Jun 09

Obituary for Nick Awad, Mubarak’s brother

Nick was a longtime supporter of Nonviolence International and Mubarak’s work promoting nonviolence around the world. To honor his life and legacy, we are sharing this obituary from Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens at

http://www.johnsoncountychapel.com/obituaries/Nicola-Awad/#!/Obituary

Nick Awad

Nicola E. Awad (“Nick”), 78, Overland Park, KS, passed away in his home May 25, 2016. Nicola was born Dec. 19, 1937 in Jerusalem, Palestine. He married Patricia Miller on July 26, 1969. Nick is survived by his wife, Patti, brothers, Bishara, Mubarak, Alex, sisters Ellen Sorour, Elizabeth Siryani, Diana Wittman, children, Hilda Awad-Brown, Elias (wife Susan), Angela Abbott (husband Marshall) and six grandchildren, Andrea, Briana, Cassandra Awad, Kira Brown, Lauren and Nicholas Abbott. Nick and his family own Invision Eyewear in Oak Park Mall. Visitation Friday, May 27, 5 to 7 p.m., funeral service Saturday, May 28, 9 a.m. at Overland Park Lutheran Church, 7810 W. 79th St., Overland Park, KS. Burial in Shawnee Mission Memorial Gardens, 23215 W. 75th St., Lenexa, KS. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions made to the Bethlehem Bible College “Shepherd’s Society”.

At age eleven, Nicola became both father to his siblings and a breadwinner for the family when his father, Elias, was killed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. His mother, Huda, worked long hours as a nurse and all the children, except Nicola, were put into orphanage schools to ensure both their well-being and educations. Remarkably, Nick managed to both finish his education and develop the entrepreneurial spirit that always prevailed in whatever projects he came up with throughout his career. The impact of these events in his early years as well as the loving, Christian guidance of Mama Huda, influenced Nick’s philanthropic soul all through his life.

Nick came to the U.S. in 1966 and began working as an optician in Kansas City, MO. After marrying Patti, the first Olathe Optical opened for business in September of 1971. Various locations were opened and closed over the years, with the Olathe and Oak Park Mall locations remaining as the anchors until their merge into the current Invision Eyewear location in July 2011.

Nicola’s Palestinian Christian heritage, the strong faith in God instilled in him by his mother, and her examples of kindness and forgiveness even to her family’s persecutors inspired him years later to become involved in numerous peace organizations. He received the Act of Harmony award in 2003 for his active role in Salaam Shalom, which he co-founded, a group encouraging peace by bringing Christian, Muslim, and Jewish people together. He received the Ambassador of Peace Award from the American Clergy Leadership Conference in 2004. In 2009, Nick co-founded Let the Children Play for Peace, a division of Heart to Heart International, designed to bring joy to children on both sides of the Israel/Gaza conflict by bringing them school supplies and toys. Also in 2009, Nick was named one of 23 “Kindest Kansas Citians”, when an essay written by the daughter of a close friend was chosen from thousands of entries.

Nick joined the Olathe Rotary in 2007 and was Food-Tasting co-chair of the Days of Wine and Rotary charity fund-raising event from 2010 to its latest event just a few weeks ago in early May. His presence in so many peace-inspiring and charity events and organizations will continue to be felt for many years.

One cannot mention Nick without thinking family. Family always came first for him and if you wanted to find him on a Sunday afternoon or evening all you had to do was stop by “CeeDee Habibi’s” house (grandpa dear in Arabic). You’d find him holding court out on the deck eating mezza (appetizers), surrounded by all of Patti’s beautiful flowers and some or all of his grandkids splashing in the pool or playing close by while a ruthless card game would be going on under the big umbrella. Nick loved entertaining family and friends and could make an occasion out of anything. His backyard holiday pool parties were legendary. It’s only fitting that we celebrate his extraordinary life on this Memorial holiday weekend – one of his favorites. We can rest in the assurance that Nick is right in the middle of the party as Heaven celebrates one of God’s own coming home.

