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.

Continue reading “Empowered by Nonviolence”

Global Oneness Interview…


The challenge is to create a common thread of values where Jews, Christians, and Moslems begin to see that what is common between them outweighs, tremendously, what makes them different from each other.

Sami Awad
in The Core Essence





Sami Awad is the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust (HLT), a Palestinian nonprofit organization which he founded in 1998 in Bethlehem. HLT works with the Palestinian community at both the grassroots and leadership levels in developing nonviolent approaches that aim to end the Israeli occupation and build a future founded on the principles of nonviolence, equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence. Continue reading “Global Oneness Interview…”

Response to Article by AP’s Brian Murphy

In a recent article written by AP Religious Writer, Brian Murphy, I was quoted as saying that Palestinian Christians are eager to leave the Holy Land with the implication that this was due to Palestinian Muslim pressure and attacks. To begin with, I would never make such a statement or imply such thoughts. What I told Mr. Murphy is that all Palestinians have handled the political pressures of the Israeli occupation for decades, but when the pressures became economic, Palestinian families experienced serious difficulties in putting food on the table and because Christians have stronger family relations outside the country some made the difficult decision to leave seeking employment elsewhere.  

I also told Mr. Murphy how both Muslims and Christians are leaving but given that the percentage of Christians living in the Holy Land is much lower, it gives the impression that the number leaving is higher (for every one Christian that leaves, fifty Muslims need to leave to keep the ratio balanced). In addition, I told Mr. Murphy how Palestinians are increasingly identifying themselves as being part of smaller groups because all are disappointed in the “national” identity that has not provided them with security, prosperity or peace; so Palestinians are identifying more with groups that provide these basic needs such as religious denominations, political factions, family clans, villages, etc.  

The entire article written by Mr. Murphy was insulting to Palestinian Christians because of what it was implying and for the additional fact that it did not mention how the Israeli occupation was working on creating a divide within the Palestinian community at all levels, including the Christian-Muslim level – which I talked extensively about – and how All Palestinians were resisting such tactics especially the one that deals with how we are presented in the Western Press.

This is a link to the article by Brian Murphy

The Awad Family

by Lorin Peters 

When Sami realized, that night, that I had no family to eat with, he immediately said, “Come to dinner with us.” He didn’t tell me it would be a beautiful buffet at his father Bishara and mother Selwa’s home, or that his uncle Alex and his family, and two American pastors would be there.

I met his eldest uncle, Mubarak, four years ago speaking to the Nonviolence class at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1987 Mubarak, if my memory serves me, was a child psychologist working in Jerusalem. One day a farmer came to him and said, “The Israeli soldiers have put a fence around my field so that I can not work on it. Can you help me?” Mubarak said, “I have no idea what to do. I will try to think of something. Come back tomorrow.” He was hoping the farmer would not come back.

Continue reading “The Awad Family”

Sami Awad, Every Church a Peace Church Interview – Part 1

Sami Awad, Executive Director of The Holy Land Trust-Palestine, a resident of Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine and an advocate for the use of non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In Part 1, Sami discusses what it is like to live and work under the Israeli occupation; the prospects for peace in the Middle East; The construction of the Israeli wall and how present day Palestine compares with the brutality of South African apartheid. Will non-violent resistance work in Palestine?