Enough is Enough!
We in the United States are facing epidemic levels of gun violence. At NVI, we mourn and we organize. And, we seek to learn from the experience of others around the world who have made substantial progress addressing gun violence. In this midst of this horror, we are glad to be able to raise up a powerful interview featuring a founder of one of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partners. The moral outrage matched with experience and wisdom gives us hope in hard times.
Rebecca Peters was featured on Democracy Now! on May 26th, 2022.
Democracy Now writes, "After the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting, Australia passed sweeping new gun control measures that largely ended mass shootings in the country. We speak with Rebecca Peters, an international arms control advocate who led the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws after the massacre. She recalls how in just 10 days the prime minister brokered a deal with local officials to pass higher standards around gun safety that would prevent any mass shootings for the next 20 years. “We don’t think at all about the possibility of being murdered as we go about our daily lives in Australia,” says Peters."
Nonviolence International is proud to stand in solidarity with our fiscally sponsored partners Control Arms (CA) and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) as leading advocates for disarmament.
NVI interns Paige Wright and Lea Hilliker recently wrote two powerful articles on gun violence. This one reflects on how school safety drills can negatively impact young people and this article focuses on Gender Based Violence and links to our partners’ work.
Sadly, Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a serious problem all over the world. Confronting this issue is challenging anywhere. Imagine how life under occupation would add to those challenges.
NVI was just introduced to the important work of ADWAR: Roles for Social Change. https://adwar.ps/we/
We urge you to become familiar with this impressive organization and consider actively supporting them.
Other recent highlights of their work include:
A project that focuses on: Developing the knowledge and skill of the Men’s Coalition members to advocate and protect women from Gender- Based Violence, on general violence issues, equal rights, advocacy mechanisms and accountability, to advocate the battered women rights and reduce violence.
– Raising awareness among the Palestinian society about the suffering of women from violence in all its forms, highlighting the negative effects of it on the family and society and how to confront it.
– Lobbying and influence decision-makers in the Palestinian government to adopt policies, procedures and programs that contribute to protect women from violence and punishing the offenders.
An initiative enhancing women participation in Hebron governorate in the public sphere in terms of highlighting their role in accountable the parties responsible for corruption and activating their roles in settling the integrity ,transparency principles and maintaining peace and security.
– Raising Palestinian public opinion about the corruption concept , its mechanisms , how it affects women, the family and society and the mechanisms to confront it, in addition to educating society in all its segments, including women, about how to go to the competent organizations to report corruption.
– Highlighting the corruption impact on women in the public field and human rights services, as they constitute the largest percentage of violations of their rights, as a result of the lack of economic, social and human rights services , protection mechanisms , prevention from security, justice and protection organizations.
Paige Wright, NVI’s Intern Supervisor, and former Intern, Lea Hilliker, co-wrote this important piece on Gender Based Gun Violence
In this Spotlight interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Barwendé Sané, a remarkable leader of nonviolence and peacebuilding in West Africa. Barwendé is a Jesuit priest from Burkina Faso with fourteen years of experience working in African conflict regions. He founded two civil society organizations to promote peace and nonviolence in West Africa and is the author of four books on nonviolence, peace education, and human rights. He is currently a fellow at the University of San Francisco Institute for Nonviolence & Social Justice. We discussed Dr. King's legacy, the historical links between the Black freedom struggle in the US and the anti-colonial movement in Africa, and how the systemic recolonization of Africa fuels war.
Barwendé Sané is a true heir to Dr. King, a man with the moral clarity and audacity to call out injustice when he sees it. His vocation as a priest became apparent when he launched into a sermon fiercely denouncing the systemic recolonization of Africa, his baritone voice ringing with a righteous anger rooted in love. At a time when the voices of racism and xenophobia fill the airwaves of the US and Europe, Barwendé's voice is desperately needed, reminding us of the conditions which lead African migrants to journey to Europe and die drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, drawing attention to Western complicity in the ongoing instability in Africa. Barwendé awakens us to the imperialist actions of our own governments, calling us to action to hold our governments accountable. While scathing in his critique of foreign exploitation, Barwendé pushes back against the white-savior notion of Africans as helpless victims. He has a fervent faith in the ability of Africans to be the architects of their own liberation, to use nonviolence to heal their societies and transform their worlds. I found our conversation deeply insightful and inspiring and I hope you do too.
