10’99 Paraphrased Nonviolence ‘Lex-Nex’ Clippings
1st Class 19 January Introduction
John Rice, “Academics Explore Nonviolence in Campaign Against Israeli Occupation,” Associated Press, 20 November 1986
Arab and Western intellectuals met this week to explore the use of nonviolence in the campaign against Israeli occupation of Arab territories, but few Arab participants seemed ready to renounce the use of force. “I don’t think people are committed yet to nonviolent means, but I think that they are curious about it,” said Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Secretary-General of the Arab Thought Forum, a government-backed think tank that sponsored the event. “There is a tradition of nonviolent struggle in the Arab world which is very little known ... (and is) actually the majority tradition,” he said. The three-day conference ended Monday and was attended by about 50 people. Several participants said they thought it was the first session in the Arab world devoted to the subject. “It is really a giant step to have a conference on nonviolence in Amman, in the Arab world,” said Abdul-Aziz Said, professor of international relations at the American University in Washington, D.C.
“Palestinian Urges Nonviolence For Intifada Public Opinion Pressuring Leaders; On Both Sides, Says Exile Mubarak Awad” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 15 June 1989, B 3.
Mubarak Awad: I see the Intifada as part of a nonviolent struggle. You are dealing with stones and Molotov cocktails; the killing has been the very minimum compared with what could go on. If you look at the resistance, the Palestinians have been nonviolent: opening their shops only from 9 a.m. to noon; refusing to pay taxes, get I.D. cards or respond to letters written in Hebrew; using only Palestinian products; and building their own institutions so they are not dependent on Israeli institutions. When there are no police, Palestinians furnish their own security police and police their areas without any help from the Israelis. So the violence is only about 15 percent of the Intifada. Because of nonviolence, the whole world started listening to us. Before, when we resisted with terrorism to tell the world we have a cause, nobody recognized that cause, only our violent actions. And there has been a change in the thinking of the Palestinian leaders and the Palestinians themselves that we have to continue with a peace proposal. Can you explain your relationship as a Palestinian but now an American citizen to Palestinians in the territories and your relationship to the Palestine Liberation Organization?
I feel very strongly that the PLO is our leadership. They are the ones who moved us in a different direction. First, they said to all Palestinians, ‘‘We are not of the Arab world, we are Palestinians first and then Arabs.’’ Before that we considered ourselves Arabs first and Palestinians second. And the PLO freed us from our total dependence on the Arab world. Through Yasser Arafat, we learned that the Syrians, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Egyptians and the Jordanians cannot tell the PLO: Do this or else. Do they pay attention to your advice to use nonviolence? Yes, they have said that for a certain period of time, they are willing to accept the nonviolent approach. But it is not that they believe in nonviolence personally; I think they believe in it as a strategy that this time might work. If it does not, they will go back to guns. What final arrangement would you like between Palestinians and Israelis? A two-state solution.
I don’t think we can accept anything that would destroy our nationality or our culture; nor can we destroy Israel. We have to have two states. That would mean we have to recognize Israel, and we have to start functioning as a state within our borders, which are the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Would the Palestinian state you envision have an army? No. I am against a Palestinian army, not only for political reasons but also because I feel that in no way could we have an army that could compete with the Israeli army. About 700,000 Arabs live in Israel as citizens, and there are roughly 70,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. Some have proposed a 1-for-10 swap. What would happen to the settlers, and would Israeli Arabs be allowed to live in a Palestinian state? Several proposals have been discussed by PLO leaders. One is that Palestinians living in Israel would carry a Palestinian passport and live where they are now. Settlers in a Palestinian state would carry an Israeli passport and live where they are now. Another plan is that all settlers would move out. Even the settlements would have to be destroyed because we don’t want them. A third is based on the feeling that some settlers would stay and others would sell out, that few would really want to live in a Palestinian state. But the idea that settlers or Palestinians should have ways to go in and out has always been accepted.
If a Palestinian state has no army, how could it prevent its territory being used by such Arab states as Syria or Iraq to launch attacks against Israel? I don’t think there is an interest in destroying Israel in the Arab world. There is no difficulty between Syria and Israel, although the Golan Heights issue has to be resolved. Jordan and Israel have been more friendly than anyone else, secretly. And I don’t think there is any problem between Egypt and Israel. Having no army, however, a Palestinian state would have to have a guarantee that Israel would not invade us and the Arab world would not invade us. Is it likely that Palestinian factions would quarrel and the group with the most guns would dominate the state? I think it would be more democratic than that. When we discuss that, we have to discuss the concept of our laws. It is important to know that we have a law that if anybody attacks an Israeli, this person is a criminal.
