Can we find solutions that match the scale of the problems we face?
Nonviolence International believes that in this time of crisis, we must find a way to craft solutions that are capable of responding to the massive challenges before us. Typical delay and compromise politics are not sufficient to the reality of the moment. The time for small ideas is over. As is the time when we can allow our broken system to define our vision. When politicians receive funding from those actively destroying our precious planet, we must find another way to respond to the climate crisis.
The exceptional young leaders of the Sunrise movement have tried a variety of approaches including education, letter writing, public protests, and direct action. They have even engaged in the dangerous often corrupt world of electoral politics. They have found that even after the vast coalition you represent plays a key role in getting leaders into office, they mostly follow. As usual, elected leaders must be pushed to fulfill key promises made during campaigns.
Now brave young people seeking to claim a livable future have begun a hunger strike. Extinction Rebellion UK just asked if this is the most important fortnight in history. They note that previous massive well-publicized conferences have not produced the change we need. We share the sense of urgency and know we will need each other even more after both the upcoming conference and the legislative process underway in Washington, DC fail to grasp the enormity of the moment. These young leaders understand the nature of the crisis we face, know well that US is by far the greatest historical polluter causing climate change, and deserve our active support.
To learn more about each of these leaders and find ways you can help, please see the information below from Sunrise.
See also further explanation of this powerful nonviolent tactic in NVI's online database.
HUNGER STRIKE FOR
Biden, deliver on your climate justice promises.
Pass the full scope of the reconciliation bill to ensure the United States reduces emissions at least 50% by 2030 while advancing justice and creating millions of new good union jobs.
The bill must include a Civilian Climate Corps, direct investments in public schools, housing, transit, and clean energy to reduce emissions across major sectors and improve our communities. No investments towards fossil fuels.
What can you do?
Write or Call the White House
Go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/get-involved/write-or-call/ to bring our demands and our story directly to the White House.
Call your Members of Congress
Go to CallForTheGND.org to call your Representative and Senators!
Donate to our GoFundMe
Share this document (bit.ly/hungerstrike4climate) or the links above with your friends with a personal note!
Hey, there’s 5 young ppl on hunger strike rn for climate change. They’re only drinking water til the gov passes the first part of the green new deal, and it could totally happen. They’re asking ppl to support them. I’m doing , would u wanna join me?? See here bit.ly/hungerstrike4climate
On Wednesday, our team launched a hunger strike; help amplify by sharing and following on social media:
- Accounts to tag
- Posts to uplift
- Kidus’s Personal Story (https://twitter.com/HungerStr1ke/status/1451664702585573377?s=20)
- Biden, Fight For Us (https://twitter.com/HungerStr1ke/status/1451292812172042243?s=20)
- Now This News - (https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1451297994112856065?s=20)
- Breaking! We start the hunger strike (https://twitter.com/hungerstr1ke/status/1450831939011764232?s=21)
- Our demands (https://twitter.com/hungerstr1ke/status/1450867540075352064?s=21)
The Guardian - Climate Activists Launch Hunger Strike Outside White House
Teen Vogue - Hunger Strike for Climate Justice Begins in DC
Democracy Now - Climate Activists Start Hunger Strike from White House
The New York Times - Biden Backs Compromise to Win Vast Social Agenda
New Republic - Climate Activists are Going on Hunger Strike
Rachel Maddow Show - It’s Been a Busy Week of Direct Action All Over the Country
Joe Manchin is trying to purge climate policy from the $3.5T Build Back Better Act. The most crucial pieces for federal climate action: the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC), the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), pieces of the GND for Public Housing could be gone if Manchin and his corporate donors get their way. These policies are more than just acronyms – a CEPP means clean air and water. A CCC means jobs and opportunities for our generation. A robust reconciliation package means less human suffering. Joe Biden has the power to make this a reality right now, but has conceded control of the White House, the Democratic Party, and the future of this country to Joe Manchin and his fossil fuel fortune. Now, everything we’ve fought for is on the line.
That’s why on Wednesday, October 20, five brave young people began a hunger strike in the fight for what we need. It’s all hands on deck now and we need you in this fight.