To honor Nick’s memory, the family suggests contributions to the Bethlehem Bible College, which was founded by his brother Bishara in 1979. Please make checks payable to Bethlehem Bible College with “Shepherd’s Society” in the memo line. The Shepherd’s Society assists impoverished Palestinian families and refugees in the Holy Land. Gifts are tax deductible and a receipt will be provided.

Bethlehem Bible College
c/o Patricia Awad
9322 W. 92nd Terr.
Overland Park, KS 66212

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2632

May 02

Remembering Dan Berrigan and Bob Fitch

We celebrate the lives of Dan Berrigan and Bob Fitch who were prophets of nonviolent social change for ending militarism and promoting human rights for all.  They died on April 30th, 2016.
725-11 2x3 DBerrigan peacefingers j120 Border  Bob in Coachella TIF600_crop DorothyDay

There are many tributes to these heroes, one a priest and one a photographer. Everyone can make a contribution to social change. We ask that you spend time on line reading and watching them and  then forward to a new generation so that these activists live on.

Daniel Berrigan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Berrigan

 

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Bob Fitch

http://www.bobfitchphoto.com/
http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/on-the-civil-rights-trail-with-bob-fitch/

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2623

Mar 22

A sea of roses

I woke up to terrible news today. The bombings on the metro and airport in Brussel  claimed lives and left many wounded. A year ago around this time, I visited a beautiful city that hosts the institutions of the European Union. It was a memorable experience, as I am majoring in political science, and finally got the chance to see first hand how the union and its democracy work.

My hometown, Oslo in Norway, was hit by a terrorist attack almost five years ago, on July 22nd in 2011. It was the single worst attack to strike Norway since Germany invaded the country in 1940. The right wing extremist, an ethnically Norwegian man under the name of Anders Behring Breivik, claimed the lives of 78 people. The population of Norway responded to the attack by standing together, expressing the importance of love and compassion, and not anger. This was symbolically shown under a sea of roses that was present in Oslo during the weeks after the attack.

My hope is that we one day can find better ways to solve problems other than attack and counter attacks. I think of the innocent victims, and their family and friends, who have been affected this morning. Today, a sea of roses goes out from Norway to all the people of Belgium and across the world, who have been affected by – and victims of terrorist attacks.

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Written by: Betina Slagnes, intern at NI.

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2597

Mar 15

The Plowshare’s anti-nuclear movement explained in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

bulletin of atomic scientists

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’s logo.

NI staff member Paul Magno has recently published an article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which is an independent nonprofit organization that engages science leaders, policy makers, and the interested public on topics of nuclear weapons and disarmament and emerging technologies, among other subjects. With their international network of board members and experts, they assess scientific advancements that involve both benefits and risks to humanity, with the goal of influencing public policy to protect the planet and all its inhabitants. So what is Paul’s article “The Plowshares anti-nuclear movement at 35: a next generation?” about?

Paul Magno is a longtime peace activist. In his article, he describes the 35-year history of Plowshares, a movement led by Christian pacifists that advocates active resistance to war and nuclear weapons. Furthermore, he explains why the group uses symbols such as hammers and blood to convey its message about disarmament, human possibility, and keeping faith with the future. Paul argues that the group’s protest strategies remain relevant considerations for a new generation of activists – as a way of confronting an existential threat not only to the future of the human species, but also to our fundamental humanity and values.

Want to read the full article? You can access it here.

plowshare

The Plowshare Movement has been active for 35 years. What will be their legacy?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2589

Mar 15

Dr. Awad speaking at conference in South Carolina

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Dr. Mubarak Awad

From April 8. – 9., Dr. Mubarak Awad, the founder of Nonviolence International and the president of National Youth Advocate International Program, will be speaking at a conference in Orangeburg, South Carolina at Calhoun Technical College. He will be part of a panel of other speakers who will talk about youth issues and challenges. The focus will be on the challenges experienced by youth in the community and the development of resources needed to meet these challenges. Nonviolence International wish Dr. Awad a safe trip and hope his message will continue to be spread.

