestinians have no such privileges and are unable to get affordable health insurance from private companies, either.
Omar proposed and has been organizing the Christian churches, schools, and institutions, and using their collective power to obtain offers from insurance companies that will cover the members and employees of these congregations and institutions at reasonably favorable terms. Lo and behold, the scheme succeeded, and Sabeel is now leading a coalition of organizations from all denominations, who have already signed up 4000 individuals, and the movement is growing!!! As much as $3 million dollars have been collected in fees and over $10,000 a day is being disbursed for medicines, doctor's visits, and hospital fees. All this was done without any outside assistance or subsidies, and has been beyond everyone's expectations. This hearkens back to the days of the Early Church, collectively taking care of the needs of the community while the apostles took care of preaching the Word. Already, Sabeel is considering expanding this experiment to include other areas where the local community can be empowered to meet its needs rather than rely on charity or suffer in silence. I will be writing again on this project and hope to inform the communnity of more such activities by Sabeel in Palestine.
The same day, I went also to Jerusalem and suddenly came across a parade of seven or eight troops of boyscouts and girlscouts marching through Saladin Street in East Jeruaslem. It was a joyously festive sight commemorating the Muslim holiday of Isra' al Mi'rage--referencing the nocturnal journey of the Prophet Mohammad when he visited Jerusalem on his way to heaven, according to Muslim beliefs.
It was sad, however, that there were no Palestinian flags to be proudly paraded. I was told that the Isareli police insisted on this as a condition for allowing the parade to take place, though you could occasionally see a boy scout who had pinned the flag to his lapel, or an organizor who
wore civilian clothes in the colors and shape of the Palestinian flag.
March 4, 2022
#JourneywithKuttab, NVI co-founder from Palestine. A Reflection on Sheikh Jarrah: On my last day in Palestine, I stopped by Sheikh Jarrah again to speak with the families facing eviction.
There was good news. The Israeli Supreme Court, on a rehearing, had just issued that afternoon its decision suspending all evictions indefinitely, declaring that the four families would be considered “protected tenants.” They should pay a symbolic 2400 shekels (around $800) a year into a trust fund until the issue of ultimate ownership of the property is decided, which could take many years.
The court had tried very hard to reach a compromise and was reluctant to issue a decision, in accordance with ordinary Israeli laws, because of the resistance of the families and the international outcry that the situation in Sheikh Jarrah had generated. The decision essentially embodied the compromise that the court had previously suggested to the parties.
While the decision left much to be desired and did nothing to change the apartheid reality of Israeli laws or plans to "Judaize" the Holy City, it did constitute a clear victory for the families and was a clear indication that international pressure and solidarity do in fact work.
Later on the radio, in Hebrew, I heard the outraged settlers protesting this decision. Itimar Ben Gvir, their leader, said: “Jewish rights should be protected and law respected, otherwise we are giving a prize to terrorists.” The commentator asked, “But isn’t it better to defer this problem rather than bringing attention to the whole issue of Arab rights in West Jerusalem and elsewhere.” He replied: “The Law of Absentee Property governs those rights. The law is what it is. This is a Jewish state, and we must protect Jewish rights no matter what the world thinks.”
Meanwhile, residents of Sheikh Jarrah were talking of bringing Knafeh and celebrating. The important lesson to be learned is that our solidarity work does in fact have relevance and does make a difference on the ground! For all its bluster, Israel does care about its image and is finding it increasingly difficult to justify its actions.

Update from Jonathan: February 22, 2022! 

Beyond the Two-State Solution printed in Hebrew, Arabic & English!

 


Update from Jonathan: February 20th

 A Reflection on Iqrit & Bir’im: Yesterday, along with Professor Eddy Kaufman, I had breakfast with Professor Nemi Ashkar (to my left) and Riad Ghantous (to his left). Ashkar is the chairman of the Iqrit Community Association, and Ghantous is from Bir’im and active in efforts on behalf of the village.