If this is recognized in a Palestinian court, the Israelis will understand we are serious about peace. Also, the continuance of business and trade between Israelis and Palestinians would keep the borders open…. To have elections without changing some of the laws will not work…. For example, first we have to have a referendum to ask if the Palestinians want the PLO as their representative. The Israelis know that about 95 percent of Palestinians would say yes. Israel has to have the guts to talk to the PLO straight…. There can be no election without the PLO….
What forms can nonviolence take besides the early store closings and boycotting of some products? Going to jail is one thing. When a Palestinian goes to jail, nobody comes around asking about bail. If we go to jail, we will stay in jail. Closing the schools has been a very powerful act, because a lot of people stuck underground are teaching. Even though the Israelis have said that those caught teaching in their own homes will be sentenced to 10 years in prison, Palestinians are graduating from high school and universities. The power of nonviolence is that it has changed the Palestinian mentality about the possibility of peace. Palestinians are no longer afraid to speak to the Israelis, to say we will accept a two-state solution. Imagine a Palestinian who has been living in a refugee camp and has always wanted the whole of Palestine accepting 23 percent of everything. The West Bank and Gaza are only 23 percent of Palestine. For a Palestinian to say yes to that — he is either crazy, or he has sold out. But that is what we have been accepting. Because of nonviolence, Palestinian leaders in the territories decided on a political solution, forcing the PLO outside the leadership to accept that decision. That is where the change occurred.
I want to push the idea that this is a time of historical change in the mentality of Palestinians, who now separate themselves from the Arab world, and that they are looking for peace. We must show the Israelis that we want peace and this is not a game or a joke. If Arafat does not achieve a political or peaceful solution, he is going to get out. Then we will have more radical Palestinians. Then the Middle East will go back to more agony and killing and destruction. That is what I am afraid of. Americans can help a lot by questioning the aid money sent to Israel, because some of that money is going to oppress Palestinians. Americans cannot continue saying there is a good side. Now, we don’t want Americans to be on the Palestinian side. We want them to take two sides. In doing that, it becomes an issue of Americans being for peace, not taking one side or the other.
2nd Class 26 January Three Faces/Views of Power
Gene Sharp, “The Power of Nonviolence,” Christian Science Monitor, July 31, 1989, 19
Since World War II, and especially in the past five years, nonviolent struggle has been practiced on a politically significant scale in such diverse countries as: Poland, Burma, Bangladesh Yugoslavia, Romania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, the Sudan, Morocco, South Africa, the West Bank and Gaza, Chile, the Philippines, China, South Korea, the United States, Brazil, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Panama, Argentina, Iran, Tibet, and Russia …. It is active, not passive. It strikes at the heart of political power: It undermines a government by withdrawing the consent, obedience, and cooperation of the citizenry. It rests on the very human capacity to be at times stubborn, cussed, and even obnoxious, collectively applied. It does not require belief in pacifism or ethical nonviolence, but instead has been used overwhelmingly by ordinary people who still believe in violence under other circumstances. It can apply great pressure, coerce, and even disintegrate hostile regimes, as various historical cases show.
Keith Henderson, “Figuring Out Exactly Why Nonviolence Works — Or Fails,” Christian Science Monitor, 14 January 1994, 15
Gene Sharp, a founder of the institution, … has spent considerable time in the Baltics talking to officials about nonviolence. More concerned than ever about resurgent Russian imperialism after the recent elections, Baltic defense officials are formalizing nonviolent tactics such as the mass mobilization of unarmed civilians, says Sharp. Handbooks on nonviolence are being prepared for every household in Lithuania, he says. Police, broadcasters, and others are versed in what to do if an invasion occurs. In Russia itself, adds Kruegler, there has also been strong interest in the institution’s literature…. Sharp has done a good deal of fieldwork, including discussing nonviolence with Palestinians. In the early days of the Intifadah he had recommended reducing ‘‘limited violence’’ like stone throwing and concentrating on noncooperation and building indigenous Palestinian institutions…. Sharp has traveled to the mountain headquarters of the Burmese (officially Myanmar) opposition to consult with them about nonviolent strategies to use against Burma’s military regime. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest in Rangoon, but her followers have formed a committee to spread ideas about nonviolent resistance in Burma, even though anyone found with such material could be executed, says Sharp. Sharp … adds (that)… fostering of a ‘‘strategic’’ approach to nonviolent action has ‘‘the potential to multiply the effectiveness of future nonviolent struggle at least 10 times over what it has been in the past….’’