Learn more about the USF Institute here- https://www.usfca.edu/institute-nonviolence-social-justice
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.
Celebrating Peter Ackerman
We are sad to report the news that Peter Ackerman died on April 26 at age 75.
Ackerman was 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.
Peter 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. 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.
In recognition of his contributions to nonviolence, we would like to post your reflections here on the Nonviolence International website.
In the coming days, we will posting tributes. Please check back on this page for updates.
Please send your public thoughts to us here.
NVI hosted the public book launch event for Peter. Please see this impressive video
See a shorter clip of Peter talking about his book.
Since Michael Beer, NVI's longtime Director, has recently published a book with ICNC updating Gene Sharp's work on Nonviolent Tactics, on the last evening of his life, Peter wrote to Michael asking him for the top 20 tactics that have been effective at a)increasing participation in a campaign, b) encouraging / leading to defections, and c) providing a strong antidote to repression.
To fully celebrate his legacy, we ask for your help leveraging the wisdom of our impressive community of leaders committed to and knowledgeable of nonviolence.
What are your thoughts on this important question? Please send your ideas to us here. We will post selections on this page.
Michael Beer. General Strikes. In 2019 in Sudan, general strikes forced the military to agree to a civilian transition. General strikes when widely followed, is one of the most powerful tools against a tyrant.
Mubarak Awad, Flying flags. In Palestine in the 1st intifada, we flew flags. This was illegal but something everyone could do.
Michael Beer, Occupation. In Egypt in 2011, the public occupied the national square for weeks and brought about a fall of the dictator.
What additional tactics do you think we should include in the list?
See these moving tributes
Peter Ackerman has left us much too soon. He strongly supported my in project on nonviolent tactics that resulted in an ICNC monograph, entitled Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century. He then delayed the publication of his own book, The Checklist to End Tyranny, to incorporate insights from my book. NVI had the privilege to host a launch of his book last year. I was particularly stunned to hear of his death because he sent me an email just hours before requesting 20 top tactics to confront dictators for his upcoming trainings using the checklist planning formula.
Stunned at the news of the sudden death today of Peter Ackerman, who not only was a leading scholar of strategic nonviolent action (Strategic Nonviolent Action, A Force More Powerful, Preventing Mass Atrocities, A Checklist to End Tyranny), but used a chunk of his personal fortune to support research and promotion of this powerful tool for social justice and political freedom. For quite a few years, he funded Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution and went on to co-found and support the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
He and I disagreed strongly on economic issues (he was something of a libertarian), but we could work together in the realization that neither my socialist ideals nor his neoliberal ideals could be manifested in a just and functional way under dictatorship. As a result, we were happy to cooperate in our support for nonviolent pro-democracy struggles against autocrats of both the left and right.
Peter was the target of all sorts of bizarre conspiracy theories (some of which included me, George Soros, the CIA, Gene Sharp, the USIP, the Pentagon, etc.), but he played a major role in the growing acceptability of strategic nonviolent action in academia and increasing understanding that such movements need to think strategically in order to succeed.
It was through projects he supported that introduced a new generation of scholars to the field (Erica Chenoweth, Maria Stephan, Jonathan Pinckney, etc.) and enabled scores of us to research and publish projects that never would have seen the light of day.
Despite some issues I had with some of his politics and associations, I am filled with gratitude about what he made possible and what he accomplished.
Peter will be missed greatly. He supported Gene Sharp financially so much when no one else did. He knew the power of nonviolent action and people power to change the world to support democracy. He used his fortune to spread the knowledge of nonviolent action and the world has benefited a lot from his vision and commitment.
Peter Ackerman made a great contribution to society, by his research and practice of nonviolence, and by his support for a whole generation of young activists from all over the world to share their skills and experiences
We Are All Part of One Another - Webinar Series
Nonviolent Tactics Are The Tools of Liberation Webinar
Nonviolence International hosted a book event for Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century by Michael Beer one year after the initial book launch, to celebrate the impact this invaluable book is having and to launch our brand new Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century Study Guide.