Iqrit and Bir’im are two Christian villages in the North of Israel. Shortly after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the new Israeli Army entered the two villages--which had taken no part in the fighting--and asked the villagers to evacuate to nearby villages for a short period, not exceeding two weeks. They gave the villagers a written undertaking that they could return within two weeks; however, the army reneged.
After three months, the villagers realized they had been tricked and appealed to the Isareli High Court, which ordered the Isareli Army to allow them to return. On the appointed date, however, the Israeli airforce attacked the two villages and destroyed every house in both of them, except for the churches.
Since that time, and for the last 70 years, the villagers and their descendants, have waged a continual, peaceful campaign to be allowed to return to their villages. Thus far they have been without any success. The villagers even agreed to allowing the nearby kibbutz and the Israel Lands Authority to keep the bulk of their lands, if only they could be allowed to return and rebuild their villages.
The villagers, all of them Israeli citizens and internally displaced, still maintain the churches and the graveyards in each village. They even conduct services there each Christmas, but are not allowed to return to, live in, or repair their homes.
Each year, politicians (including even Menachem Begin at one time and some right wing politicians) set up committees and promise to allow the villagers to return, but so far with no success. Theirs is the story of an ongoing Nakba and of a constant, ongoing struggle.

May be an image of outdoorsMay be an image of outdoors May be an image of tree and nature

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Update from Jonathan: February 17th
Tonight, after meeting with the Canadian ambassador in Tel Aviv (report coming soon), I travelled north to Haifa, one of the most beautiful cities in Palestine/Israel!
Here I am enjoying a marvelous seafood meal at the Stella Mars Restaurant, starting a delicious mezze of salads with a sea-food theme. My host is Professor Eddy Kaufman, who is a long time activist in nonviolence and human rights. I am here to plan steps for my book to be discussed by Israeli Jews, now that it is available in Hebrew as well.
Professor Kaufman had a chance to update me on the almost unique attempts by this city to model good Jewish-Arab relationships at the local level. It is so unique and successful that a recent book described it under the title of "Haifa Republic" where, despite everything, attempts at coexistence between Arabs and Jews seem to work. The deputy mayor is an Arab, and the city historically, since mandatory times, has either an Arab mayor, with a Jewish deputy, or as now a Jewish mayor with an Arab deputy. Street names honor both Arabs and Jews, and other attempts are made in an effort to break the stereotype of universal hostility between the two communities.

 

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Update From Jonathan Kuttab, February 15th

A Day at the Israeli High Court of Justice
By Jonathan Kuttab, Co-Founder of NVI and Al Haq.
Yesterday, I attended a hearing at the Israeli High Court of Justice as an attorney for Mohammad Halabi, since he is being represented by my law office in Jerusalem. The hearing was also attended by more than fifteen diplomats from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and several other countries, as well as supporters from multiple NGOs, including Save the Children.
As a reminder, Palestinian prisoner and humanitarian Mohammed Halabi, former head of World Vision Gaza, was wrongly imprisoned on blatantly false charges of redirecting millions of dollars of aid money for the people of Gaza to Hamas. Halabi has been kept in prison for nearly six years, despite there not being any physical evidence for the charges against him.

Under Israeli law, a criminal trial in which a defendant is incarcerated should be completed within nine months of his or her arrest. Beyond that, the prosecution needs to petition the High Court for a three month extension. Typically, the High Court does not get into the details of a case but only the reasons for the delay. A delay is usually granted once or twice. In addition, the High Court is free to refuse an extension and order the defendant to be released on bail, held under house arrest, given an electronic ankle bracelet for monitoring, etc., while the trial continues.
In the case of Halabi, the State has repeatedly requested and received extensions and has refused to consider his release on bail. Today’s hearing was the twenty-third (yes, the twenty-third!!) such a request for extension. The result is that Halabi has been in jail, without bail or conviction, for almost 6 years now.
Maher Hanna, the attorney from our office overseeing the case, was scathing in his presentation. He said that although the Supreme Court would not normally look into the specifics of the underlying trial, limiting itself only to the charge sheet, the court cannot ignore the facts of this specific case and needs to consider its substance. In fact, the charges listed in the charge sheet have long been superseded, for the State no longer maintains them. The State no longer maintains the bulk of the charges against Halabi. All testimony has been concluded, and there is no reason for any more delays. Hanna challenged the Court to at least read the summations of the case, but the judge refused.
Nonetheless, Hanna managed to slip into his presentation a few substantive points:
• The chief interrogator has stated under oath that he never investigated the evidence against Halabi, because it was too voluminous. He had access to all the files and computers of World Vision Gaza, but could not point to any evidence.
• The claim that Halabi mapped out the location of the Eretz crossings in 2010, on behalf of Hamas, is disproven by the Israeli records presented to the court showing that Halabi had not even been to the Eretz checkpoint between 2006 and the end of 2011.
• The state repeatedly offered Halabi the opportunity to plead guilty in exchange for a three-year (later four-year) term, but Halabi steadfastly refused and has insisted on his innocence.
• World Vision no longer operates in Gaza, so there is no danger of Halabi diverting any of its money to anybody if he is released. Anyway, even the state of Israel is now openly allowing Qatari funds to go to Hamas.
• The hearings, including all evidence as well as summations, ended months ago. Yet, still there is no verdict and no indication as to when the judge will issue his verdict (though he had hinted that it would take him months to prepare his verdict.)
In the end, the High Court judge stated he would speak to the District Court judge and ask when he expected to give his verdict, before deciding on this extension. Maher Hanna thinks this is a positive development and is cautiously optimistic that we may at least come to see an end to interminable delays.
Halabi, who attended the hearing by Zoom, had a rare opportunity as the judge left the room to greet all the diplomats and supporters, sharing a brief word with them before the court police cut off the connection. Halabi thanked the diplomats, telling them he is doing all this so that the important humanitarian work of several organizations, like World Vision and others, could continue in Gaza.

