‘Readings in Nonviolence’ features extracts from our
favourite books, pamphlets, articles or other material on nonviolence, or
reviews of important works in the field (suggestions welcome).
Introduced by Roberta Bacic
Readings in Nonviolence aims at highlighting articles, books, reports, actions that approach non-violence. The last two months it seems that war, destruction, horror, pain and violence in Gaza, as well as other parts of the world, have taken the first pages of news, be that on TV or newspapers.
In the midst of all of that, some interesting materials, based on action and experience, have come across our readings and we would like to share them with you.
What can we do in this scenario? We invite you to look into these different pieces that tackle and look into other ways of dealing with the violent situation in Gaza. At the time this piece goes to our web, the war as such has stopped, though the aftermath is crude and savage. And it will last long and have effect on the generations to come.
Bernama - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By D. Arul Rajoo
BANGKOK, Jan 11 2009 (Bernama) -- "Stop fighting violence with violence and engage Mahatma Gandhi's civil disobedience-style. You can paralyse the entire economy of Israel, and even get sympathy among Israeli people and millions around the world."
Timor Leste president and independence fighter Jose Ramos-Horta made this impassioned plea to the Palestinian people.
The 1996 Nobel Laureate for Peace said that after more than 50 years, Palestinians were still fighting for their own country because there was no calibre and peace-advocate freedom fighters like India's Gandhi or South Africa's Nelson Mandela emerging among them.
Speaking at the Foreign Correspondent Club here as part of the International Peace Foundation's 'Bridges' series, Ramos-Horta said Hamas could not aspire to lead the state and the same time, continue with its basic instinct of fighting violence with violence against a powerful enemy like Israel.
"If we in Timor Leste had engaged in discriminative violence against any seen enemy, including the Indonesian civil servants and the ordinary people, we wouldn't be free today,' said the former foreign minister, former prime minister and currently, president of the youngest independent country in the world.
Ramos-Horta, who founded the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor and served as the exiled spokesman for the East Timorese resistance to the Indonesian Government from 1975-1999, also cited experiences in several African countries which fought for independence or the Afro-Americans who did not engage in extremism in recent years to fight for their cause.
On the ongoing Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip that has so far, killed more than 800 civilians, he said, while it served Israel's interest to use force against Hamas, he did not agree with labelling Hamas as a terrorist group as they had mass support and even won the election sanctioned by the United Nations and the United States.
On Myanmar, Ramos-Horta said he was against sanction against the country and reiterated that any solution should take into account the status of the powerful military.
"A road map should have clear calendar and several steps towards the final outcome. But the privilege for military must remain as in Indonesia and Thailand...no elected government can survive without the backing of the military," he added.
Ramos-Horta, who survived an assassination attempt in February last year, also spoke about the progress made by his country, saying that it was having a 10 per cent growth but the oil revenue was expected to fall this year...
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http://www.violinsofhope.org while we write, the music creates a peaceful mood.
On the 24th September [2008 – Ed] AFTER MORE THAN 60 YEARS OF SILENCE
THEY ( the violins ) WILL COME ALIVE AGAIN AT THE FOOT OF THE ANCIENT WALL OF JERUSALEM
The Grand Concert of ISRAEL'S 60th Anniversary Celebrations
The Story of the Violins
During the concert, the musicians will perform with unique violins that share their destiny with the Jewish People's. The violins were found almost totally destroyed, in the silence of hell, in liberated camps and empty Ghettos, at the end of the Second World War. One by one, the violins have been brought back to life by the Master Luthier Amnon Weinstein and for the first time after more than 60 years of silence, they will sound under the sky of Jerusalem.
Precisely where the Judean Desert meets the everlasting city of Jerusalem, at the foot of the breathtaking ancient walls, a grand and prestigious philharmonic orchestra will perform a once-in-a-lifetime concert, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of Israel.
The philharmonic orchestra will be the magical result of a historic reunion between two grand classical orchestras from Istanbul, Turkey and Ra'anana, Israel.Together with Maestro Shlomo Mintz and talented violinists from different origins and countries, the orchestra will perform a musical masterpiece with unique violins that share their destiny with the Jewish People's.
Those violins were found almost totally destroyed, in the silence of hell, in liberated camps and empty Ghettos, at the end of the Second World War. One by one, the violins have been brought back to life and for the first time after more than 60 years of silence, they will sound under the sky of Jerusalem.
...The funds raised by the "Violins of Hope" concert will be entirely committed to Meir Panim's social and humanitarian projects in Israel.
Peter Beaumont, David Smith and Ben Quinn
The Observer, Sunday 11th January 2009
A group of Britain's most prominent Jews has called on Israel to cease its military operations in Gaza immediately, warning that its actions, far from improving the country's security, will "strengthen extremism, destabilise the region, and exacerbate tensions inside Israel".