In a time of looming climate catastrophe, police brutality, rising authoritarianism, extreme wealth inequality, apartheid, and brutal war crimes, nonviolent action is desperately needed to build a more just world. Tactics are the tools that activists use to create social and political change. Michael Beer’s book on civil resistance tactics is a must-read for scholars and activists, updating Gene Sharp’s seminal work for our current moment and synthesizing the scholarly contributions of several thinkers to create a universal framework for the categorization of nonviolent tactics. Michael’s book showcases the beautiful tapestry of tactics and the incredible creativity and ingenuity of activists and along with the Tactics Database provides an extensive repertoire of tactics for the activist toolbox.
Nimesh Wijewardane hosted and speakers included Michael Beer, Amber French, Rivera Sun, and Andrea Palomo-Robles.
Sponsored by Nonviolence International
Nimesh Wijewardane is an intern at Nonviolence International. He graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in political science and will be attending American University Washington College of Law this fall. He has volunteered for several political campaigns and was a Field Organizing Fellow for the VA Dems Coordinated Campaign. As an NVI intern, he has been a co-host of NVI's Spotlight Series on our YouTube channel and has interviewed several remarkable activists. He is passionate about nonviolence, progressive politics, and Engaged Buddhism.
Michael Beer has been Director of Nonviolence International since 1998. Michael is a global activist for human rights, minority rights and argues against war and casino capitalism. He has trained activists in many countries, including Myanmar, Kosovo, Tibet, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Zimbabwe, and the United States. He is a frequent public speaker on nonviolence and has been broadcast on CSPAN, CNN, and other major media outlets. Michael is the co-parent of two children with his life partner, Latanja.
Rivera Sun is a change-maker, a cultural creative, a protest novelist, and an advocate for nonviolence and social justice. She is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, The Way Between and other novels. She is the editor of Nonviolence News. Her study guide to making change with nonviolent action is used by activist groups across the country. Her essays and writings are syndicated by Peace Voice, and have appeared in journals nationwide. Rivera Sun attended the James Lawson Institute in 2014 and facilitates workshops in strategy for nonviolent change across the country and internationally. Between 2012-2017, she co-hosted nationally two syndicated radio programs on civil resistance strategies and campaigns. Rivera was the social media director and programs coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence. In all of her work, she connects the dots between the issues, shares solutionary ideas, and inspires people to step up to the challenge of being a part of the story of change in our times.
Amber French is the Editorial Advisor at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and is currently based in Paris, France. Since joining ICNC in 2014, Amber French has led in developing and managing ICNC’s editorial and media initiatives. Amber led the development of the Minds of the Movement blog, for which she is Co-Editor. In 2016, she oversaw the launch of the Nonviolent Conflict News website, a news aggregator site on civil resistance around the world. She also launched and is managing ICNC Press, which has so far produced nine books in online and print editions. Previously, Amber served as editor of the Migration Policy Institute’s Migration Information Source and the UNESCO/Max Planck Institute journal New Diversities.
Andrea Palomo-Robles is the Executive Director of the Satyagraha Institute. She is a specialist in Positive Peace and has more than 10 years of experience in the social sector. She has collaborated nationally and internationally with various peace, leadership and human rights organizations. She’s been part of the Satyagraha Institute since 2016, participating in several programs and engaging in the Coordinating Committee. Andrea is a political scientist and studied Nonviolence at the Gujarat Vidyapith University. She has consolidated her leadership with her work as a speaker and workshop facilitator on issues of conflict, nonviolence, disruption and peace in the Americas and in Europe. Andrea is a member of organizations that support youth development worldwide. Part of her work has been dedicated to support organizational development and public relations in the social and private sectors.
We live in troubled times. Those who visit this website are well aware of that harsh reality. Many of us are struggling to find reason to hope in these hard times. I’m thrilled to be able to share with you a bright ray of light shining in the darkness.
I’ve just met some new friends doing important work in difficult circumstances. It is a rare gift to meet people who have a clear and inspirational vision of what must be done to make the world a better place. It becomes even more significant when they are also already underway doing the hard work to make that vision real.