May be an image of 2 people, people standing and outdoors


Recordings

An Introduction to the Author and the Book

Jonathan Kuttab is a co-founder of Nonviolence International. A well-known international human rights attorney, Mr. Kuttab has established himself as a prominent speaker on nonviolence. He is also a co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and is President of the Board of the Bethlehem Bible College.

Beyond The Two-State Solution is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, needs he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.

This video is under five minutes long:

 


Book Launch Webinar

Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. In this webinar, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, needs he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.

We are just starting to roll out the Arabic and Hebrew translations of Beyond The Two-State Solution, and already we are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response we are getting. These days many of us are looking for hope in hard times. Jonathan gives us just that.

If you want to help, please fill out this simple Google Form. https://forms.gle/ijtLN3JZXG4zgfgx6


In Conversation with Peter Beinart

In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” host Peter Beinart is joined by Palestinian human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab, who recently published the book Beyond the Two State Solution (available at no cost via the Nonviolence International website). Kuttab argues that a Palestinian state with no sovereignty or substance cannot deliver freedom or independence and it is time to look beyond the “false mirage of the Two State Solution.” He lays out in detail how a single, shared Palestinian and Jewish state would be structured – from roles in the military to language learning in schools – and how it answers the urgent needs for justice, equality, and security.



If you are inspired to support this work, consider making a donation or becoming one of our sustaining monthly donors.


Reviews:

Mubarak Awad

Founder, Nonviolence International

“The Palestinian / Israeli conflict has had many ups and downs with hopes for peace, times of war, and relentless subjugation of Palestinians. Many people including myself and Jonathan Kuttab supported the peace initiative of a 2 state-solution even though many Palestinian leaders were initially reluctant to settle for 22% of original Palestine.

In his new book, Jonathan Kuttab, explains why, unfortunately, the two-state solution is no longer viable. Jonathan Kuttab articulates the fundamental needs of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews and then proceeds to think in a new one-state box about how a win-win future might be possible. This book is the start of a renewed conversation, a new frame, to end the current impasse which is causing so much suffering. It is for the reader to decide and to commit themselves to be part of real solutions to the conflict rather than irrelevant discussions about antiquated solutions."

Thomas R. Getman

Former Legislative Director to Senator Mark O. Hatfield & Past National Director of World Vision, Palestine

"The Two-State – One-State debate continues with new urgency inflamed by faux "peace treaties." More and more progressive and even Zionist Israeli and American Jews are expressing the fact that occupation and annexation of Palestinian people, homes and lands are a violation of core Talmudic values, and guarantee self-destruction of the State of Israel.

Jonathan Kuttab's Beyond the Two-State Solution is a treasured pathway to peaceful and just change. It is a gift of love to all who are suffering with this 73-year conflict. Indeed, none of us is free and at peace unless all are liberated from apartheid oppression. Jonathan Kuttab is a Palestinian American who has listened carefully and responded deeply, giving all of us who have worked and prayed for the imprisoned on both sides of the crumbling Green Line a possibility of a seizing together a Kairos moment. This carefully crafted monograph is a trail marker for real change and reduction of heart, soul, and physical suffering."