You can read more about Dr. Awad here and about the conference here.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2586

Mar 04

There is Something Divine in it

2014-3-CATC1 002 (1) (2)Nonviolence International and Mubarak Awad are helping found a Master’s Degree Program in Peace and Conflict at the Bethlehem Bible College  in Palestine. Here is an article about the program, taught by NI co-founder Jonathan Kuttab. Enjoy…and feel free to attend or provide support. Sincerely, Michael Beer

By Mercy Aiken

 

In September of 2015, BBC launched its Master of Peace program, one of the first of its kind in the Arabic-speaking world.  The college has gathered an outstanding cast of world-renowned experts in the fields of peacemaking and reconciliation who have been leading intense two-week sessions on topics beginning with Strategic Nonviolence Activism (Dr. Mubarak Awad) to the most recent class of Peace and International Law with Dr. Jonathan Kuttab.  This last class was open to the public and as a volunteer at BBC, I decided to take it.  It was a lot of work—as a Master’s level class should be—but I was not disappointed.  What better place to study peacemaking than in the birthplace of the Prince of Peace and the site of one of the world’s most bitter conflicts?

The course covered the nature and development of international law and the role that it can play in conflict resolution. Dr. Kuttab approached this subject on the first day of class by asking us if we were all to land on an uninhabited island and had to create laws together for our well-being and survival, what would we come up with?

This is the essence of international law and human rights:  how can we survive together as a species in a way that is equitable and fair for everyone?  How can we protect the weak and limit the abuses of the strong?  How can we hold each other accountable? These are, of course, the very questions of the biblical prophets, who reveal God’s heart for justice especially for the poor and defenseless.

We learned how and why international laws, especially pertaining to human rights, are made.  The four sources for international law are:  treaties or conventions, practices of nations, writings of scholars and principles of natural justice.  I agree with Dr. Kuttab that “there is something divine in it.”  We were made in the image of God—and because of that, humans have come up with certain standards that we agree on—basics rights that should pertain to every person regardless of race, religion, sex, age, nationality or any other factor.

A positive trend

As we participated in this course, we were assigned several response papers and a final presentation.  I researched the UN’s Institute for Disarmament Research. Prior to this class, I would have seen such an agency as idealistic but somewhat ineffective.  I am now of the persuasion that UNIDIR and similar UN organizations are helpful.  They have set a global standard regarding which sorts of weapons should be off-limits (those that cause undue pain or damage a population’s ability to reproduce, for example), and have helped to create an environment in which there is a measure of global law against those states who attempt to obtain or use such weapons.  In other words, because these international organizations exist, it is less easy for any state to do whatever they want and this is ultimately a good thing for all of us.  The world is still unsafe, but without such agencies, I have no doubt that world would be even less safe than it is.

With respect to conflict resolution, we looked at some very inspiring cases around the world:  the peaceful overthrow of Milosovic in Serbia in 2000 and various truth and reconciliation commissions in Africa, South America, and East Timor.  We also looked at the very moving story of Liberia, in which a woman’s movement was the catalyst that brought peace to a war-torn nation. All of these gave hope that the international community, local grassroots activists and praying mothers can have a role to play in bringing healing and restoration to even the most damaged nations.  These cases showed us how much is possible in the grace of God.  I was filled with great hope to think of the inevitable day when there will be healing and reconciliation in this “Holy Land,” and what a beautiful sight it will be.

The Class

Jonathan Kuttab is a well-known human rights lawyer in Palestine, Israel and the United States and the co-founder of Al-Haq; a Human Rights organization based in Ramallah. He is also a cousin of Bishara Awad and the Chairman of the Board of BBC, among other things.  As a Mennonite, he is strongly committed to the principles of nonviolence. Despite his life-work dealing with many sad cases of abuse, he is a jolly, twinkly-eyed man who loves to quote Monty Python and who has almost as large a file of topical songs in his head as I do! (Outside of class, he would occasionally burst into song, ranging from the Beatles to Broadway).

