Nonviolent Resistance in/for Western Sahara

Nonviolent Resistance to the Occupation and Annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco

For those new to this topic, please scroll down to learn from the many resources below.

NVI supports a coalition of groups called Just Visit Western Sahara. Our mission is to support human rights and self-determination of the Sahrawi people and to support the international tourists to visit the has long supported Sahrawis who continue to resist the occupation and annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco. Invaded by Morocco in 1975 (with strong support from the USA), resistance has been armed and nonviolent. NVI supports nonviolent resistance and an end to the Moroccan occupation.  The Western Sahara has UN status as the world's last major non-self-governing territory. In 1991, the United Nations promised to hold a referendum for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara. To this day, the referendum has not transpired.

In recent years, nonviolent resistance has been led substantially by Sahrawi women including the Khaya Sisters. In 2022, NVI in conjunction with other groups, intervened in the siege of the Khaya Sisters At the invitation of the Khaya family in Boujdour, Western Sahara, US-based volunteers arrived at their home to protect them from human rights abuses and break the almost 500-day siege of the house imposed by Moroccan occupation forces. Sultana Khaya was escorted to Spain by our team on Jun 3rd, 2022 to obtain medical care.

In June of 2023, Wynd Kaufman and Adrienne Kenney who were participants in the intervention to save the Khaya family, spoke powerfully of their experiences of the Saharawi people and Moroccan illegal occupation at the UN Special Committee on Decolonization. Please these 4 minutes videos and read more below the Saharawi people.

Here is Wynd Kaufman's testimony!

Here is Adrienne Kinne's testimony


September 2023 Waari Khaya and Sahrawi Women Protest During UN Visit. 

"Sahawaris peacefully demonstrated in the capital city of El-Aaiún in response to the arrival of the United Nations Special Envoy to Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura."

Nonviolent resistance to occupation and annexation continues. The media release is here and the results of her beating by Moroccan authorities are shown below.

 


Sultana Khaya is touring the world speaking out against Moroccan occupation and abuses. 

On February 7th, 2023, Sultana Khaya spoke to the European Parliament about her experience in the aftermath of a scandal in which massive Moroccan corruption of the European Parliament led to failure to win the Sakharov Prize.

In December, the Vice President of Parliament, Eva Kaili as well as other key figures were arrested in conjunction with allegations that they recieved money in exchange for favorable actions for Qatar and Morocco.  " The Italian newspaper "Il fatto quotidiano", quoting investigators from the federal prosecutor's office in Brussels, indicated that the interference of the Moroccan regime would not have been limited to influencing the decisions of the European Parliament concerning Morocco, but would also have been focused on the "appointment of members of Eurochamber committees that dealt with sensitive issues for the Maghreb country", including that of 'candidates for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought'.  See here for the full article. https://www.spsrasd.info/news/en/articles/2022/12/24/43391.html For more information on the scandal, watch the Democracy Now Interview


The Siege of the Khaya Sisters in 2021 and 2022.

A report with photos can be found here.

US-Based Volunteer Adrienne Kinne interrupting the siege with Sultana Khaya and friends. 

Supported by the Human Rights Action Center (HRAC), NVI and a network of other human rights groups, the international unarmed civilian protection (UCP) volunteers, Ruth McDonough, Adrienne Kinne, Merwyn De Mello and Tim Pluth visited the Sultana family.

Since November 2020, the Khaya Sisters had been forcibly confined to their home and the family has faced many forms of abuse, including home invasions, sexual violence and injections of unknown substances. The Khaya sisters have been raped by Moroccan security forces in front of their 84-year-old mother. Furthermore, their water has been poisoned, furniture and property destroyed, and electricity cut-off.

Referring to her experience, Sultana Khaya shared, “I am not the first Saharawi woman to be raped by the occupiers. I am simply the first woman to speak publicly about it. I have to expose the reality of the occupation. And I need to pave the way for the next generation of Saharawi women.” 