Dr. John Quigley

Professor at Mortiz College of Law (OSU)

"Whatever your position about the conflict between Arab and Jew, Kuttab will make you re-think it.” “A brilliantly even-handed assessment of what might work in Palestine/Israel.” “Based on Kuttab’s many years of first-hand involvement with what is happening on the ground."

Oriel Eisner

Director, Center for Jewish Nonviolence

This text is a great and an excellent contribution and pushes toward the conversation shifts that are emerging--yet still so lacking--in this moment. The writing and thinking is incredibly grounded, thoughtful, and detail-oriented, while simultaneously very accessible and easy to read. The attention given to a huge swath of factors, possibilities and perspectives is quite impressive. I look forward to seeing this booklet become an important part of the paradigm shifts we deeply need!

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb

Pioneer Feminist Rabbi

“Wow, it’s amazing. I am deeply impressed and absolutely encourage, even insist, that people read it. I am completely inspired by Jonathan Kuttab's clear, concise and much needed vision of the future grounded in the realities of history and the longings of both people for equity, dignity and security.”

 

The Checklist to End Tyranny Book Event Webinar

We Are All Part of One Another - Webinar Series

The Checklist to End Tyranny Book Event


Nonviolence International hosted a book launch event for The Checklist to End Tyranny by Peter Ackerman.

In the book, Peter gathers and arranges the best and most cutting-edge research on civil resistance and combines it with a checklist procedure which draws on his experience on Wall Street. This book is the culmination of 20 years of experience and research generated by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and provides a guide for activists facing severe repression, tyrants, and occupation.

Rafif Jouejati hosted and speakers included Peter Ackerman, Maria Stephan, Bayingana Simon Peter, and Mubarak Awad. 



Sponsored by Nonviolence International

Cosponsored by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict 

SPEAKERS:

Peter Ackerman is the Managing Director of Rockport Capital Incorporated, a private investment firm. Previously, he was Director of International Capital Markets at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Dr. Ackerman holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where he served 15 years as the Chairman of the Board of Overseers. He has also served on the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations and was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House. Currently Dr. Ackerman is a co-chair of USIP’s International Advisory Council and is a member of the Atlantic Council’s Executive Committee.

Dr. Ackerman is the founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, an organization that works to develop the understanding and encourage the use of civilian-based, non-military strategies that will be the catalyst for a transition from authoritarian to democratic rule.

Dr. Ackerman co-authored Strategic Nonviolent Conflict published in 1994, and A Force More Powerful: a Century of Nonviolent Conflict. The latter volume was a companion book for the Emmy-nominated documentary of the same title which appeared nationally on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in September 2000, for which he was the series editor and principal content advisor. Dr. Ackerman was also executive producer of Bringing Down a Dictator which in 2003 won the Peabody Award and International Documentary Association award for best film.


Rafif Jouejati is a board member of Nonviolence International and a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute. She is the co-founder and director of the Foundation to Restore Equality and Education in Syria (FREE Syria), and the principal architect of the Syrian Freedom Charter project, which surveyed more than 50,000 Syrians on democratic aspirations and political transition. She is also a founding member of the Syrian Women’s Political Network, a member of the Board of Directors of The Day After, and President of the Board of Directors of Baytna. Rafif is the CEO of a company that helps client organizations evolve to higher levels of capacity and maturity through business development, targeted training, and strategic communication.


Maria Stephan is the Co-Lead and Chief Organizer for The Horizons Project, which works to build relationships and connections between the social justice, peacebuilding, and democracy communities in the United States, with the goal of strengthening collective efforts to address systemic injustices and build a truly inclusive and pluralistic democracy. She also serves as an advisor to Freedom House and Humanity United. Stephan formerly directed the Program on Nonviolent Action at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Stephan is the co-author (with Erica Chenoweth) of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, which was awarded the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Prize by the American Political Science Association for the best book published in political science, and the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. She is the co-author of Bolstering Democracy: Lessons Learned and the Path Forward (Atlantic Council, 2018); the co-editor of Is Authoritarianism Staging a Comeback? (Atlantic Council, 2015); and the editor of Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization and Governance in the Middle East (Palgrave, 2009).

Stephan served in the U.S. State Department from 2009-2014; co-directed the Atlantic Council’s Future of Authoritarianism initiative; directed academic and policy engagement at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and taught at Georgetown and American Universities. She received her PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Bayingana Simon Peter is the Central Region Coordinator for Solidarity Uganda. He is a trainer in civil resistance and movement building and a member of Solidarity 2020 & Beyond, a global grassroots movement of activists. He is past fellow and mentor of the Rhize Global Coaching Fellowship, which works with grassroots activists to build people power.