In the occupied town of Hebron, an ancient city of deep importance, there are over 550 schools and just 15 music teachers. Take that in for a moment. We regularly focus appropriately on the suffering of our Palestinian sisters and brothers in deep and profound ways. The occupation (which three major groups have declared fits the legal definition of apartheid) impacts precious humans’ lives in far too many ways to list here.
Even for me, someone who has spent decades studying the region and a lover of music, this was a need I knew nothing of before meeting Maali Tamimi and Aboud Qawasmeh the founders of SOUL. We were brought together through our wonderful partner HIRN and will now be raising up their work on our website. You can learn more about SOUL through our latest interview with Maali and Aboud, and the infomation about them below.
To get a sense of the impressive clarity of vision they bring to this work, please see this document and these brief excerpts below:
SOUL fills an evident and important gap as the first social non-profit forum in Hebron that puts music at the heart of its mission and vision. Placed in this strategically and economically important centre of Palestine’s South, SOUL offers a space that will enhance the outreach and expansion of music in the region. In the context of the persistent Israeli military occupation, music, and arts more broadly, offers the chance to increase social cohesion and resilience among the population, allows individuals to seek refuge and relief in a safe space and to find meaning and belonging in the frame of Palestinian music culture and heritage.”
SOUL is a place that brings together artists and music professionals locally, regionally, and internationally to enable knowledge exchange and collaboration. Cooperating with other music and cultural organisations in Palestine and beyond allows to find synergies in this field. The creation of a music archive symbolises the bridge between the past and the present, as it will allow to capture, record, preserve and catalogue the rich variety of historical, traditional Palestinian pieces of music that face a threat of getting lost.
At the core of SOUL’s activities lies an inclusive, accessible and gender-sensitive approach to welcome everyone who has an interest in music with open arms.
I hope you are as inspired as I am about their work. If so, please take three simple steps.
Spread the word. Tell people who already agree with us that Palestinians are fully human and deserve the same basic rights as all people. Let them know of this shining example of grounded hope. Urge them to tell others and together we can demonstrate the power of the multiplier effect of energetic organizing.
Use this unusual program as a rare opening to at least two people who don’t yet agree on this issue. Experiment with using the beauty and power of music as an opening to have the hard conversations we so often avoid. Deep in our hearts we know that activating people who already agree with us is only part of the challenge before us. We must also reach out - ready to listen and learn, not just teach - and call people into the conversation. Together, we can and we must change the conversation about Palestine and Israel so that we can change policy and impact people’s lives.
Donate here on this site. Consider becoming a monthly donor to this exciting project that is still in its infancy. Having met these wonderful leaders, I am confident that this project can become a groundbreaking force raising up the power of music to heal and repair our broken and beautiful world. By giving now, at whatever level of personal comfort works for you, or by becoming a monthly donor, you will be in on the ground floor of something already having an impact and full of the potential to become even more powerful if we take these simple steps together.
To learn more about their work, we are pleased to offer you this short video and bios below and ask that you check back on this page for future updates about SOUL’s still unfolding contribution to building a world of peace with justice for all.
SOUL is a "Cultural Forum for Music and the Arts"
Maali Tamimi is the Supervisor of Music Education for the Ministry of Education in the north of the Hebron Governorate and herself a volunteer music teacher of many years through the French Cultural Association in Hebron focusing on voice and piano.
Aboud Qawasmeh is a graduate from the music program at the Bethlehem University and an ongoing student at Dar Al Kalima College's music program, he is also a music teacher of Oud, Qanoon, Guitar, Darbuka (drums), and voice of 7 years.
They have pioneered projects in the Old City of Hebron, including a children's choir in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, and they have taught children with disabilities music - which will be a focal point of SOUL's work. They do amazing work bringing music into particularly marginalized and conservative communities in the Hebron area.
Artist Ashley Lukashevsky
For my first Spotlight interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Sarah Lockwood, a social scientist and lecturer at the Center for Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Lockwood’s research focuses on political violence and other forms of democratic accountability, particularly in the context of developing countries. In her interview, she discussed the dynamics behind why people protest, how some protests turn violent, whether protests can effectively hold governments and corporations accountable, as well as Dr. Lockwood’s personal journey from journalism into academia.