We must pass the full scope of this bill or we will spiral deeper into the climate crisis. The urgency of now cannot be understated: This could be our last chance to pass federal climate policy for the rest of the decade and we won’t back down without a fight.
The time is now and we have nothing to lose. No climate, no deal.
WEDNESDAY 10/20: HUNGER STRIKE LAUNCH
Starting Wednesday morning outside of the White House, five young people will begin a hunger strike until Joe Biden and Democrats pass the full scope of the Build Back Better Act to combat the climate emergency. Our names are Kidus, Abby, Paul, Ema, and Julie and we are risking our bodies to demand Democrats deliver on their elected climate commitments, and pass the first pieces of the Green New Deal for climate justice.
Why a hunger strike?
The stakes of this moment are greater than our lives: the United States is at a crossroad on climate, and the Democrats have a choice between mass human suffering or mass human survival. Hunger strikes and fasting are tactics that have been used by social movements throughout history to draw attention to certain issues, underscore the moral authority of participants and put pressure on key targets. We hope our hunger strike can appeal to Joe Biden, bring more people into our movement and emphasize what is at stake -- future life on this planet -- in this bill.
MEET THE STRIKE TEAM
Kidus, 26, Dallas, TX
I’m hunger striking because I believe we can win. I’m fighting for my mom who is an in-home caregiver, the people in Texas who died during the TX Freeze, and my future children. I’m fighting for a Dallas that invests in green public housing in immigrant neighborhoods like my first home, Vickery Meadow. I’m going on a hunger strike because we all deserve clean air, good jobs, and a livable future. I’m striking for everyone I've ever loved and I won’t back down until Biden invests in us, our futures and his own agenda. Twitter: @Kidus_GirmaB Tiktok: kidusgirma460 Instagram: kidusgirma460
Paul Campion, he/him, 24, Chicago, IL
On Saturdays with my neighbors I pack and deliver groceries to other neighbors. On warm summer nights, I love to bike along Lake Michigan looking at the bright Chicago lights and the stars that poke through. I’m going on hunger strike because I want to live a full, beautiful life. I want to have carefree days where I can play in the park with my future children and evenings when I can invite friends and family over for dinners, a bonfire, and singing. I’m going on hunger strike to remind Joe Biden of the promise he’s made to tackle the climate crisis and the responsibility he has to follow through -- to not shrink & compromise away my generation’s future. I’m striking to remind him that it’s alway worth it to do all that we can to prevent pain, suffering, and death. I’m striking to remind him that love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words. He must deliver strong federal climate legislation, paid family leave, and the full scope of his Build Back Better agenda so that I and the people I love can live full, beautiful lives.
Ema, she/her, 18, Santa Rosa, CA:
I’m going on a hunger strike because I am terrified about what the climate crisis is doing and will do to the people and places I love. This summer I marched hundreds of miles across California to demand action that meets the scale of the climate crisis. But paid-off politicians are refusing to take my generation seriously, despite wildfires spreading and our homes burning. We need to invest boldly in climate now, for my family and so that I have a chance at a livable future. Insta: @ema.govea
Julia Paramo, she/ella, 24, Dallas, TX:
I’m hunger striking for my Tejano community. My community has to rely on itself because the government currently won’t fight for us. I will fight for my people. Mi comnunidad looks like community gardens, urban farming, and working people who live in food-deserts putting in hours to only get cents back. I want a future where I can laugh and dance with my friends without the fear of being outside. So, I’m striking to carry on la lucha of my ancestors, for my parents who came to this country with false promises of the “American Dream,” only to fight tooth and nail out of poverty to barely land in the working class. We have abused mother-nature for too long, our communities are hurting. I do not want this earth to die the way I already see my neighborhoods suffer everyday. I’m hunger striking because Joe Biden owes my community what he ran on. To show Biden the pain an entire generation faces if he and his administration fail to deliver on their promises.