Mubarak Awad co-founder of Nonviolence International, an organization which promotes nonviolence worldwide. He was a leader in the 1st intifada in Palestine before he was deported by Israel to the United States. He visited Western Sahara in 2015 where he provided training in nonviolent struggle. He has a PhD in psychology, and also is the founder of a number of organizations that have focused on advocating and providing support for troubled and orphaned youth. 

Desmond Tutu, Nobel peace laureate, has a message for the future

Nonviolence International celebrates the life, legacy, and moral clarity of Desmond Tutu. 

Along with many all over the world, we mourn the news of the death of one of our time's greatest advocates for active nonviolence. While we celebrate his enduring legacy, we must ask - what can we do to prove worthy of the example he set for all of us?

NVI’s Founder, Mubarak Awad, celebrates his friend Desmond Tutu & calls on us to not only remember his unflinching moral vision and joyous spirit, but also to take seriously his legacy by boldly facing the challenges before us. 

“The Arch” as he was fondly known in his native South Africa was a shining light onto the nations. He put his unshakable faith into effective action. He should be remembered not only for his visionary, tireless, and loving activism against the brutal apartheid system, but also for his decades of moral consistency.  

He was a person of enormous courage that few can match. It is hard to understand or emulate his greatness, but we know he would call on all of us to do whatever we can even when facing difficult circumstances. 

We remember his distinctive laugh and his personal warmth and kindness, but also note that he was scathing in his critique of the powerful and his constant call for justice. 

His profound faith led him to provide a moral compass for his nation and the world. His righteous indignation never ceased to amaze and inspire. He spoke with deep insights about the need to abolish all nuclear weapons, to raise up the humanity of Palestinians, and when some in his church questioned his support for gay rights he said, "I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this."

He stood along side young leaders seeking a better future and made clear his commitment to ending the climate crisis saying, “Through the power of our collective action we can hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up their mess. The good news is that we don't have to start from scratch. Young people across the world have identified climate change as the biggest challenge of our time, and already begun to do something about it.”

Personally, I've been inspired by his warmth and wisdom for decades. In 1994, when he first cast a ballot he danced with joy, I celebrated with him and wrote a piece for The Nonviolent Activist. I wrote that piece while serving on the National Committee of the War Resisters League along with Matt Mayer, who just wrote this beautiful piece for the International Peace Research Association and Waging Nonviolence. “The Arch” inspired many of us. Ken Butigan of Campaign Nonviolence shared this lovely remembrance. The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation posted this moving tribute. 

We thank you for all you gave and will strive to build a world shaped by the values that guided your life. Your vision will light our path forward even as we mourn your loss. 

In light of Desmond Tutu's passing, NVI founder Mubarak Awad recalls his relationship with Tutu and their support of each other's nonviolent actions in South Africa and Palestine. Please watch the following video to learn more about our founder's heartening relationship with Desmond Tutu.

 

As usual, Democracy Now does a wonderful job covering this great leader. They provide an important overview and then let us hear once again from him - in his own words. 

 

 


Desmond Tutu, a Nobel peace laureate, was the archbishop of Cape Town and chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He died on December 26th, 2021 

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Nonviolence Scholar Gene Sharp

Gene Sharp was an American political scientist and the founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, a nonprofit dedicated to the study of nonviolent action. For six decades, Sharp focused on Gandhian principles and helped develop the academic field of nonviolent action. Through the Albert Einstein Institution, Sharp supported research and studies on strategic nonviolent action while also working with resistance groups across the world. NVI has built on Sharp’s legacy by adding to his 198 methods in our public database and producing a book, Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century

Inspired by the anniversary of Gene Sharp's birthday on January 21st, NVI founder Mubarak Awad reflects on his relationship with Sharp. While Mubarak's first connection with Sharp was a dispute over Mubarak's translation of Sharp's work, their friendship grew as Sharp shared literature on nonviolence and Mubarak showed Sharp what nonviolent action looks like. Please watch the following video to hear Mubarak warmly discuss his relationship with Gene Sharp.

 


Dictatorships are never as strong as they think they are, and people are never as weak as they think they are.