The class was a great mix of local Palestinians (including a few Muslims) and expats from around the world, including one student in Saudi Arabia who fully participated in the class via web conferencing.  We were also occasionally joined by various volunteers and visitors.  Because of the intensity of the class and long hours together, we all became fast friends. In the end, I think we all walked out of the class with a greater sense of hope and optimism. Though there is much suffering and abuse in the world, there is also a greater global consensus on the necessity of guarding human rights for all people; a far greater consensus than there was just 100 years ago.  I think there is something divine in that!

BBC plans to open future Peace Studies classes for the community to audit for free and I highly encourage more locals and other visitors at BBC to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2577

Mar 01

Nonviolence International with 99Rise!

 

99Rise_logo

Nonviolence International is now fiscal sponsor for our new friend – 99Rise-. We agree with our friends’ purposes and principles so Nonviolence International and 99Rise will move on together. Let us introduce our new friend.

99Rise is a network of U.S.A activists and organizers dedicated to building a mass movement to reclaim U.S.A democracy from the domination of big money.

The organization believes that only by getting big money out of politics – by winning a democracy that responds to the real needs of “the 99%” – will it open the door to finally realizing the progressive promise of the American Dream.

99Rise thus seeks a Constitutional Amendment and supplemental federal legislation that would guarantee the principle of political equality, as well as ensure that neither private wealth nor corporate privilege could be used to exercise undue influence over elections and policymaking. To this end, it is committed to deploying the most powerful tool of social and political change: strategic nonviolent resistance.

A fundamental basis of unity in 99Rise’ movement is its commitment to nonviolence in all its actions. It recognizes that any violation of, or departure from this unity in nonviolent discipline – no matter how small – may seriously damage its movement. Thus, 99Rise understands that upholding this commitment is of utmost importance for its common purpose.

If you are interested, please celebrate a cooperation between Nonviolence International and 99Rise and support our movement!

Read more about 99 Rise’ cause, show your support and/or donate here.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2572

Jan 22

Hello from Munich!

Paul and Megan are in Bavaria in the south of Germany, two weeks into their European sojourn.

The crisp wintry weather in Sweden and here in Munich, but not been hobbled by freezing or snow or ice – the best of both worlds, have been kind to them.

Paul and Megan have been blessed with the abundance of food and friendship along their Euro-Tour.

In Malmo, Sweden, Paul and Megan had a great two-day retreat with a cohort of young activists, eager to listen and eager to ask questions and educate Paul and Megan about their varied human rights work – in Sweden, Russia and Kyrgyzstan. The premise of the plowshares experiences is of Per Herngren & Paul from 1984 and Megan, Michael and Greg from 2012 – both the reasons for resisting nuclear weapons, and the how-to of building a nonviolent resistance community that can sustain itself against adversity.

Malmo was capped by a public event at an activist library with 40-50 people in attendance to hear Per and Megan both.

In addition to these meetings there have been at least five interviews arranged, one in Edinburgh, two in Holland, one each in Sweden and Munich.

Megan presents tonight in Munich, then Friday in Geneva and Saturday in Birmingham.

Below are several photos of Paul and Megan’s tour!

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2556

Jan 19

I carried the camera instead of carrying arms

Friday, Jan 15 2016

          Nayef Hashlamoun reflection on Bethlehem Bible College’s new MA in Peace Studies

By Nayef Hashlamoun

In the midst of the escalation of what may become a Third Intifada in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Bethlehem Bible College recently launched Master’s Degree in Peace Studies. The program trains Christians, Muslims and other students to achieve social justice and equality for all by learning how to build bridges instead of walls of segregation and racism.