Abby Leedy, she/her, 20, Philadelphia, PA:
I want to keep living in West Philly. I want to have a home here one day, with my mom, my wife and my kids. I want to have a garden and go to church every week. I’m hunger striking because that future means everything to me, and I’ll risk everything I have to make it real. I believe we can stop climate change, that there’s a future where Philly is above water, where my family can live with dignity, and peace, and joy. I don’t have millions of dollars to pay our politicians off to make that happen. I just have my life. Instagram: @abby.leedy
At this critical moment, Nonviolence International raises up Al-Haq and our co-founder Jonathan Kuttab
Israel's Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, has declared six Palestinian Human Rights groups to be "terrorist organizations." Nonviolence International notes that these organizations are respected leaders in Palestinian Civil Society. They have received funding and support from the United Nations and the European Union, both of which do their due diligence to ensure their funds are used to build not destroy.
NVI's co-founder, Jonathan Kuttab, is also a co-founder of Al-Haq, one of the groups wrongly designated as "terrorists." As advocates of nonviolence, we consider the search for truth to be essential to building a just and peaceful world. Those who made this designation know better. They have taken this action not to reflect reality, but to shape it.
The Center for Jewish Nonviolence said, "Throughout history, nonviolent leaders and movements for liberation have been smeared as terrorists by oppressive regimes. As Jews standing in solidarity with Palestinians, we see this every day, and we stand unequivocally with the Palestinian civil society organizations being targeted by the Israeli government, and we know that they are being targeted because their work poses an existential threat to the violent and immoral status quo."
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who work closely with many of these groups, said in a joint statement:
“This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement. For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations. The decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.
How the international community responds will be a true test of its resolve to protect human rights defenders. We are proud to work with our Palestinian partners and have been doing so for decades. They represent the best of global civil society. We stand with them in challenging this outrageous decision.”
United Nations Human Rights experts put out a powerful joint statement which reads in part,
“This designation is a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere,” said the experts. “Silencing their voices is not what a democracy adhering to well-accepted human rights and humanitarian standards would do. We call upon the international community to defend the defenders.”
The experts said that anti-terrorism legislation is designed for a specific and restricted purpose, and must not be used to unjustifiably undermine civil liberties or to curtail the legitimate work of human rights organisations. The United Nations Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have all been clear about the requirement to apply counter-terrorism measures in a manner which is consistent with international law and does not violate States international obligations, they said.
“The misuse of counter-terrorism measures in this way by the government of Israel undermines the security of all,” the experts said. “The freedoms of association and expression must be fully respected in order to enable civil society to perform its indispensable work, and cannot be undermined by the manifestly egregious misuse of counterterrorism and security legislation.”
Today, we ask all who declare their commitment to nonviolence to make real that commitment by standing for truth. Please read Jonathan's powerful statement below and take the quick action steps listed at the bottom of this piece.
Jonathan has decades of commitment to nonviolence and human rights. Anyone who suggests otherwise should study his work and consider why they would make such foolish claims.
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) Statement on Israel’s Labeling of Top Palestinian Human Rights Agencies as “Terrorist Organizations”
By Jonathan Kuttab
FOSNA Executive Director, Al-Haq and Nonviolence International co-founder
About 40 years ago, Raja Shehadeh, Charles Shammas, and I created Al-Haq, the first Palestinian human rights organization. After our first publication, "The West Bank and the Rule of Law," an Israeli ambassador contemptuously dismissed us as “a mouthpiece for the PLO'' and for “making a mountain out of a molehill.” We argued back through the International Commission of Jurists, which was our sponsor, that we are totally independent and meticulous about our facts and documentation. We challenged him to prove his claims or to show that ANY of our publications contained any materially incorrect facts. He never replied.
In fact, we were viewed with some suspicion within the Palestinian community because we were strictly independent and spoke the language of human rights and international law, rather than political polemics. This was new for most Palestinians. We persisted, however, and other organizations followed in our footsteps. We managed to have a positive impact on Palestinian society as a serious human rights organization. Al-Haq is now one of several world-renowned and respected human rights organizations. I am proud to say that over the years Al-Haq has meticulously maintained its high standards and, after the Oslo process, was courageous enough to apply the same standards of objectivity, independence, and defense of human rights not just to the Israeli occupation, but also to the behaviour of the Palestinian Authority, and also of Hamas.