Gene Sharp, "How to Start a Revolution" documentary


Gene Sharp - Wikipedia

Gene Sharp was an American political scientist and nonviolence scholar who contributed significantly to strategic nonviolent action and resistance groups around the world. Gene Sharp passed on January 28th, 2018.

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Sharp

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Alex Kofi Donkor

In this Spotlight, I had the privilege of speaking with Ghanaian LGBTQ rights activist Alex Kofi Donkor. Alex Kofi Donkor is the founder and current director of LGBT+ Rights Ghana, a movement of mostly young LGBTQ persons who are championing a safe, inclusive and free society for LGBTQ persons in Ghana. In this interview, we discussed how he became involved with LGBTQ activism, the emergence of a dangerous and draconian bill currently being considered by Ghana's legislature which would attack the fundamental rights of LGBTQ people in Ghana, and the role of American evangelicals in spreading homophobia and transphobia in Africa. 

As a queer person, the LGBTQ rights struggle is a cause I care deeply about and it was an incredible opportunity to be able to speak with an LGBTQ rights activist working in a much more hostile environment, facing a society far less accepting than America in 2022. Speaking from personal experience, I know the homophobia I have experienced is nothing compared to the homophobia queer people in Ghana are enduring. I was struck by Alex Kofi Donkor's passion and eloquence but what struck me the most was his tenacity. He has faced death threats. The community center he created in January 2021 was shut down by the police. If the draconian anti-LGBTQ law we discussed is passed by Ghana's parliament, he could face up to 15 years in prison. This young and fiercely intelligent activist is quite literally risking his life and liberty to fight for the rights of LGBTQ people in Ghana, and I am in awe of his courage and persistence. I was deeply moved by his statement that his activism isn't for himself, but for posterity, for the future generations of queer and trans Ghanaians. Reading about the history of the gay rights struggle in the US, I marveled at the incredible courage of the activists who came before me, struggling for LGBTQ rights in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Alex Kofi Donkor is a hero just as those activists were, and I hope that decades from now young queer and trans Ghanaians will open their history textbooks, see his name, and be as inspired by his activism as I am. I hope this Spotlight reminds us that the fight for LGBTQ rights is truly a global struggle and that we cannot be satisfied until every LGBTQ person on Earth is able to live with freedom and equality. 


 

 


Time Stamps:

0:00 Introducing Alex

0:50 How Alex Became Involved in Activism

5:36 Ghana's Anti-LGBTQ Bill

26:08 Coming Out & Visibility

31:10 What Keeps Alex Going


Follow Alex Kofi Donkor on Twitter- https://twitter.com/ahuoden

Follow LGBT+ Rights Ghana on Twitter- https://twitter.com/lgbtrightsghana


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People Power in Burma/Myanmar, 1 year after the coup

The people of Burma/Myanmar have spent the last year resisting military rule. Thousands are imprisoned and thousands dead and wounded. Covid-19 has ravaged the country. The economic collapse has caused enormous suffering. Ethnic minorities have been targeted with intense violence and have fled their homes. The Burmese people have used massive nonviolent resistance in strikes, boycotts, protests, and have created a parallel government. There are also many young men who are using bombs and guns to pressure the military to surrender or encourage an internal military revolt.  Whether nonviolent or armed, the resistance to the military regime is on a massive scale across ethnic groups around the country. Internationally, the governmental and civil society support of the people and the parallel government have been strong. Nonviolent boycotts have forced many companies to stop financing the regime including Harry Winston Jewelry, Chevron and Total.  Unfortunately, the regime stays in power hanging by a thread, with support from China, Thailand, and Russia.


Update: Watch NVI’s Director Michael Beer in an interview with student activist Me Me Khant.

The two discuss ideas on nonviolence and nonviolent action as it relates to the current struggle in Myanmar/Burma.

 

cdm_burma.jpg


Background:

Nonviolence International continues its 30-year history of helping nonviolent social change efforts in Myanmar/Burma. Michael Beer, Mubarak Awad and NVI staff have met people from all over Myanmar who have suffered unspeakable crimes of torture, imprisonment, rape, and displacement by the Burma/Myanmar military. Ethnic minorities such as the Rohingya, Karen, Kachin, Shan, and Chin have been particularly brutalized. Michael Beer has provided extensive coaching and support to nonviolent activists.  NVI has also helped facilitate the translation of many useful guides and materials on nonviolence. 