Despite the uprisings against racial injustice in the United States and globally in the summer of 2020, we still live in a world where structural inequities negatively impact many lives. My interest in Dr. Lockwood’s work comes from wanting to understand why, even when people mobilize at massive scales, social movements often struggle to enact necessary changes. On that note, Dr. Lockwood’s research on protests, one of the ways social movements demand change, points out the many costs to organizing successfully, such as sharing information and gathering enough people who support the cause and believe their actions will bring about change. In other words, protests are rarely spontaneous, and may need months, perhaps years, of advanced planning and coordination to be successful. Unfortunately, marginalized communities will often face challenges gathering the resources necessary to mobilize even as they may be facing the worst deprivations. Moreover, protests from these communities, such as in informal settlements in the developing world, are unlikely to receive attention from the media or local councilors unless they are disruptive enough, such as using barricades or damaging private property. While I remain committed to nonviolence, acknowledging the disparities that protestors from marginalized communities face in having their voices heard is crucial to designing effective nonviolent protest strategies.
I appreciate how Dr. Lockwood’s research can help us look at the dynamics of protest activity more objectively. As an academic, Dr. Lockwood strives to keep her research relevant to a public audience through consultancy work and engaging the communities she studies with her research findings. I found our conversation thought-provoking, and I hope you will too.
Article Discussed in Interview: Lockwood, S. J. (2022). Protest Brokers and the Technology of Mobilization: Evidence from South Africa. Comparative Political Studies, 55(4), 628–656.
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.
Written by Nimesh Wijewardane
Thich Nhat Hanh at the Plum Village monastery in southern France | Credit: Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism
On January 22, 2022, the world lost an extraordinary spiritual leader. Thich Nhat Hanh was a world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, and prolific author and poet. He was a beloved teacher and a guiding light, affectionately called Thay by his followers, the Vietnamese word for teacher. I count myself among the many people whose lives have been touched and profoundly transformed by his wisdom and compassion. Thay coined the term “Engaged Buddhism”, arguing that Buddhism, properly understood, is not merely about individual liberation but collective liberation, that Buddhists cannot simply retreat from the world and all its concerns and attain Nirvana in isolation but instead must engage in political and social struggles against oppression and injustice. Thay recognized that a religious community cannot simply stay on the sidelines but must take a stand. He tirelessly promoted nonviolent solutions to conflict and encouraged us to open our eyes to the interdepence of all living beings on Earth, and once aware of this state of “interbeing” to not only avoid harming human life but to also avoid harming nonhuman animals and the natural world. For Thay, nonviolence was a way of life, rooted in this idea of interbeing. He wrote, “Nonviolent action, born of the awareness of suffering and nurtured by love, is the most effective way to confront adversity.”
Thich Nhat Hanh was born Nguyen Xuan Bao in the city of Hue in central Vietnam. At age 16, he joined a Zen monastery. After several years, he took the official vows of monk and became active in the youth-led Buddhist reform movement in Vietnam. Thay taught and wrote about Buddhism, seeking to make Buddhism more relevant to the modern world. Thay’s growing popularity threatened the conservative Buddhist establishment, who discontinued a journal he had been editing and canceled his classes.
In response to this opposition, Thay went to the United States in 1961 to study comparative religion at the Princeton Theological Seminary and later became a lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia. Yet aware of the suffering in his homeland, he returned to South Vietnam in 1963 to engage in peace work alongside fellow monks. Since 1954, Vietnam had been divided between the Communist North and the pro-West South, with ongoing armed struggle between the government of South Vietnam and the communist guerrillas. Thay founded the School of Youth for Social Services, a grassroots relief organization consisting of over 10,000 volunteers which established schools and health care clinics in rural South Vietnam and helped rebuild bombed villages. In 1964, Thay published an anti-war poem titled “Condemnation”, writing "whoever is listening, be my witness: I cannot accept this war...". The poem was denounced as pro-communist propaganda. Thay’s conception of Engaged Buddhism grew from the bloodstained soil of the war in Vietnam. In an interview with the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar, Thay said, “When bombs begin to fall on people, you cannot stay in the meditation hall all of the time. Meditation is about the awareness of what is going on—not only in your body and in your feelings, but all around you.”