I was therefore shocked, though not surprised, when Israel today declared Al-Haq, together with Addamir, Defence of Children International-Palestine, and three other human rights organizations to be “terrorist organizations.” This is a far cry from the polemical, false accusations thrown at us occasionally by Israeli propagandists like the NGO Monitor. It carries practical consequences, such as the seizure of assets, arrest of personnel, and the criminalization of anyone who donates to or cooperates with us in any way.
The fact that Israel is choosing now to attack all six human rights organizations is deeply troubling. It may mean that we are finally becoming effective and successful, that Israel realizes it has lost the public-relations war, and that the world now knows and acknowledges the reality that it is an apartheid state and a systematic violator of human rights and international law. The Defense minister may be afraid that the day is approaching when he and other politicians and army generals may face prosecution before the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and he decided to silence these organizations and cripple their activities.
Another explanation, I am afraid, is that Israel no longer cares about its reputation and no longer fears international public opinion, or any sanctions by the international community. The fact that it has been successful so far in avoiding accountability, and that just a few months ago it ransacked the offices of Defense for Children International in Ramallah with little or no push back emboldened it to do whatever it wants without fear of repercussions. Its assault on civil society can go on unchallenged!!
For this reason alone, it is imperative that we must act now. Our churches, first and foremost, but also our elected representatives must hear from us immediately. Israel must know that its actions are monitored, noted, and will lead to consequences. At the very least, it can no longer claim to be a democracy and be part of the Western world. It can join the likes of Saudi Arabia and North Korea if it chooses, but as long as it pretends to be a democracy and lays claim to billions in economic and military aid from the United States and preferred trade treatment from the US and Europe, it must be made to abide by international standards, and at the very least, stop its attacks on human rights organizations.
So please join with FOSNA and others in this action.
Learn More. Take Action:
- Jewish Voice for Peace has set up an easy mechanism for calling your representatives, which can be found here at JVP Action.
- Also, please check out this informative Online Action Guide from the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights for more background and other actions to take.
- Joint Statement by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International
- Al-Jazeera: Palestinian NGOs designated ‘terrorists’ call for support
- Journalists can contact FOSNA to arrange for interviews
Call now and urge your church, as well as your representatives in Washington, to take action and stop this assault on human rights activists and organizations.
For those interested in learning more about Jonathan's loving, visionary, and nonviolent analysis, please consider reading his wonderful recent book that is available for free from Nonviolence International.
By Nimesh Wijewardane
Palestinian journalist Ahmed Alnaouq, co-founder of We Are Not Numbers, gave a presentation to the NVI team on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the viability of a two state solution. Ahmed also told the deeply moving story of how he was inspired to start We Are Not Numbers, an organization which lifts up the voices of young Palestinian writers in Gaza, after the tragic loss of his brother and friends in the 2014 Gaza war. Ahmed inspired us all with his steadfast commitment to achieving full human rights for the Palestinian people through sharing the stories of Palestinians and changing hearts and minds.
See more at We Are Not Numbers
If you value this work, please donate to help us expand our impact on this beautiful and broken world.
Nonviolence International is deeply concerned about recent events in Sudan.
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.
Michael Beer, our longtime Director, spoke at a rally on Saturday, October 30th in Washington, DC.
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.
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:
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.
Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee
Social media accounts to follow and support:
Hashtags to learn more about the Sudanese resistance:
#SudanCoup #Oct30March #SudanUprising #SudanProtests
For those interested in learning more, see our webinar on this topic below as well as links to useful background information.
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.
I'm honored to have my first piece published by Tikkun. This wonderful magazine has shaped my personal and political development and strengthened me through decades of activism. Grateful that Rabbi Michael Lerner's visionary leadership helped me find a path - as a Jew -to support Palestinian nonviolent activists. Please visit the magazine's powerful site and that of the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
Anyone with a conscience watching events unfold in Afghanistan must be heartbroken. Many of us are wishing there was more effective action we could take in this troubling time. Sadly, in the midst of this crisis, there is really little we can do to enhance the security and freedom of the Afghan people. But, if we draw the wrong lessons from this tragedy, we will likely repeat this mistake with similar dangerous results.