People around the world are sickened by the sexist coup d’etat. Despite having enormous power, they were not satisfied with sharing power with a woman, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose political party won 83% of the seats in November.

Understandably, the people of Myanmar are resisting the military coup d’etat on an enormous scale.  Many governments, including Southeast Asian nations, are protesting. Ethnic minorities are united in opposition. World-wide, citizens are planning to re-launch global boycotts. This coup will not succeed if enough pressure can be brought upon the coup plotters. Join NVI in supporting the people in Burma to challenge patriarchal and military rule.

Nonviolent resistance brought about an end to absolute military rule in Myanmar in 2008. Much progress has been made in the last generation in terms of freedom of speech and assembly, free elections, a huge improvement in the rights of women, labor unions, some ethnic minorities and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. This progress will not easily be reversed because the people of Myanmar will bravely defend these gains. Nonviolence International supports calls from Myanmar civil society in calling on all governments to impose targeted sanctions on the Myanmar military.

It is vital that governments and others cut the flow of weapons and money to the junta. Civil society and Burma’s NUG government continue calls for sanctions on Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), which represents an enormous source of revenue for the junta, fueling its atrocity crimes. On 31 Jan, Canada, the US, and the UK added sanctions providing for the freezing of funds or economic resources belonging to the sanctions targets. In addition, the US sanctions bar Americans from doing business with the targets.


Take Action: Don't be a spectator.

https://burmacampaign.org.uk/ (British and global)
https://www.altsean.org/ (ASEAN focussed) Good place for information

Michael Beer, Director of Nonviolence International, trained hundreds of people and guerrillas from Myanmar in nonviolent action and strategy in the 1990's. Co-trainers at various times included Gene Sharp, Bob Helvey, Eric Garcetti, and George Lakey. He is the author of Violent and Nonviolent Struggle in Burma: Is a Unified Strategy Workable, in Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective, Edited by Stephen Zunes, Lester R. Kurtz and Sarah Beth Asher, Blackwell Publishing, 1999. He has trained people in many countries and is the founder of NVI's Tactics Database and (in partnership with Rutgers University) our NV Training Archives, and author of forthcoming book on Civil Resistance Tactics of the 21st Century. 

Michael taught nonviolent resistance to Burmese beginning in 1990 with George Lakey and then with Col Bob Helvey and Gene Sharp in 1992. He helped train more than 1000 guerrillas and civilians in NV struggle over 10 years. He organized some of the first Burmese solidarity efforts in the US beginning in 1990.

Please click here to read the history of Nonviolent Struggle In Burma/Myanmar.

Speaking Truth to Power Book Cover

 

Nonviolence International Archives

Read: NVI Director Michael Beer quoted in this article in The Progressive, 4 days after the coup, Feb 5, 2021

Listen: "The Backlash Against the Military Coup from Brave Citizens in Myanmar"- Michael Beer featured on Background Briefing with Ian Masters, February 2021

NVI Canada Board member, Yeshua Moser-Puouangsuwan released an article in which he investigated the origin and transfer of Italian shotgun shells to Myanmar that were used to attack an ambulance.

NVI supports solidarity efforts around the world. On Dec 6, 2021, Michael Beer raised awareness about Burma in an interview on KPFK in Los Angeles about the "conviction" of Aung San Suu Kye and two others for violating covid-19 regulations and other spurious charges.  All supporters of democracy are encourage to use nonviolent boycotts towards the Myanmar military.

 Thich Nhat Hanh, World-Renowned Teacher of Nonviolence, Has Passed Away

Nonviolence International celebrates the life and legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh

Check out our Many Faces of Nonviolence profile of this great leader here

His community at Plum Village shared the following note with the world.

"With a deep mindful breath, we announce the passing of our beloved teacher, Thay Nhat Hanh, at 01:30hrs on January 22, 2022 at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, at the age of 95.

Thay has been the most extraordinary teacher, whose peace, tender compassion, and bright wisdom has touched the lives of millions. Whether we have encountered him on retreats, at public talks, or through his books and online teachings–or simply through the story of his incredible life–we can see that Thay has been a true bodhisattva, an immense force for peace and healing in the world. Thay has been a revolutionary, a renewer of Buddhism, never diluting and always digging deep into the roots of Buddhism to bring out its authentic radiance.