Sultana Khaya is a Saharawi human rights defender whose work focuses on promoting the right of self-determination for the Saharawi people and ending violence against Saharawi women, through active participation in nonviolent efforts and demonstrations. She serves as the president of the Saharawi League for the Defense of Human Rights and the Protection of Western Sahara’s Natural Resources, and is a member of the Saharawi Commission against the Moroccan occupation (ISACOM). She is a nominee for the Sakharov Prize and winner of the Esther Garcia Award. As an outspoken activist, she has been targeted by the occupying Moroccan forces while engaged in peaceful protests, enduring abductions, beatings, and having one eye gouged out.

The US-based visitors called for an end to the rapes, freedom of movement for the Khaya family and all visitors, and an independent international investigation of these human rights abuses.

Grounded in international law, Unarmed Civilian Protection is a nonpartisan strategy that revolves around the use of nonviolent methods by civilians to protect other civilians under threat. Such protection is provided on invitation from local actors and supports local agency and infrastructures for peace.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other highly respected investigative groups have documented widespread detentions, the torture of dissidents, and violent suppression of peaceful protests by Moroccan forces in Western Sahara. 

On 1 July 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, condemned the reprisals against Sultana Khaya and expressed “particular concern about the apparent use of violence and the threat of violence to prevent and obstruct women human rights defenders in their peaceful human rights activities.” 


Nonviolence International's History of Nonviolent Action in Western Sahara

NVI has been worked to support nonviolent resistance to Moroccan occupation since 1991.

September 2022, NVI launches an online pledge calling on everyone to support nonviolent resistance to all occupations and forcible annexations, whether they be in Western Sahara, Golan Heights, Greater Jerusalem, or Ukraine.

June 2022, Sultana Khaya is escorted to Spain for medical care.

May 2022, A 2nd delegation of US based visitors to the Khaya family were kidnapped by unknown Moroccans and deported from Western Sahara.

May 2022. Moroccan authorities repeatedly smash the Khaya residence with a massive truck to kill all of its residents and US guests.

April 2022: In Nonviolent Strategies and Stories in Israel-Palestine and Western Sahara, Michael Beer and Osama Elewat speak with the Metta Center for Nonviolence on the power of nonviolence.

March 2022: NVI in conjunction with other NGOs, organized a team of US based activists to visit the Khaya Sisters and break the almost 500 day siege.

January 2022: Stephen Zunes writes in Foreign Policy in Focus that President Biden's refusal to reverse President Trump's policy on Western Sahara has dangerous global implications. 

Zunes piece in The Progressive warned that the threat of further Russian aggression against Ukraine was real and noted that the Biden administration is in a weak position to lead an international response.

December 2021: Khaya Family Update

March 2021: Nonviolence International is proud to make connections across boundaries that for far too long we have allowed to divide us. This NVI webinar connects those resisting occupation from Palestine to Western Sahara. We believe in the power of active nonviolence and offer this conversation as a way to celebrate brave nonviolent leaders and our shared use of creative Nonviolent Tactics and Training to make us even more impactful. 

(Video above shows Sultana Khaya - while under heavy surveillance - joining our webinar through Salka Barca. Note the 22-minute mark, at which Sultana Khaya dramatically confronts those who besiege her house.)

CNN featured Sultana Khaya’s powerful op-ed on a difficult topic that rarely gets the attention it deserves (Morocco: Western Sahara Activist Raped)

November 2020: NVI's Director, Michael Beer co-wrote this piece calling for an End to the Conflict in Western Sahara) and encouraging the US Government to change it policies towards Western Sahara. 

Nonviolence International supports international law and opposes the unlawful and violent occupations of its neighbors by Israel, Morocco and Russia.

July 2020:  Nonviolence International's statement on annexation

 

(Mubarak Awad & Jonathan Kuttab in Western Sahara in 2015)

2015, NVI's co-founders Mubarak Awad and Jonathan Kuttab are some of the few Palestinians and Americans who have gone and done solidarity work with them in the occupied territory.

2014, Jonathan Kuttab visits Western Sahara to speak about nonviolent resistance to occupation, human rights, and international law.

2005, NVI invites a Sahrawi representative to speak in Bethlehem at the World Conference on Nonviolent Resistance.