People in America are coming to understand the impacts of allowing the Big Lie (that the last election was stolen) to go unchecked. We are starting to wake up to the ongoing threat of political violence because of how we dealt with the aftermath of the January 6th attack on the US Capitol. We must also wake up to the horror brought by acceptance of the Long Deceit.
Decade after decade, administration after administration, our leaders lied to us. The Afghanistan Papers received much less sustained attention than the Pentagon Papers. Many brave reporters have given us powerful insights into how the reality of our longest war never matched the spin from the top. The headline that ran with the Washington Post report read, “A secret history of the war - at war with the truth. U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it." The Long Deceit was paid for by the American taxpayers but perpetrated by leaders who are supposed to serve us. Instead, the top political leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties sold us a lie (not bad intelligence, not a mistake, but a pattern of deceit) that they knew was far from the truth we deserved. We were told again and again that our nation’s sacrifice in blood and treasure was worth it because we were building a stable government in Afghanistan. This was always a mirage.
Informed consent is as essential to democracy as the peaceful transfer of power, but it is not possible without accurate information. When our leaders lie to us, they are creating the illusion of consent not allowing informed citizens to make our voices heard.
The so-called experts showed limited respect for local traditions in Afghanistan and pompously suggested that we could impose our model of governance on a complex, ancient, and proud people. The Long Deceit supported a policy that was never going to work. Whether we had left ten years ago, or ten years from now, the outcome would have been similar because we were never building peace, just a house of cards propped up by our military might. The illusion of US-supported government stability was toppled with such speed because it was never real.
We must now recognize that this combination of ignorance and arrogance comes back to bite us (and those we say we care about) repeatedly. Some have wrongly suggested that the US military is leaving Afghanistan because our nation is “war weary.” No, our people are instead becoming “war wise.” That is, bit by bit, failure by failure, we are starting to see the limitations of our vast military power.
I served as executive director of Veterans for Peace (I’m a veteran organizer, not a military vet). The proud veterans I worked with often spoke about their powerful journeys from enthusiastic recruits through painful personal and often tragic experiences that taught them to doubt the whole war system. Our massive military-industrial complex has become a machine that feeds on itself and all of us - spending taxpayer money on lobbying to secure even more taxpayer money. And, they do this while knowingly lying to us. The results are predictable. Massive defense contractors line their own pockets and those of their former military allies serving on their Boards while sowing the seeds of violence all over the world.
Beware the experts who will be trotted out in the coming days. Remember that many of these same people were strong advocates for our disastrous wars. Those with a vested interest in keeping us addicted to enemies and keeping the dirty money flowing through the revolving door they personally benefit from will foolishly suggest that the problems of Afghanistan could have been solved if we just devoted a few more years, a few more billions of dollars, and a few more lives of those they purport to represent. No, the very real challenges of Afghanistan could never be solved by more Americans with guns. These experts will quickly attempt to define the limits of acceptable debate focusing solely on the troubling withdrawal process. Let’s remember to also consider how we got to this point in the first place. We must reflect on the power of the Long Deceit. They told us we were building a stable unified nation. Nonsense.
Many seem to want to believe that our vast military power is some kind of healing balm that can build stable societies and cure the world’s ills. Instead, our weapons are very good at destroying buildings and killing people, but we never were building peace, or justice, or respect for women’s rights in Afghanistan. We were attempting to impose our model of governance in an arrogant manner that clearly illustrated we lacked the ability to learn from our previous well-documented mistakes.
Let this terrible moment - and the painful tragedy yet to come - be a wake up call. Administration after administration promoted the Long Deceit. We must attempt to finally learn the clear and important lesson. War doesn’t work to establish peaceful, functioning, democratic societies. Imagine if the same amount of money, ingenuity, and effort had been put towards fighting the climate crisis. We would have done much more to build real and lasting peace and to enhance our own security.
I hope we can honor our veterans by making sure we never make the same mistakes again. It is time for those who oppose the Big Lie to speak out against the equally dangerous Long Deceit.
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness...What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction...And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." -- Howard Zinn
By Mubarak Awad
Recently, our wonderful volunteer intern supervisor, Jules Slater, shared their pride at the impressive young leaders serving this semester as interns with NVI. Meeting them gives me hope. If you haven’t already seen this page, I encourage you to check it out.
