Let me start off by thanking all of you who responded so generously to our June fund appeal. Your contributions have gotten our new fiscal year off to a good start. However, as you can tell from reading this newsletter and keeping up with current events, the demand on our resources for nonviolence and peace is growing rapidly. For those of you who did not take the opportunity to contribute, and those of you who already did, please send in a donation now to help us prepare for a very active fall.
This issue of Muste Notes is full of information about the results of our work. We are pleased to report on how the Institute's programs are helping to bring nonviolence into conflict situations in Palestine and Latin America, to build the growing movement to counter military recruitment around the country, and to continue to expand efforts to end the death penalty, oppose racism against immigrants and protect women's rights.
We expect the coming months to be very busy, with several major demonstrations against the Iraq war and a new round of local projects to fund. As the Muste Memorial Institute's message of nonviolent action for social change takes on greater importance, your support will play an important role in sustaining our ability to keep this movement growing.
Jenin Students Get Nonviolence Training
In May of 2004, the Muste Institute made a $1,000 grant to Holy Land Trust for a nonviolence training at the American Arab University of Jenin. This article about the training was written by trainer Husam Jubran. Founded by Palestinians in Bethlehem in 1998, Holy Land Trust supports the Palestinian community in developing nonviolent resistance approaches to ending the occupation, and assists in building an independent Palestine founded on the principles of nonviolence, democracy, respect for human rights, and peaceful means of resolving conflicts. Holy Land Trust also organizes a "travel and encounter" program in Palestine. For more information: http://www.holylandtrust.org/
On February 11 and 12, 2005, Holy Land Trust's Peace and Reconciliation Department carried out a student Nonviolence Core Training in partnership with the American Arab University of Jenin. The two-day workshop was attended by 27 students from villages across the West Bank, including the cities of Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, and Tul Karem. Holy Land Trust trainer Husam Jubran developed the training content and hosted the workshop. In the first three sessions, students confronted such topics as conflict analysis and understanding; structural violence as opposed to personal violence; and nonviolence. A fourth workshop session, co-led by Holy Land Trust's Executive Director, Sami Awad, was dedicated exclusively to an interactive nonviolence discussion and action planning.
In a noteworthy development, participants in the training included students affiliated with a spectrum of political parties not normally associated with nonviolence. Several students identified with the Hamas organization, while others were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestine Liberation Organization's Fattah Movement. It was exciting to see students affiliated with such parties joining eagerly in the workshop's debates on the legitimate value of nonviolence as an alternative to violent approaches in the Palestinian liberation struggle.
In the final workshop session, the Nonviolence Core students devised plans for how to practically implement nonviolent resistance to the occupation while strengthening local community. In the end, the students agreed to form a Nonviolence Club which they would register with the university in order to carry out nonviolence education and activism on campus. The students also came up with an action plan: they decided to initiate a nonviolent campaign within American Arab University of Jenin to boycott the sale and use of Israeli goods on campus-the first attempt at a divestment campaign at the university.
At the conclusion of the workshop, all 27 participants were accredited as Jenin Nonviolence Core group members and future members of the American Arab University of Jenin nonviolence club (later officially registered under the name Green Resistance Club). Many of the trainees also enthusiastically invited Holy Land Trust to host additional nonviolence trainings in their home villages, opening the door for the continued spread of Nonviolence Core groups across occupied Palestine. Holy Land Trust is continuing to work with these students to ensure ongoing support for their efforts to build the Palestinian nonviolence movement.
Holy Land Trust is continuing to work with these students to ensure ongoing support for their efforts to build the Palestinian nonviolence movement.
- Husam Jubran
An Update on Projects Funded by the Muste Institute
The San Diego Military Counseling Project (www.sdmcp.org), which received a Muste Institute grant in April 2004, organized a public event in San Diego last May 10 in support of Bronx sailor Pablo Paredes on the eve of his court martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq. The "Voices of Resistance" event also featured speakers including Fernando Suarez del Solar, who became an anti-war and counter-recruitment activist after his son was killed fighting in Iraq, and Camilo Mejia, an Iraq war veteran who was court-martialed in May 2004 and sentenced to a year in prison for refusing orders to return to Iraq (he was released in February 2005). At Paredes' trial, the government cross-examined international law expert Marjorie Cohn about the illegality of war, allowing her to put forward a strong anti-war position-an exercise which ended with the judge stating: "I believe the government has just successfully proved that any seaman recruit has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were all illegal." In the end, Paredes received no jail time, only two months' restriction to base, extra duty and a reduction in rank.
The eleventh "Jerusalem Women Speak" tour organized by Partners for Peace is now scheduled for October 14-29, 2005, with stops in Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. Since 1998, Partners for Peace has been organizing these US speaking tours featuring three women of different backgrounds-a Muslim Palestinian, a Christian Palestinian and a Jewish Israeli-who talk to US audiences about the harsh realities faced by Palestinians living under Israel's Occupation, and share their vision for building peace. The Muste Institute helped fund the eighth "Jerusalem Women Speak" tour, which traveled through Washington DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago in October 2004. For information call 202-863-2951,, email [email protected] or visit www.partnersforpeace.org
The award-winning video documentary Another Brother, about the life of black Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist Clarence Fitch, is now available in DVD and VHS formats. The 50-minute film illustrates Fitch's struggles as an 18-year-old marine in Vietnam, then dealing with racism in Jersey City, recovering from heroin addiction, mentoring high school students, working as an antiwar activist and facing AIDS, the disease which took his life in 1990. The Muste Institute supported "Another Brother" with a $1,000 grant in 1994. As a new crop of veterans returns from Iraq, this film provides a timely resource. Copies can be ordered for $40 plus shipping from Transit Media (1-800-343-5540, [email protected]). A discussion guide can be downloaded free at www.andersongoldfilms.com. To schedule speakers to accompany the film, contact AndersonGold Films, 718-789-2168, [email protected].
Sheilah's Fund East in 2005
The Muste Institute's donor-advised Sheilah's Fund East has made six grants so far this year in support of nonviolence work in Latin America:
SECRETARIADO INTERNACIONAL DE SOLIDARIDAD (SICSAL)
SERVICIO PAZ Y JUSTICIA (SERPAJ)-AMERICA LATINA
New Grants, June 2005
ARISE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
COORDINADOR NACIONAL AGRARIO
IDAHO COMMUNITY ACTION NETWORK
MASAR INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION
SOCIAL HARMONY AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION
TORTURE ABOLITION AND SURVIVORS SUPPORT COALITION INTERNATIONAL
WITNESS TO INNOCENCE