1991-2013, NVI is one of the only organizations to lead protests in Washington DC against Moroccan occupation and abuse in Western Sahara.

 


Resources on Western Sahara

A BATTLEFIELD TRANSFORMED: FROM GUERILLA RESISTANCE TO MASS NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE IN THE WESTERN SAHARA
Dr. Maria J. Stephan and Jacob Mundy. 


War Resisters International’s January 2021

Statement in the Face of War and Western Sahara Country Profile


The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's nine minute video on Western Sahara


Democracy Now's hour long documentary: Four Days in Occupied Western Sahara: Africa's Last Colony. 



An 2022 update on the Geo-politics of Western Sahara, by Jacob Mundy.

https://theconversation.com/unpacking-the-power-plays-over-western-sahara-186675  

Donate to support NVI's ongoing efforts to promote nonviolence in Western Sahara here.

 

Latest posts

US Boats to Gaza helps Freedom Flotilla Effort to Break the Siege

 

Media Release
April 4, 2024

The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) will sail in mid April with multiple vessels, carrying 5500 tons of humanitarian aid and hundreds of international human rights observers to challenge the ongoing illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is an emergency mission as the situation in Gaza is dire, with famine setting in in northern Gaza, and catastrophic hunger present throughout the Gaza Strip as the result of a deliberate policy by the Israeli government to starve the Palestinian people. Time is critical as experts predict that hunger and disease could claim more lives than have been killed in the bombing.

Getting humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza is urgent, but it is not sufficient. We must end Israel’s unlawful, deadly blockade as well as Israel’s overall control of Gaza. Allowing Israel to control what and how much humanitarian aid can get to Palestinians in Gaza is like letting the fox manage the henhouse.  And yet, this is what the international community of states is allowing by refusing to sanction Israel and defy its genocidal policies in order to ensure that enough aid reaches the trapped, beleaguered and bombarded civilian population.

The Cyprus maritime corridor, the U.S. floating pier project, and symbolic air drops of food are all distractions from the fact that these methods of aid delivery are insufficient, and still leave Israel in control of what aid can get to the Palestinian people, all while Israel actively prevents thousands of aid trucks from entering Gaza through the land crossings.

On January 26 the International Court of Justice ruled that, ‘the State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said Order, including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.’ On March 28, the ICJ ordered additional preliminary measures, which included requiring the Israeli forces to stop “preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance” to Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel has long violated its responsibility as occupying power to ensure the health and wellbeing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Now, it is engaging in full scale genocidal conduct in Gaza and using starvation as a weapon of war. Israeli military and political leaders have repeatedly declared their intention to collectively punish the entire population of Gaza, including by denying them food, water and other life-sustaining aid. We therefore reject Israel’s control over the humanitarian aid that can enter Gaza and reject any Israeli inspection of our cargo.For everyone’s safety and to ensure aid is delivered to those who need it, the FFC is bringing hundreds of international humanitarian observers, from many countries and different backgrounds.

“The International Court of Justice’s preliminary measures ordered against Israel are very clear” comments Ismail Moola of South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. “The court’s ruling requires the whole world to play their part to stop the genocide unfolding in Gaza, including unobstructed access to vital aid. While our governments fail to lead in these urgently required humanitarian responses, people of conscience and our grassroots organizations must act to take leadership. When governments fail, we sail!”

###

Many supporters of Nonviolence International are joining this aid effort as volunteers.

If you want to donate, please donate here.

(Please see this page for background information, resources, and action steps on Palestine / Israel)


NVI fiscally sponsors groups that work to help Gazans. Please support them.

If you want to hear news and views directly from Gaza, please check the website and social media sites of  We Are Not Numbers.

US Boats to Gaza is a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more about their important work below. 

Here are some photos from the big recent Washington, DC event for Palestinian humanity that was part of much larger global effort.


Don't miss this important event!

 

 

In this time of enormous unnecessary suffering, it is vitally important that people of good will everywhere raise up the humanity of Palestinian people.

NVI is grateful to the co-founder of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partner, We Are Not Numbers, Ahmed Alnaouq, who brought this short moving video clip to our attention.

