Talk at 10 year Combatants for Peace Anniversary

On July 15, 2016, Combatants for Peace celebrated their 10 year anniversary during the Freedom March Protest organized by them monthly. I was honored to have been asked to give a talk during the protest. The following is a text of my talk.

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Dear friends, dear you who still dare to dream and believe…

We have come here today representing different tribes, identities, religions, cultures and languages of this land. Representing the global consciousness of morality, peace, justice, freedom and the right of every individual to live in dignity, honor, and respect.

We have come here on behalf of every woman, man and child who died or suffered a loss as a result of the violence in this land. We have come here on behalf of every Palestinian home that has been demolished, every Palestinian tree uprooted, and every Palestinian child who could not find a drop of water to drink this summer morning because of the Israeli military control over even a most basic human need… water.

We send a clear message to our leaders (Israelis and Palestinians) and to the international community. On this day and in this hour and in this place, our voice is united against injustice and united for freedom and dignity. We say that the pain we experienced and continue to experience is because of the continued, growing, inhumane oppression and occupation of the Palestinian people.

We, the people of the land say that it is up to us to achieve a real vision of peace and justice. We can not deny that fear, hated and resignation have now taken over and that the task at hand may seem impossible, but true peacemakers are the ones that look the impossible in the eye and make it a possibility.

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Palestine Summer Encounter 2009

Palestine Summer Encounter is a one to three month service learning and cultural immersion program in Bethlehem, Palestine. Participants study Arabic in and outside of the classroom setting, live with a Palestinian host family, volunteer and meet with both Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers.

http://www.palestinesummer.org

The April 23rd registration deadline for the Palestine Summer Encounter program is rapidly approaching. We encourage anyone hoping to join us this summer to apply as soon as possible to reserve their spot in the program.

There will also be some exciting changes this year:

1) We are now awarding a limited number of needs-based scholarships in the amount of $1,000. Info. and the scholarship application is at:
http://www.palestinesummer.org/peacefellows

These scholarships are still available! Please encourage anyone you think might be interested to apply.

2) We’re extending the academic focus of the program beyond Arabic. Participants will now also be able to participate in academic tracts like Nonviolence, Theology and the Land and the Politics of the Region. These tracts can be taken instead of, or in conjunction with, the arabic class.

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SPREAD THE WORD!

a) Print out flyers
http://www.palestinesummer.org/download-flyer

b) Post it to your profile
On your profile page next to “update status” click on “Post Link” and then add this URL:
http://www.palestinesummer.org

We are also running a parallel volunteer program in Syria this summer. More info. at:
http://www.syriasummer.org

Thanks guys! Keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Peter Ryan
Middle East Fellowship
http://www.middleeastfellowship.org
(714) 529-1926
peter@middleeastfellowship.org

So be Good for Goodness Sake…

This past Friday Santa Clause stood in solidarity with and attempted to go where fewer and fewer Palestinians are able to go, their own farm lands in the southern hills of the Beautiful little town called Bethlehem. For the second year in a row, taking time away from his main work in this very busy season, Santa decided to come to Bethlehem to support the farmers in reaching their land in order to maintain it and plant it… For the second year in a row (as happens every week when Santa is not there), the Israeli soldiers barricaded and prevented the villagers from reaching their land.

Santa Clause in the village of Masara handing candy to the children south of Bethlehem

Barbed wires were placed on the main road leading to the farming lands and soldiers with heavy guns stood in a line pouting the whole time at the Palestinian farmers, their international and Israeli friends, and of course… Santa…

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When Settlers get Abusive, Israeli Soldiers Attack the Abused, but the Sun Shines on All

On Thursday the 16th of October, hundreds of Israeli settlers / squatters gathered in a Palestinian hill known as Oush Gurab located in Beit Sahour (Shepherd’s Filed). This location was used for many years as an Israeli military outpost. Palestinians who live in its vicinity recall daily the violence and terror they experienced from Israeli soldiers stationed there. When the location lost its strategic advantage to the illegal separation barrier, the Israeli military evacuated the location. They no longer had to be in the middle of a Palestinian residential area, they can move to the other side of the prison walls now. After the evacuation, Palestinians returned to Oush Gurab and began working on numerous humanitarian and recreational projects including a children’s hospital and an outdoor activity park.

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Empowered by Nonviolence

Text of interview published in http://www.globalonenessproject.org/

Sami Awad

 

When I talk about nonviolence, and when I discuss nonviolence with people, the first word that comes to mind related to nonviolence is the word empowerment.  And this is, for me, what nonviolence is all about.  It is to empower individuals, empower families, empower communities, empower nations to deal with issues of injustice and oppression that they face in their lives on a daily basis.  It is both a strategy of resistance, and also a strategy for moral and ethical growth within society.  As a Palestinian, for example, living in this land, nonviolence becomes a core value for me because it is how we as Palestinians need to deal with oppression and resisting the injustice that we are facing, to be empowered not to be victims of the circumstances, not to give in to the circumstances but to deal with them in direct and effective ways.  The power of nonviolence is for me also creates a situation where barriers are broken down between nations and between peoples, and even again within individuals themselves and the things that they go through in their own personal life.  Nonviolence does not threaten the other, does not threaten the existence of the other but threatens the structures of injustice that are created that prevent that relationship from developing between you and those who are doing injustice to you.  And the result of engaging in nonviolence is not in the fact that it stands on resistance one, nonviolence is powerful because it goes beyond resistant. It goes to creating the future that you seek with the other.  And this is where equality becomes important—nonviolence really creates that foundation that premise where you can build that relationship of mutual trust and respect with those who have treated you unjustly that is founded on equality between you and them.

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