For three days now we have been meeting in Jordan in a conference that has been organized by NOVA (Active Nonviolence) in close relation with MAN (Movement for Nonviolent Alternative, The Gandhi Center in Italy, Un Ponte Per from Italy and Pax Christi Netherlands. The meetings have been under the title “A Seminar for trainers and activists on nonviolence from the Middle East.”
In these meetings we have particpants from Palesitne, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. For the first time I have met individulas from these countries who are committed to developing and engaging in nonviolent methods of resisting injustice and building communities of peace in the Arab world. The potential is great and we have to admit that the challenges are also as great.
As a Palestinian and as an Arab, I am very encouraged by the fact that there are Kurds in Iraq who are studying different nonviolent techniques to engage in community building, organizations in Syria who recognize the need to develop the philosophy of nonviolence as a means for building peace, organizations in Lebanon who have been actively involved in developing materials and resources for nonviolence, etc….
We may come from different backgrounds, different expereinces of injustice and different philosophical interpritations of nonviolence but we all beleive in the power of nonviolence to end injustice, to liberate peoples, and to create new realities for the peoples of this region.
I believe a seed has been planted in these meetings and I look forward to seeing how we can all work together to building a nonviolent movement in the Arab world that can empower our peoples and only our peoples to fight for their freedoms, rights, and dignity.