Don’t miss US Representative Rashida Tlaib saying the name and last words of WANN writer, Yousef Dawas.

Then take a moment to watch her powerful video here.


We Are Not Numbers is featured in this moving piece in "In These Times."

“I yearn for our voices to echo across the globe with the truth, reaching out to those who seek it.”

SHERELL BARBEE FEBRUARY 7, 2024

https://inthesetimes.com/article/letters-from-gaza-genocide-palestine-culture-


 

We are thrilled that Ahmed's powerful voice was included in the Washington Post.

Here is his excerpt and a link (behind a paywall) to the full article, which includes other perspectives - several not rooted in personal experience or basic human compassion for the suffering of others. When militarists are welcomed into the mainstream press, the media doesn't feel a need to provide "balance." But, for some reason, the few times that Palestinian voices are heard, they present another perspective that often negates Palestinian humanity. 

The slaughter must end

Ahmed Alnaouq: Last week, Israel bombed my family home in Gaza, killing my father, as well as two brothers, three sisters and all of their children, in an instant. One friend described their bodies as “bags of meat” — an arm here, a leg there.

I write to you in mourning. Even now, we Palestinians are not granted the luxury to grieve. Instead, we are burdened with the responsibility to talk, to communicate the extent of our suffering and the injustice wielded against us.

So, first, I must say this: We demand an immediate cease-fire. We demand a lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza and the restoration of electricity, fuel, water and food. And we demand unimpeded humanitarian access in line with international law.

Today, the word “genocide” is being widely used. I can’t think of another word that captures the magnitude of what Israel, a nuclear-armed military power, continues to unleash on a captive population of children and refugees. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the quiet part out loud: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before,” he said. “We will eliminate everything.”

But we Palestinians already knew what Gallant had in mind. Corralled in Gaza for the past 17 years, burdened with mass unemployment and poverty — even before white phosphorus filled the skies, or before we lay crushed beneath the rubble — we could not breathe. We were held captive like prisoners who had never committed a crime or shot down when we attempted to peacefully protest our incarceration.

Our 1 million children have never traveled outside Israel’s militarized cage and know nothing but the buzz of drones in the sky tracking their every move.

In the past week, I have lost everything. But I do not seek revenge. There is no “military solution” here, only a collective responsibility to finally grant Palestinians what they have demanded for decades, what they are owed: justice, freedom and their very basic rights as human beings.

Ahmed Alnaouq is the head of We Are Not Numbers, which pairs Palestinian writers with mentors overseas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/11/02/gaza-ceasefire-civilian-military-humanitarian/

Click here to donate to support NVI's fiscally sponsored partner WANN.


Ahmed was also featured in this recent New York Times piece

After the Israeli military killed his older brother in an airstrike in Gaza in 2014, Ahmed Alnaouq says, he almost lost his will to live. “I sank into a deep depression,” he told me in a recent phone call. But an American friend convinced him to write about his brother and channel his grief into something productive. Together, they founded We Are Not Numbers, a project that trains young writers in Gaza and publishes their personal essays in English.

The name is a nod to how numbing numbers can be. The higher the death toll, the less we are inclined to care, since the scale of human suffering can feel overwhelming. Statistics don’t trigger empathy and action. Personal stories do.

“This project changed my life because for the first time, I thought that some people can care about us,” Mr. Alnaouq said, describing the response it got outside Gaza.

We Are Not Numbers began as a way to memorialize the dead, but it quickly turned into a lifeline for the living. For young people in Gaza, stuck in a political system with few rights and a blockaded economy with few jobs, it provides a vital outlet for self-expression...

“After losing my family, I did not stop believing in what I believe in,” he told me. “I don’t want other people to feel what I am feeling. Not the Israelis, not the Palestinians.”


These very painful, honest, meaningful videos feature WANN's co-founder.

Trigger / harsh reality warning. 


