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Nonviolence News August supplement

Nonviolence News July 2017

Editorial: Northern Ireland - Wrong deal, no deal

Eco-Awareness with Larry Speight: Lessons from Grenfell Tower

Readings in Nonviolence: Alternatives to Violence Project impact

Billy King: Rites Again

Readings in Nonviolence

Readings in Nonviolence’ features extracts from our favourite books, pamphlets, articles or other material on nonviolence and related areas, or reviews of important works in the field (suggestions and contributions welcome)

Testimony of an Israeli refusenik

Why I Refuse: On God/Love, Nonviolence and Israel’s Military Occupation of the PalestinianTerritories
by Moriel Rothman

Introduced by Máiréad Collins

Moriel Rothman was born in West Jerusalem, his family emigrated to the US and he was brought up in Ohio where he was influenced by the civil rights movement in the States, and the writings of various prominent anti-violence thinkers. In his early 20s he returned to Jerusalem as an Israeli citizen. All Israeli citizens (male and female) are required to carry out mandatory military service, last year Moriel received his draft letter and he decided (for the reasons outlined in this blog) to refuse to serve.

To be a refusnik in Israel is to push against a vast wall of opposition. Those who recently marched in Tel Aviv to express their opposition to the attacks on Gaza were met with counter protests where they were lambasted as traitors and enemies. In 2011, as a Human Rights monitor and ecumenical accompanier with EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel) I attended a talk given to us by a member of New Profile. New Profile was set up by the mothers of sons who had refused to serve. Their campaign against the deep militarisation of Israeli society (such as the inclusion of the military in advertising and in the school curricula) led to Avigdor Lieberman, Minister for Foreign Affairs and deputy prime Minister, labelling them a terrorist organisation.

Rothman, as he recognises himself, came to his refusnik position from a place of privilege – particularly he had the privilege of distance; distance from an identity that is sometimes suffocating of other perspectives. I met many soldiers in the West Bank, all of them carried automatic weapons, most also carried cocky arrogance, some carried fear, but there were those (though a minority) that also seemed to carry confusion about what they were doing there, and who responded with humanity to us and the people we lived amongst. I hope that Moriel’s bravery (whether born of privilege or not) reaches their ears and that they find enough distance from what they’ve been told to listen and hear a new way.

See the Moriel Rothman’s testimony here

Updates on Moriel Rothman’s status can be found on the WRI site under ‘CO Alerts’.

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A song: The Peace Monger
There is an ancient tradition of changing the words of songs to suit whatever the singer wishes to express. In the political sphere this is done to raise issues and satirise events – and in a living tradition this has always happened. Here Attracta Walsh takes the archetypal Irish drinking song, The Wild Rover and gives it a rather different twist. And it’s no, nay, never, will you not do the same thing as appropriate.......

(To the tune of ‘Wild Rover’)

I’ve been a peace monger
For many’s a year
And I go out each day
And I try to spread cheer
But people are miserable
They just want to fight
They tell me I’m wrong
And they’re sure that they’re right.

And it’s no, nay, never
No nay never no more
Will I sit and keep quiet
And thereby condone war.

I went to the corner shop
To buy me some bread
But the shop keeper stood there
And just shook his head
The shop had been raided
The thieves took the lot
They had beat and abused him
And called him a Wop.

And I said no, nay, never
No nay never no more
Will I put up with racism
Sectarianism or war.

I called on my good friend
A mother and wife
But she was battered and threatened
And afraid for her life.
Her husband’s a bastard
He made her life hell
But she’s free now and happy
And doing quite well.

And it’s no nay never
No nay never no more
Will I tolerate domestic violence
Sectarianism or war.

Now I’m older and less fit
My hair it is grey
But I care about people
Be they disabled, black or gay
I go to human rights parades
And festivals and gigs
Support animal rights for chickens
And cattle and pigs.

And it’s no nay never
No nay never no more
Will I condone factory farming
Gay bashing or war.

No nay never
No nay never no more
Tolerate domestic violence
Sectarianism or war.

Attracta Walsh, 2009

Copyright INNATE 2016