In February 1966, Thay ordained six leaders who had been part of the School of Youth for Social Services and established a new religious order, the Order of Interbeing, a community of Buddhist monks, nuns, and laypeople based on the Five Mindfulness Trainings and Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, modern versions of the precepts Buddhists have practiced for centuries. These mindfulness trainings include living with a vocation that harms neither humans nor nature; and living in accord with the ideals of compassion, protection of life, and prevention of war. Since the 1960s, The Order of Interbeing has grown into an international movement.
Thay traveled to the US in May 1966 to enlighten the American public about the Vietnam War’s devastating impact and appeal the US government to cease its bombing campaign. During that visit, Thay met with Martin Luther King Jr. and urged him to publicly denounce the Vietnam War. At a press conference with Thay, King spoke out against the war for the first time. In 1967, King gave a famous speech at Riverside Church boldly articulating his opposition to the Vietnam War. Later that year, King nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, writing “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”
Thay’s 1996 trip to the US was only meant to last a few weeks, but turned into decades of exile. After he presented a peace plan urging America to stop bombing and to offer reconstruction aid without ideological strings, the government of South Vietnam declared him a traitor and banned him from returning. After the Communists seized control of the South in 1975, he was again refused permission to enter Vietnam. His principled anti-war stance had made him an enemy of both sides.
In exile, Thay settled in the south of France and established the Plum Village Monastery, which would be his new home for decades, and remains the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe and America. Thay became one of the main ambassadors of Buddhism to the West, writing more than 100 books and bringing the concept of mindfulness into the mainstream. Thay spoke out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying, “We know very well that airplanes, guns and bombs cannot remove wrong perceptions. Only loving speech and compassionate listening can help people correct wrong perceptions. But our leaders are not trained in that discipline, and they rely only on the armed forces to remove terrorism.” He encouraged us to address the root causes of violence and cultivate peace in our hearts. Thay brought together Israelis and Palestinians for peacebuilding retreats at Plum Village, continuing his lifelong commitment to ending conflict. Thay also spoke out about the urgency of addressing climate change, writing, “There’s a revolution that needs to happen and it starts from inside each one of us. We need to wake up and fall in love with Earth. Our personal and collective happiness and survival depends on it.” Throughout his writings, interviews, and speeches he continued to draw connections between the personal and the collective, promoting mindfulness not merely as a tool for self-help but as a necessary precondition for avoiding war and climate catastrophe.
Thay’s teachings have had a significant impact on me. In my Sri Lankan American family, I was raised as a Buddhist, but in my teenage years, I had begun to drift away from Buddhism, questioning whether I truly believed in its precepts, whether it was truly applicable to my life, and unsure of how Buddhism aligned with my political convictions. Buddhism, at least the kind practiced by those in my Sri Lankan American community, seemed to be apolitical, almost entirely detached from and unconcerned with issues of oppression and injustice. But as a high school student on the Internet, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some of Thay’s writings in the online Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar. I was struck by the beauty and simplicity of Thay’s words, the ease at which he distilled the abstract and somewhat complicated ideas of dharma in a clear and compelling way. Each perfectly crafted sentence seemed intuitively true. Engaged Buddhism gave me a framework with which to reconcile my faith and my political activism. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I am a Buddhist not merely because of my upbringing but because of Thich Nhat Hanh. During my freshman year of college I struggled with loneliness and depression but on one bright February afternoon I found “The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh”, a small collection of some of his writings, in an independent bookstore in Georgetown and bought it. In spring, I would sit outside in the quad of George Washington University’s Mount Vernon campus and read Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, which brought me comfort, reminded me of the temporality of all things, and encouraged me to bear witness to the miracle of life. Sitting on a wooden bench, watching the world ablaze with sunlight and contemplating Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, I felt pretty close to enlightenment. Thay has a beautiful phrase-“No mud, no lotus”, a reminder that happiness and suffering are deeply intertwined, that you can’t have one without the other. Whenever I find myself dealing with a difficult situation, I chant that phrase to myself, over and over- “No mud, no lotus.”