Mubarak Awad speaks on KKFI radio about Palestine

Moussa Elbayoumy, Yara Salamed, and NVI President Mubarak Awad discuss calls for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Hamas war. Moussa is an MD and chair of the board of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas). Yara is studying Law at UMKC and is President of Students for Justice in Palestine there. Mubarak is a Palestinian born in Jerusalem in 1943, influenced by Mennonite and Quaker missionaries. He received bachelors, masters and PhD degrees from universities in the US. He became a US citizen in 1978 and returned to Jerusalem in 1983 to found the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. He was expelled from Palestine in 1988 during the First Intifada for organizing nonviolent protests against mistreatment of Palestinians by Israeli military and settlers. Back in the US, he founded Nonviolence International. Moussa, Yara and Mubarak are calling for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Gaza war.      KKFI.ORG


Sadly, this short NVI video clip from two years ago is still relevant. 


Refaat Alareer, WANN's co-founder, killing featured in major media outlets. 

CNN

Al Jazeera

Time


In this episode of Mondoweiss’s podcast Culture Editor Mohammed El-Kurd

speaks with journalist and co-founder of We Are Not Numbers Ahmad Alnaouq.


Michael Beer quoted in LA Times article on effective activism. 


Please see these articles: 

Writing while expecting to die “Can you kindly publish the attached stories if I die?” This is what we have been hearing from the young writers we work with from Gaza in the We Are Not Numbers project.

7 steps to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine:
The path to peace requires nonviolent action not just from Israelis and Palestinians, but also Americans, the media, aid organizations and others.
By NVI Founder, Mubarak Awad.  We are pleased to announce this piece was selected as Waging Nonviolence's top story of the year!  https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/12/waging-nonviolence-top-stories-2023/

When will we learn that violence doesn’t lead to security?
To support Israelis and Palestinians is to insist on their right to equally live in peace and freedom — not help structures of state violence and cultures of militarization.
By NVI Board member, Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Solidarity with Palestinians and Jews Sign on Statement. 

By Jonathan Kuttab, NVI co-founder. Cat Zavis, Jewish Civil/Women's Rights Lawyer, Mediator, and Rabbi: Beyt Tikkun. Michael Lerner, Rabbi and Editor of Tikkun magazine.
Esther Azar, Arab Jewish Trauma Activist, and Rabbi: Trauma Informed Rabbinics.


Recent attacks by Israel on Gaza and Hamas fighters on Israel are tragic and will not resolve bring peace and justice to all.

NVI believes that nonviolence is the only way to end the savagery, brutality and cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

NVI urges all parties to cease all military attacks and prevent further escalation of violence that will only harm innocent civilians on both sides.

Call for an immediate ceasefire and end to all violence, including an immediate halt to attacks towards Israel and Israeli military attacks on Gaza.

Urgent humanitarian action is needed, including the establishment of a humanitarian corridor inside and out of Gaza, for the safe movement of people and the delivery of essential supplies. This includes opening Erez and Kerem Shalom / Abu Salem crossings to allow for the movement of people and goods and remove the ban on access to the sea. 

End violations of international law and impunity, including settlement expansions, forcible transfer, demolitions, settler violence, all part of ongoing and illegal de facto annexation of West Bank territory. Immediately lift all movement restrictions on Palestinian communities in the West Bank to allow the movements of goods and services. 

Take action at the UN Security Council to reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions calling for a nonviolent resolution of disputes, the reversal of the annexation of Greater East Jerusalem and the preservation of the status quo at holy sites.           

NVI supports nonviolent political resolution of the conflict by ending the systemic policies of oppression and discrimination of Palestinians, including the 16-year siege on Gaza and 56-year military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including. East Jerusalem.

We hope you will find this helpful and will share it with others.


US Boats to Gaza is a fiscally sponsored partner of NVI and a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more below. 

In this video, Ann Wright, a leader of US Boats to Gaza, Veterans for Peace, and Code Pink interrupts the US Secretary of State to call for a Cease Fire Now. Timestamp 1:45


Check out this powerful video (from before the latest crisis), learn more about their important work, and please consider supporting this creative constructive nonviolent movement


 

Activists discuss global nonviolent movement for Palestinians April 8th

Don't miss this important event!

 

Join us on our youtube live channel, Youtube/nonviolence to watch this discussion of activist leaders on global solidarity and resistance for justice in Palestine.