Thay has opened up a beautiful path of Engaged and Applied Buddhism for all of us: the path of the Five Mindfulness Trainings and the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. As Thay would say, “Because we have seen the path, we have nothing more to fear.” We know our direction in life, we know what to do, and what not to do to relieve suffering in ourselves, in others, and in the world; and we know the art of stopping, looking deeply, and generating true joy and happiness.

Now is a moment to come back to our mindful breathing and walking, to generate the energy of peace, compassion, and gratitude to offer our beloved Teacher. It is a moment to take refuge in our spiritual friends, our local sanghas and community, and each other." 

For those interested in learning more about this amazing teacher, please visit their site. and check out the video below from Democracy Now to hear him speak in his own words.

He led each of us to be more true to ourselves and find our own path to peace.

Grateful for his glorious loving light and teaching.

His light shines on in the many he touched all over this beautiful and broken world.

Spotlight on Nonviolence - YaliniDream

In this Spotlight, I had the privilege of speaking with YaliniDream, a Tamil artist and activist. Manchester born, Texas bred and Brooklyn brewed, YaliniDream conjures spirit through her unique blend of poetry, theater, song, and dance– reshaping reality and seeking peace through justice in the lands of earth, psyche, soul, and dream. She has over 20 years experience as a cultural worker, consultant and organizer in anti-war, anti-violence and racial, gender, and economic justice movements. In this interview, we discussed the solidarity work YaliniDream has done with war-impacted and persecuted communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka, her position of questioning all armed actors and ethno-nationalisms, the complexity and nuance of revolutionary nonviolence, and what a just peace in Sri Lanka would look like. 

As a Sri Lankan American, it was quite meaningful for me to unpack the legacies of Sri Lanka's brutal and tragic thirty-year long civil war. I am Sinhalese while YaliniDream is Tamil, and though our ethnic heritage would suggest that we're on opposite sides of the conflict, we were able to come together in conversation and transcend both Sinhalese nationalism and Tamil nationalism, imagining a liberatory future for all our peoples beyond ethnonationalism. YaliniDream's commentary on the conflict offered a visceral reminder of the wounds of war, the way trauma impacts entire communities, how the most marginalized among us endure multiple forces of violence and the way armed struggle can so often lead to "liberation gone wrong", as YaliniDream puts it. The most surprising and difficult part of our conversation was when YaliniDream, instead of offering a vigorous defense of revolutionary nonviolence as a moral principle, challenged my preconceptions of her and dived into the complexity and nuance of revolutionary nonviolence and armed self-defense, challenging notions of purism and offering an argument for revolutionary nonviolent tactics rooted in efficacy and strategy rather than black-and-white morality. I'm grateful for YaliniDream for forcing me into this sticky nuance and encouraging me to think about nonviolence in a way that grapples with the contradictions and complications of real world struggles.  


 

 


Time Stamps:

0:00 Introducing YaliniDream

1:32 Questioning Armed Actors & Ethno-nationalisms

14:25 The Nuance of Revolutionary Nonviolence

21:56 A Just Peace


A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support. 


 

The Two-State Solution Is Dead-Now What? Webinar

We Are All Part of One Another - Webinar Series

The Two-State Solution Is Dead-Now What? 

The two-state solution is no longer viable. What is our path forward? Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab, articulates a vision of a one-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. In this interactive webinar, Jonathan continues this conversation, engaging in a discussion with renowned activists and academics about visions and strategies for the future. Speakers include Jeff Halper and Noura Erakat. 


 

 


Cosponsored by Nonviolence International and Just Peace Advocates 

SPEAKERS:

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and associate professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and as a legal advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the United Nations. Noura's research interests include human rights and humanitarian, refugee, and national security law. She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals.

Jeff Halper is an Israeli anthropologist. He serves as the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions in Jerusalem and is a founding member of the One Democratic State Campaign. Jeff is the author of An Israeli in Palestine (London: Pluto Press, 2008) on his work against the Occupation; Obstacles to Peace (ICAHD’s manual for activism in Palestine/Israel); and War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification (Pluto, 2015), which was shortlisted for the Palestine Book Award. His latest book is Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism and the Case for One Democratic State (London: Pluto, 2021). 

Jonathan Kuttab is co-founder of Nonviolence International and a co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq. 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. He is co-founder and board member of the Just Peace Advocates. He was the head of the Legal Committee negotiating the Cairo Agreement of 1994 between Israel and the PLO.

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