The first group of students includes Palestinian and international multicultural students from several countries, who participate in lectures and workshops in the classroom or (for those who cannot get a visa to enter the country) by using the Internet.

I am happy to be participating as student in this program in Peace Studies in Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace. This program is raising awareness and integrity; helping our communities learn how to build peace and social justice, despite the dangers that are part of peace-building.

About Bethelehem Bible College

Bethlehem Bible College was founded in 1979 and is accredited by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education. It has a long history of inspiring the spirit of peace, love and social justice. It was founded by Dr. Bishara Awad, the brother of Dr. Mubarak Awad, who is a famous Palestinian peace advocate.

Working in collaboration with a number of universities in the United States, the content of the master’s program in peace studies is excellent. The teaching methods are advanced, according to a new educational system that focuses on the body, mind and spirit, and on the principles of high morals and values. The program is in English and it requires 39 credit hours, including practical training or thesis. The college’s buildings, halls and facilities are modern and equipped with various advanced tools needed by the teaching and research activities.

The Master of Peace Studies is led by a distinct cadre of professors from around the world, including: Dr. Nancy Erbe, Fulbright Specialist in peace and conflict resolution; Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Director of Peace-building and Development at the American University; Dr. Edward Kaufman from the Truman Institute for Research Progress of the Peace at the Hebrew University; Dr. Mubarak Awad, a professor of non-violence at the American University in Washington; Lance Brown, Director of “Heal the Living Stones”; Dr. Jonathan Kuttab, Human Rights lawyer in Israel and Palestine; Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History, as well as many others.

The college is located near a contact point between the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian youth. Often, there are demonstrations right outside the college; young Palestinian men who are angry at the military and demanding freedom of their homeland go out in mass numbers to throw stones. Witnessing these clashes has a great impact in our souls. While we are studying peace in the classroom, we are surrounded by the sounds of Israeli gunshots, bombs and tear gas.

It is a powerful statement that every time we enter the campus it is with caution, and usually through the back door in order to preserve our safety. This particular atmosphere gives the student a special motivation and determination to study peace. Many times we cannot even open the windows of the hall, for fear of tear gas seeping into the building. The context in which we are studying becomes a subject to think about and discuss in the class.

About Me

I, Nayef Hashlamoun—as a Muslim MA student, head of ALWATAN Center, a political and human rights activist, a veteran from the city of Hebron—I am seeking the truth in the world of ethics. I am one of the three Muslim students in the program. I joined it right after I heard about it from the program’s founder, Dr. Awad. Such a program is an important addition to our community, especially as Palestinians who are witnessing pain on a daily basis and living moment-by-moment under military occupation.

Many times I could not travel from Hebron to the college in Bethlehem—which is only 15 miles away—because of the Israeli army road closures, stone barricades or checkpoints. Often, there were killings or military operations on the road. When I was prevented from joining my classmates in person, I would return home and pursue my studies via the Internet.

There is no doubt that I am willing to sacrifice myself for my homeland’s freedom and dignity. But I definitely cannot kill, and I do not encourage the language of violence. As a young man, I chose the way of non-violence, and decided to study Journalism and Media at Yarmouk University in Jordan. I carried the camera instead of carrying arms. I worked for twenty years as a photojournalist with the global news agency Reuters, and founded the nucleus of the ALWATAN Center for Culture, Media and Conflict Resolution in the city of Hebron in 1985.

Since that time, I have exercised my civil nonviolent resistance in a variety of ways. In 1995, I attended the Peace Studies program at the American University in Washington, and I studied “Transition to Civil Society and Democracy” in the International Leadership Academy in Germany. In 1997, I began studies on the topic of “Transforming the Conflict Between Cultures and Peace” at the School for International Training in Vermont, but due to the effects of the Second Intifada in Palestine, I was not able to continue the study.