 


 

(Please see this page for background information, resources, and action steps on Palestine / Israel)


NVI fiscally sponsors groups that work to help Gazans. Please support them.

If you want to hear news and views directly from Gaza, please check the website and social media sites of  We Are Not Numbers.

US Boats to Gaza is a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more about their important work below. 

Here are some photos from the big recent Washington, DC event for Palestinian humanity that was part of much larger global effort.


In this time of enormous unnecessary suffering, it is vitally important that people of good will everywhere raise up the humanity of Palestinian people.

NVI is grateful to the co-founder of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partner, We Are Not Numbers, Ahmed Alnaouq, who brought this short moving video clip to our attention.

Don’t miss US Representative Rashida Tlaib saying the name and last words of WANN writer, Yousef Dawas.

Then take a moment to watch her powerful video here.


We Are Not Numbers is featured in this moving piece in "In These Times."

“I yearn for our voices to echo across the globe with the truth, reaching out to those who seek it.”

SHERELL BARBEE FEBRUARY 7, 2024

https://inthesetimes.com/article/letters-from-gaza-genocide-palestine-culture-


 

We are thrilled that Ahmed's powerful voice was included in the Washington Post.

Here is his excerpt and a link (behind a paywall) to the full article, which includes other perspectives - several not rooted in personal experience or basic human compassion for the suffering of others. When militarists are welcomed into the mainstream press, the media doesn't feel a need to provide "balance." But, for some reason, the few times that Palestinian voices are heard, they present another perspective that often negates Palestinian humanity. 

The slaughter must end

Ahmed Alnaouq: Last week, Israel bombed my family home in Gaza, killing my father, as well as two brothers, three sisters and all of their children, in an instant. One friend described their bodies as “bags of meat” — an arm here, a leg there.

I write to you in mourning. Even now, we Palestinians are not granted the luxury to grieve. Instead, we are burdened with the responsibility to talk, to communicate the extent of our suffering and the injustice wielded against us.

So, first, I must say this: We demand an immediate cease-fire. We demand a lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza and the restoration of electricity, fuel, water and food. And we demand unimpeded humanitarian access in line with international law.

Today, the word “genocide” is being widely used. I can’t think of another word that captures the magnitude of what Israel, a nuclear-armed military power, continues to unleash on a captive population of children and refugees. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the quiet part out loud: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before,” he said. “We will eliminate everything.”

But we Palestinians already knew what Gallant had in mind. Corralled in Gaza for the past 17 years, burdened with mass unemployment and poverty — even before white phosphorus filled the skies, or before we lay crushed beneath the rubble — we could not breathe. We were held captive like prisoners who had never committed a crime or shot down when we attempted to peacefully protest our incarceration.

Our 1 million children have never traveled outside Israel’s militarized cage and know nothing but the buzz of drones in the sky tracking their every move.

In the past week, I have lost everything. But I do not seek revenge. There is no “military solution” here, only a collective responsibility to finally grant Palestinians what they have demanded for decades, what they are owed: justice, freedom and their very basic rights as human beings.

Ahmed Alnaouq is the head of We Are Not Numbers, which pairs Palestinian writers with mentors overseas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/11/02/gaza-ceasefire-civilian-military-humanitarian/

Click here to donate to support NVI's fiscally sponsored partner WANN.


Ahmed was also featured in this recent New York Times piece

After the Israeli military killed his older brother in an airstrike in Gaza in 2014, Ahmed Alnaouq says, he almost lost his will to live. “I sank into a deep depression,” he told me in a recent phone call. But an American friend convinced him to write about his brother and channel his grief into something productive. Together, they founded We Are Not Numbers, a project that trains young writers in Gaza and publishes their personal essays in English.

The name is a nod to how numbing numbers can be. The higher the death toll, the less we are inclined to care, since the scale of human suffering can feel overwhelming. Statistics don’t trigger empathy and action. Personal stories do.

“This project changed my life because for the first time, I thought that some people can care about us,” Mr. Alnaouq said, describing the response it got outside Gaza.

We Are Not Numbers began as a way to memorialize the dead, but it quickly turned into a lifeline for the living. For young people in Gaza, stuck in a political system with few rights and a blockaded economy with few jobs, it provides a vital outlet for self-expression...