Describing themselves, as "profound and passionate supporters" of Israel - and supporting its right to defend itself against the "war crime" of Hamas rocket attacks - they added that the current tactics threatened to undermine international support for Israel.
The intervention, in a letter published in today's Observer, came as fears grew that Israel was to launch a "new phase" of its military offensive inside the Gaza strip. Yesterday warplanes dropped leaflets warning Gazans "not to be close to terrorists, weapons warehouses and the places where the terrorists operate". The two-week-old campaign has already killed more than 800 Palestinians, while 13 Israelis have died, three of them civilians killed by Hamas rockets.
Although individual Jewish writers and religious figures have expressed their opposition to the conduct of Operation Cast Lead, the letter represents the most significant break with Israel's tactics from a group of UK Jews.
Prominent rabbis, academics and political figures are among the signatories, including Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, head of the Movement for Reform Judaism; Sir Jeremy Beecham, former chair of the Labour party; Professor Shalom Lappin of the University of London; Baroness Julia Neuberger; Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism; Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein, principal of Leo Baeck rabbinical training college; and lawyer Michael Mitzman, who set up Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for the Home Office.
Their demand comes amid increasing pressure on Israel from the diplomatic community to halt its operations, and rising criticism of the humanitarian impact on Palestinian civilians, including allegations of potentially serious breaches of international humanitarian law. Demonstrations around the world yesterday called for a ceasefire.
"We look upon the increasing loss of life on both sides of the Gaza conflict with horror," reads the letter. "We have no doubt that rocket attacks into southern Israel, by Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups, are war crimes against Israel. No sovereign state should, or would, tolerate continued attacks and the deliberate targeting of civilians. Israel had a right to respond and we support the Israeli government's decision to make stopping the rocket attacks an urgent priority.
"However, we believe that now only negotiations can secure long-term security for Israel and the region."
The letter was written before the escalation of ground fighting in Gaza City itself signalled by Israel yesterday.
"There can be no alternative to a negotiated solution," said Beecham. "Israel should be demonstrating, along with the Palestinian Authority, that there are economic and political benefits to be gained from peaceful engagement rather than violent confrontation."
His sentiments were echoed by Lappin: "Relying on overwhelming military force to respond to terrorist provocations invariably imposes horrendous suffering on innocent Palestinian civilians while entrenching the agents of terror in their midst. We have no alternative but to pursue rational, long term political options that promote moderation and marginalise extremists."
In London violent clashes broke out near the Israeli embassy as tens of thousands marched in protest. Helmeted riot police with batons and shields charged a group of demonstrators who hurled sticks, shoes and traffic cones back at them while chanting "Free Palestine!"
Protesters tried to force entry to the north gate of Kensington Palace Gardens and six climbed an adjoining wall, setting fire to an American flag. The windows of a Starbucks opposite the embassy were smashed.
The police charges created waves of panic. Protester Ahmed Mohammad, 23, claimed he saw women and children get hurt: "It was a peaceful protest until the riot police came. I've seen a mother and little girl pushed to the ground."
Some protesters attempted to throw barriers and other missiles at police.
The Stop the War Coalition, which organised the event, claimed that "at least" 100,000 people had made it "the biggest demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the history of this country". The Metropolitan Police estimated the total at 12,000.
Earlier, Speakers' Corner at Hyde Park was turned into a sea of Palestinian flags and banners condemning Israel. Speakers included human rights advocate Bianca Jagger, singer Annie Lennox and the Rev Garth Hewitt, canon at St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.
The letter read:
To the government of Israel
We are writing this letter as profound and passionate supporters of Israel. We look upon the increasing loss of life on both sides of the Gaza conflict with horror. We have no doubt that rocket attacks into southern Israel, by Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups, are war crimes against Israel. No sovereign state should, or would, tolerate continued attacks and the deliberate targeting of civilians.
Israel had a right to respond and we support the Israeli government's decision to make stopping the rocket attacks an urgent priority.
However, we believe that only negotiations can secure long-term security for Israel and the region.
We are concerned that rather than bringing security to Israel, a continued military offensive could strengthen extremists, destabilise the region and exacerbate tensions inside Israel with its one million Arab citizens. The offensive and the mounting civilian victims - like the Lebanon war in 2006 - also threaten to undermine international support for Israel.
We stand alongside the people of Israel and urge the government of Israel and the Palestinian people, with the assistance of the international community, to negotiate:
- An immediate and permanent ceasefire entailing an end to all rocket attacks and the complete and permanent lifting of the blockade of Gaza.
- International monitoring of the ceasefire agreement, including measures to ensure the security of the borders between Israel and Gaza as well as the prevention of weapons smuggling into Gaza.
It is our desire to see a durable solution for ordinary people and our view that an immediate ceasefire is not only a humanitarian necessity but also a strategic priority for the future security of Israelis, Palestinians and people of the region.