Below, I share some of the important video production work our interns are already doing at NVI.
For years, I urged Michael Beer to update my friend Gene Sharp’s seminal work cataloging 198 Nonviolent methods. Since then the world has changed dramatically with innovations such as the internet and so much more shaping how people express themselves. Michael has just published a book with more than 350 NV tactics. Please watch this short video where our new intern Dassie Spivack interviews Michael about why he wrote this book. The funny thing is he doesn’t even mention that I told him to.
Next we share an exciting clip from Jamila Raqib, Gene’s successor, who tells how he started collecting NV Tactics and why he stopped at 198. He could have easily rounded up to 200, but he always knew this was unfinished work that should be expanded as the field grew. So for all those who somehow get the impression that Gene’s work was written in stone, please watch this clip made by NVI intern Cam Sephehri.
As you know, NVI believes that the world is facing a series of interrelated crises and that nonviolence is the most effective response to many of them. We also are convinced that nonviolence doesn’t just happen, but is greatly enhanced by knowledge of Tactics and by NV Training. Check out this video of former intern and volunteer Annalisa Bell explaining how to use our NV Tactics database.
In addition to spreading the word on the power of nonviolence and Tactics and Training, the other main part of our work at NVI is serving as a backbone organization of the global nonviolent movement. We provide fiscal sponsorship to a variety of cutting-edge groups we believe in deeply. Below, please see new videos produced by Dassie and Cam raising up the work of Holy Land Trust, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence and Solidarity 2020 and Beyond.
Finally, I was proud to be in conversation with my cousin Jonathan Kuttab and NVI’s Co-Director David Hart during the recent bombing of Gaza. While the bombs are not falling now, conditions remain unacceptable. We ask for your help changing the conversation and thus building a better future. We recorded our full conversation and present it below along with several shorter clips you might share with others as an introduction to this ongoing and wholly preventable human-caused crisis.
If you value this work, please donate to help us expand our impact on this beautiful and broken world.
Nonviolence International is excited to once again welcome our amazing partner, Solidarity 2020 and Beyond. We are grateful for the opportunity to work closely with them and invite you to join us at our second co-sponsored public event. Along with our former partner, the amazing Waging Nonviolence, we are hosting an important webinar on religion and nonviolent action.
Wednesday, October 27 at 11:00 am ET
How can people of faith contribute to nonviolent initiatives for peace, human rights, and sustainability?
About This Event
Some people of faith support oppression, division, and violent conflict, but many others are searching for ways to make a positive contribution to broader movements for rights, freedom, and justice through the practice of peacebuilding and nonviolent resistance. In this interactive webinar. co-sponsored by Solidarity 2020 and Beyond, Waging Nonviolence, and Nonviolence International, participants will interact with moderator Fr. Vedran Obucina, and panelists Pastor Daniel Chay, Elizabeth Kanin Kimau, Ahmadullah Archiwal, and Benjamin Lutz, in order to explore the latter option. The two key questions to be addressed are how can peacebuilders and civil resisters reach out to sympathetic religious people to build stronger coalitions for positive change, and how might people of faith make useful contributions to such nonviolent initiatives?
Fr. Vedran Obućina is a Croatian political scientist, theologian, and a priest in the Orthodox Old-Catholic Church, engaged in religion-based peacebuilding in the Balkans, Caucasus, and Middle East. He is a PhD researcher at the University of Regensburg (Germany), IEP Ambassador, Rotary Peace Fellow from Chulalongkorn University 2020, and co-founder of Solidarity 2020 and Beyond.
Pastor Daniel Chay is a founder and Senior Pastor of the New Life Church of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2019, he was a participant in nonviolent action trainings in Burma and Indonesia. Since 2001, he has worked on building and organizing the Christian Churches Peace Network in Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. He also has promoted interfaith dialogue in those countries among Christians and Buddhists to encourage solidarity and collaborative nonviolent initiatives. He is a member of Solidarity 2020 and Beyond's Global Grassroots Action Network.