“After losing my family, I did not stop believing in what I believe in,” he told me. “I don’t want other people to feel what I am feeling. Not the Israelis, not the Palestinians.”


These very painful, honest, meaningful videos feature WANN's co-founder.

Trigger / harsh reality warning. 


Mubarak Awad speaks on KKFI radio about Palestine

Moussa Elbayoumy, Yara Salamed, and NVI President Mubarak Awad discuss calls for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Hamas war. Moussa is an MD and chair of the board of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas). Yara is studying Law at UMKC and is President of Students for Justice in Palestine there. Mubarak is a Palestinian born in Jerusalem in 1943, influenced by Mennonite and Quaker missionaries. He received bachelors, masters and PhD degrees from universities in the US. He became a US citizen in 1978 and returned to Jerusalem in 1983 to found the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. He was expelled from Palestine in 1988 during the First Intifada for organizing nonviolent protests against mistreatment of Palestinians by Israeli military and settlers. Back in the US, he founded Nonviolence International. Moussa, Yara and Mubarak are calling for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Gaza war.      KKFI.ORG


Sadly, this short NVI video clip from two years ago is still relevant. 


Refaat Alareer, WANN's co-founder, killing featured in major media outlets. 

CNN

Al Jazeera

Time


In this episode of Mondoweiss’s podcast Culture Editor Mohammed El-Kurd

speaks with journalist and co-founder of We Are Not Numbers Ahmad Alnaouq.


Michael Beer quoted in LA Times article on effective activism. 


Please see these articles: 

Writing while expecting to die “Can you kindly publish the attached stories if I die?” This is what we have been hearing from the young writers we work with from Gaza in the We Are Not Numbers project.

7 steps to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine:
The path to peace requires nonviolent action not just from Israelis and Palestinians, but also Americans, the media, aid organizations and others.
By NVI Founder, Mubarak Awad.  We are pleased to announce this piece was selected as Waging Nonviolence's top story of the year!  https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/12/waging-nonviolence-top-stories-2023/

When will we learn that violence doesn’t lead to security?
To support Israelis and Palestinians is to insist on their right to equally live in peace and freedom — not help structures of state violence and cultures of militarization.
By NVI Board member, Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Solidarity with Palestinians and Jews Sign on Statement. 

By Jonathan Kuttab, NVI co-founder. Cat Zavis, Jewish Civil/Women's Rights Lawyer, Mediator, and Rabbi: Beyt Tikkun. Michael Lerner, Rabbi and Editor of Tikkun magazine.
Esther Azar, Arab Jewish Trauma Activist, and Rabbi: Trauma Informed Rabbinics.


Recent attacks by Israel on Gaza and Hamas fighters on Israel are tragic and will not resolve bring peace and justice to all.

NVI believes that nonviolence is the only way to end the savagery, brutality and cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

NVI urges all parties to cease all military attacks and prevent further escalation of violence that will only harm innocent civilians on both sides.

Call for an immediate ceasefire and end to all violence, including an immediate halt to attacks towards Israel and Israeli military attacks on Gaza.

Urgent humanitarian action is needed, including the establishment of a humanitarian corridor inside and out of Gaza, for the safe movement of people and the delivery of essential supplies. This includes opening Erez and Kerem Shalom / Abu Salem crossings to allow for the movement of people and goods and remove the ban on access to the sea. 

End violations of international law and impunity, including settlement expansions, forcible transfer, demolitions, settler violence, all part of ongoing and illegal de facto annexation of West Bank territory. Immediately lift all movement restrictions on Palestinian communities in the West Bank to allow the movements of goods and services. 

Take action at the UN Security Council to reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions calling for a nonviolent resolution of disputes, the reversal of the annexation of Greater East Jerusalem and the preservation of the status quo at holy sites.           

NVI supports nonviolent political resolution of the conflict by ending the systemic policies of oppression and discrimination of Palestinians, including the 16-year siege on Gaza and 56-year military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including. East Jerusalem.

We hope you will find this helpful and will share it with others.