During this time, I began to work with Dr. Mubarak Awad, founder of the non-violence movement in Palestine. I helped him to translate nonviolence and peace studies books and videos into Arabic. This was before he was deported by the Israeli occupation authorities to Washington June 14, 1988, where he eventually founded the Nonviolence International. As the winner of numerous international awards, Dr. Mubarak has been referred to as the “Gandhi of Palestine.” He was the perfect choice to launch BBC’s Peace program, returning to Palestine to teach the first unit in the Master’s Program. I was excited to spend time with him again after all these years.

Although I am a Muslim, I will be proud to get a Master’s Degree from Bethlehem Bible College. As colleagues and professors, we have good relationships with each other.

The Power of Non-Violent Resistance

I hope everyone will become convinced that non-violence is more effective than violence. Violence, which brings death and destruction, only increases suffering and hatred. I believe that non-violence is the language of the powerful. When an Occupier goes too far in oppressing a population, non-violent resistance is the best way to obtain human rights. It is my hope that the Palestinian people will continue to work towards civil peace, social justice and the powerful philosophy of forgiveness. I hope that we will follow the path of Desmond Tutu, who worked to rally the world to boycott Israeli apartheid, and to be guided by the philosophies of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi towards justice and balance in Palestine. I pray that we will respond to the challenge of injustice with love, and that all killing and hatred will cease; for the Heavenly Religions calls for peace, love, brotherhood and respect for others.

“Peace is more than a wish! Peace requires everyone to be in the circle of action” – Nayef Hashlamoun

Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2554

Jan 11

Plowshares Euro-Tour

In the past few days, Megan Rice and Paul Magno have begun their Transform Now Plowshares Euro-Tour with a whirlwind trip around the United Kingdom.

After arriving in London on the 4th of January, they commenced with a Round Table discussion at the Guiseppe Conlon House, cosponsored by War Resisters International and the London Catholic Worker.

A full house, ranging from 3 months old to 86 years old, started a new year for peacemaking on a positive note. Megan has been adamant that this tour is as much a listening tour as a speaking tour and so our modality in speaking is to offer some observations and then to ask others in the audience to not simply ask questions but offer their own concerns and wisdom on the meaning of the nuclear threat.

Thus they heard older folks filling in for the benefit of younger folks some of the history of the early use of atomic weapons against the Japanese people. They heard that youth in Afghanistan took note of and took heart from the Transform Now Plowshares action, even in the midst of their very considerable work to figure out how to champion nonviolence in their war-torn country.

The next morning, on to Edinburgh Scotland, welcomed by the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Center for an inaugural presentation at their new site. Wall-to-wall and knee-to-knee they were. Again, while there is ongoing curiosity and admiration for Megan and the Transform Now Plowshares, they hear dialogue on how they can contest the persistence of nuclear weaponry. There is a lot of optimism in Scotland about their Scrap Trident campaign, and concern to link such disarmament to other issues, Palestine, refugees, poverty. Megan and Paul Magno present themselves as an inter-generational plowshares duo and pose the question, “how do you want to disarm?,” to folks who haven’t thought about it, especially the young, and to folks who may think that the likes of a plowshares action might be too provocative or too costly.

Finally yesterday to Glasgow and nearby Faslane where they kept vigil for about an hour at the gate of the Trident nuclear submarine base there. To contemplate the enormous evil of Trident, and to pray for disarmament with over a dozen others gathered in the bleak wintry drizzle was moving.  After, Megan and Paul had an excellent visit to the Faslane Peace Camp, touted as the longest continuous peace encampment in the world at 32 years and running. All of the half-dozen principals at the camp are under 30 and amazingly adept at life in the camp’s rudimentary conditions and at knowledge of the British Trident fleet of four and of the movements of nuclear weaponry around the UK.  That much young energy pitted against forces of annihilation gave both of us great hope that our human family needn’t succumb to nuclear calamity.

Tuesday, on to Amsterdam and continental Europe where more such opportunities await Megan and Paul

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Permanent link to this article: http://nonviolenceinternational.net/?p=2541

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