Thay wrote that birth and death are but illusions, that we are never really born and never really die. I know that Thay will continue to live on in in the hearts and minds of all the people who have been awakened and inspired by his life and his teachings.
Thich Nhat Hanh's calligraphy
Nonviolence International is excited to share Jonathan Kuttab's timely and important book
Beyond the Two-State Solution.
You can learn more below and get a free PDF by clicking these buttons.
Click any item in this list to go to that part of the page.
For those interested in getting the book in formats other than the free PDFs above, it is available as an ebook and printed book as well.
As an organization, we strive to support local mission-driven bookstores such as our friends at Middle East Books and More. Please consider supporting us and Middle East Books and More by purchasing Beyond the Two State Solution.
If you are inspired to support this work, consider making a donation or becoming one of our sustaining monthly donors.
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.
The video directly below 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.
This video is in-depth and we think raises up key voices.
Please watch it and let us know what you think.
In Conversation with a respected Jewish leader, 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. 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.
Why We Need Your Help to Dream Beyond the Two-State Solution
NVI is under-resourced for the challenges before us including doing justice to this mission-critical book launch. So, we must do what activists do, and that is ask for your help.
We have several key goals in mind related to this book launch. One is a strong desire to get this book into the hands of those who need it most. Are you a teacher who might know how to go about getting books into the classroom from high school through graduate studies?
We still do not have an active Communications Action Team (nor a Development Action Team). If you believe, as we do, that the world needs to learn about the power of nonviolence, please consider helping us make this book launch impactful. If you can volunteer your time and talents, please contact us or fill out this simple Google Form. If you can make a gift to support this work, please do so here.
How You Can Help
NVI had an internal meeting that gave our core team hope that we can achieve our stretch goal of changing the conversation around Israel / Palestine and by so doing having real-world impacts on policy and thus on people’s lives.
35 wonderful leaders each with networks of their own joined us to strategize about how we can leverage the power of Jonathan’s inspirational book. Those of us who have been watching this issue for years or decades are well aware that the conversation has been stuck for far too long. This has led to unnecessary and totally avoidable human suffering. We are committed to breaking out of this old tired pattern and are thrilled that our own co-founder has offered such a well thought out powerful booklet.
Those who gathered on the call came up with a range of good ideas and even more importantly some key leaders made specific comments to carry this vital work forward. With the deep inspiration coming out of that meeting, we ask for your help with this effort. Please contact us to let us know how you’d like to be involved.
We are fully committed to your success and are creating a Toolkit to make this easy for you.
2) A shareable social media graphic
3) Sample text for your promotional emails
Dear <First Name>,
When it fits your busy schedule, I’d love to partner with you on getting our co-founder, Jonathan Kuttab, on a networking webinar. As you know, we are just getting started with the promotional effort for his timely and important new book.
Learn more and get your free advance copy at https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/b2ss_book
Here is a bit about the book from the author:
After decades of work promoting creative nonviolence, I am about to publish a book which I hope, with your help can address the current impasse, and perhaps change the conversation around Israel / Palestine. Many activists are frustrated, despondent, and floundering with no clear vision or direction. We need some fresh out-of-the-box thinking. This is true for Palestinians, Israelis, and our friends in the international community. I’ve asked Nonviolence International, a group I co-founded and value deeply, to lead the effort to get this book into the hands of people across the political spectrum and across the world. Even with everything else already in their established plans, the team is going above and beyond to ensure this book gets the attention we believe it deserves.
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. Many thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. In this book, I explain why the two-state solution (that I supported) is no longer viable. I suggest that any solution must be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties. I formulate 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. I have tried hard to make it balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.
Thanks again for your impressive leadership in building the network. Really inspirational to see this growing into a powerful global much-needed force.
4) Sample Twitter and Facebook posts
- Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab, is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 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 book, Jonathan Kattab formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. Download full PDF book:https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/b2ss_book
Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab, is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 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. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. In Beyond The Two-State Solution, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution is no longer viable. Jonathan Kattab formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism.
Download the full PDF of the book now: https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/b2ss_book
Please let us know what else you need to be successful in joining our growing team promoting this important text.
If you are inspired to support this work, consider making a donation or becoming one of our sustaining monthly donors.
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."
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.”