US Boats to Gaza is a fiscally sponsored partner of NVI and a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more below. 

In this video, Ann Wright, a leader of US Boats to Gaza, Veterans for Peace, and Code Pink interrupts the US Secretary of State to call for a Cease Fire Now. Timestamp 1:45


Check out this powerful video (from before the latest crisis), learn more about their important work, and please consider supporting this creative constructive nonviolent movement


 

Mennonite Action Day of Action March 29, 2024

Send Aid Not Bombs, March 25-29, 2024

See a map of actions around the USA

 

For more information check out their website: https://www.mennoniteaction.org/

Donate here. 


 

 

Mennonite Action Prayer Service For Ceasefire in Gaza in the US Congress on January 16, 2024

Don't miss this prominent and positive coverage in the Washington Post. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2024/01/16/gaza-protest-cannon-building-mennonite-action/


We are people of God’s peace.

Mennonite Action is a movement of Mennonites bonded by a common belief that we must be public about our peace values. We believe that Mennonites have a responsibility to use our voices as powerfully as possible for the cause of peace and justice. We are taking public action as Mennonites. We are mobilizing Mennonites across the US and Canada to demand a ceasefire, end the US and western funded occupation of Palestine, and build for lasting peace.


 “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

NVI is proud to be the fiscal sponsor for the this important project. Please consider donating here

NVI Supports Philadelphia Interfaith Network for Peace in Gaza

(Please see this page for background information, resources, and action steps on Palestine / Israel)

NVI has helped support the formation of the Philadelphia interfaith group for peace in Gaza named Prayers for Peace Alliance. Check out their new website!

NVI President Mubarak Awad spoke on March 28, 2024, at an interfaith Iftar organized by Prayers for Peace Alliance in Philadelphia.

Please enjoy this inspirational 35 minute speech!

Palestinians and Jews are joining together to invite churches and synagogues to stop the violence in Gaza and work for peace with justice in Palestine/Israel.

 

Prayers for Peace Alliance co-Coordinater, Sam Kuttab, helping lead the walk by Friends of Combatants for Peace in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. USA 25-2-2024


November 19, 2023: Don't miss this powerful article from Daoud Kuttab.

https://milhilard.org/palestinian-and-jewish-americans-call-on-philadelphia-worshipers-to-pray-for-gaza/


On Sunday Nov. 12, 2023, Palestinian-Americans with support from a Friends of Sabeel North America, If Not Now (Philadelphia Chapter), the Alhidaya Islamic Center, and Nonviolence International handed out leaflets at the Elon Tabernacle Church in Philadelphia asking parishioners to pray for people of Gaza and to call on the US government to support a cease-fire.

Palestinian activists displayed signs which said “I’m a Palestinian American Living in the Community. Every 10 minutes a Child is Killed. Pray for Gaza. Stop the Genocide.” Activists from the Alhidaya Islamic Center and If Not Now along with Activiststood in solidarity. The parishioners universally took the leaflets offered and read them. After 30 minutes, the visitors were invited inside in front of the pulpit where the Reverend Waller, warmly welcomed the Palestinian, Jewish and Islamic visitors and proceeded to pray for them, their families, and the people of Gaza for 10 minutes. He concluded by calling for an immediate ceasefire saying that his congregation does not takes sides, just the sides of peace for the Palestinian and Israeli people.

Given the warm response, NVI and these activist groups will continue to reach out to Philadelphia church-goers to pray for Gaza and support a cease-fire.  If you want to get more information, reach out to us at [email protected]

Philadelphians will continue to reach out to other churches on Sunday November 19, 2023. Here is the media release.

 

Two Palestinian-Americans standing outside of the Elon Tabernacle Church

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Delegation members invited inside to Rev Waller's pulpit

Muslims, Christians and Jews standing outside of the Elon Tabernacle Church


NVI fiscally sponsors groups that work to help Gazans. Please support them.

If you want to hear news and views directly from Gaza, please check the website and social media sites of  We Are Not Numbers.

US Boats to Gaza is a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more about their important work below. 

Here are some photos from the big recent Washington, DC event for Palestinian humanity that was part of much larger global effort.


 

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