Elizabeth Kanini Kimau is a Kenyan Grassroots Peace Builder. She is the founder of Horn of Africa Grassroots Peace Forum (HAP-Forum). She has twelve years’ experience in building a culture of peace in regions fragmented by prolonged inter-ethnic violence (Northern Kenya and South Sudan). In her peace work, Kanini focuses on capacity building for grassroots people who are affected by violent conflicts to be agents of their own peace. Currently she is a PHD student at Centre for Nonviolence in Durban University of Technology (South Africa).
Ahmadallah Archiwal is an Afghan scholar-activist who has written books and manuals on nonviolent action and conducted several Nonviolence and Civic Mobilization trainings for grassroots activists across several provinces of Afghanistan including Kunar, Khost, Kabuk, Kunduz, and Paktia. His research speciality is on nonviolent campaigns from the Islamic world, including the Khudai Khidmatgar movement that was waged in today's Khyber Pakhtonkhwa by Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan.
Benjamin Lutz is the Director of Communications and Operations for Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI) a global organization and network of mediators that support international peacebuilding efforts through effective mediation. He is also an IEP Peace Ambassador and a Rotary Positive Peace Activator. Furthermore, he is currently a Ph.D. student in Religion/Reconciliation/Peace at the University of Winchester focusing on interfaith dialogue efforts in Oman and Lebanon.
All paid tickets will help support the webinar co-sponsors.
If inspired by their work, please consider making a donation.
Who We Are?
- Solidarity 2020 and Beyond is a global network and initiative that is truly activist-driven and movement-centered, driven by bottom-up people power, local wisdom and needs.
Why Did We Start?
- Solidarity 2020 and Beyond was created in the key year of 2020, a historic “tipping point” when COVID-19 hit. Based on urgent requests of numerous grassroots activists from diverse struggles around the world, we conceived of and launched Solidarity 2020 and Beyond. We organized convenings, one-on-one and group discussions, surveys, resource mappings, and data gathering to receive direction and input from numerous grassroots activists. Additionally, we did consultations and received advice from a diverse group of scholar activists and journalists working in the field.
What Are Our Goals?
- The aim of the SOLIDARITY 2020 and Beyond is to work in solidarity with grassroots activists to enhance strategic nonviolent resistance training, convening and networking, psychosocial support and sharing best practices and information across and within movements. We provide interactive webinars and brainstorming sessions, participatory research and data gathering projects, resource files, a media plan that includes blogs, vlogs, online articles, and podcasts.
We want to build people power and mobilize effectively to fight for change to create a world that is more equal, just, peaceful, and provides dignity for all.
An Update from NVI Canada’s Director:
Located off of Canada’s Pacific Coast, Vancouver Island is home to a selection of the dwindling old-growth forests in the northern hemisphere. These untouched forest ecosystems have been under exploitation since the arrival of non-First Nations and as a consequence, few remain. Activists have now blockaded for more than 320 days Protecting Vancouver Island's Ancient Temperate Rainforests on Pacheedaht and Dididaht Territories.
In spite of the courageous work of our activists, there have been more than 222 arrests in the past 28 days of police action by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
One week ago, First Nations, who hold a traditional title to the area, called for a deferral of logging in key areas in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran.
Despite this announcement, large-scale logging could still occur in old-growth forest directly adjacent to Fairy Creek and in parts of the Central Walbran not included in the deferral. Therefore, the forest defenders and blockade remain in place as police action against our nonviolent protections continue.
Above Photo credit: Logging truck photographed on the road in central Vancouver Island on 25 May 2021 by Lorna Beecroft.
For more on the log read: The Mystery Behind a Photo of a Logged Old-Growth Tree
Forest defenders are clustered under the banner of the Rainforest Flying Squad and made up of affinity groups and individuals banding together to maintain a blockade to halt further cutting of the last remaining old-growth forests. In turn, they have been supported by thousands of other concerned British Columbian citizens who have brought out material support, contributed financially, or organized sympathetic demonstrations in other parts of the province.
They also receive support from many provincial and national civil society organizations such as Nonviolence International Canada, which has offered support in the training of legal observers that serve as witnesses to the mass arrests as well as on the ground training in de-escalation techniques for tense encounters between protestors and loggers.
Above photo credit: Blockader removed / Rainforest Flying Squad
To learn more about NVI Canada click here.