3rd Class 2 February Project Paragraph with Sources Due
5th Class 16 February 1st Memo Due Burma, Ireland, Nazism, Timor/U.N.
Joyce Marie Mushaben [University of Missouri-St. Louis], “Dissent and Faith in GDR,” Christian Science Monitor, 2 May 1990, 19.
Immediately after the majority vote of April 12, confirming the first freely elected government in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) since 1933, the new Minister-President Lothar de Maiziere expressed his appreciation to the 400 members of the People’s Chamber…. Pastors began to provide sanctuary in the mid-’70s for conscientious objectors and dissidents. Its clergy protested the introduction of military training in the elementary schools in 1978. Pastors opened parish halls to activists in the budding, grassroots eco-peace movements. Many a parish, such as the Zionskirche in Berlin, provided a roof for the first ‘‘environmental libraries,’’ subject to raids by the security police or ‘‘Stasi.’’ Mass demonstrations of 1989 which culminated in the fall of Erich Honecker and the opening of the Berlin Wall began with the ‘‘peace prayers’’ conducted at the Nikolai church in Leipzig, along with vigils in Berlin, Dresden, Halle, and Wittenberg. The church hierarchy publicly criticized the fraudulent conduct of the May 7 communal elections, and last September called for the right to demonstrate and for the recognition of opposition groups such as New Forum.
The first GDR opposition parties counted many theologians among their founding members. The 50 men and women who conspired to create the Social Democratic Party on Oct. 7 met in Schwante at the home of Pastor Joachim Kahler. Democracy Now had its roots in the Peace Circle of the Bartholomaeus parish in East Berlin. Even Greens held their meeting on church grounds. It was Martin Ziegler, director of the Secretariat of the Council of Lutheran Churches, who announced the Round Table decision to schedule the first free elections for March 18. Ziegler shared the role of rotating moderator of the Round Table with Catholic Monsignor Karl-Heinz Ducke and Methodist Pastor Martin Lange, head of the Working Community of Christian Churches. While the churches can now return to ministering services, clergy activists are unlikely to return to their long-standing role of ‘‘critical minority.’’
“Nobel Spotlight,” Washington Post, 15 October 1991, A 22
This year the beneficiary is Aung San Suu Kyi, 46, leader of the opposition in Myanmar, formerly Burma…. Daughter of a liberation (from Britain) hero, she led her party last year to an overwhelming victory in elections whose results the military [junta] canceled …. [I]t is China that most sustains the junta. Frustrated in recent years in the larger global arena, Beijing has … [become] … Myanmar’s major arms supplier (in the $1 billion range), its major trading partner, and a leading political adviser ….
Sarah Schaefer, “Four Who Damaged BAe Plane are Cleared,” Daily Telegraph, 31 July 1996.
Four protesters who caused pounds 1.5 million [about $3 million U.S.] damage to a British Aerospace jet were acquitted yesterday. The Liverpool Crown Court jury accepted the women’s pleas of not guilty on the grounds that they used “reasonable force to prevent a crime”. The defendants said that they damaged the Hawk trainer with a hammer in 25 places because it was destined for Indonesia, where they claimed it could have been used against civilians in East Timor. Lotta Kronlid, 28, Andrea Needham, 30, Angela Zelter, 45, and Joanna Wilson, 33, denied conspiring to damage the plane. Miss Wilson, Miss Kronlid and Miss Needham also denied causing criminal damage to the jet.
During the seven-day trial, the court heard that the women cut through the seven-mile perimeter fence at the BAe plant at Warton, Lancs, in the early hours of Jan 29. After damaging the plane, they left a video in the cockpit showing footage of the 1991 Dili Massacre in which hundreds of civilians were shot by Indonesian troops. David Pickup, prosecuting [atty.], said the women’s “genuine and sincere” beliefs were irrelevant to the issues. But Vera Baird, defending Wilson, said what the four did was not a publicity stunt, as claimed by the prosecution. It was an act of last resort by women of principle who had unsuccessfully campaigned against the sale of the Hawks, she said.
Earlier this year President Suharto of Indonesia approved the purchase of 24 Hawk [Jet] aircraft. Campaigners who opposed weapon sales to the regime were enraged. Critics claimed that the planes were to be used to control East Timor, which was invaded by Indonesia in December 1975. A British Aerospace spokesman expressed surprise at the verdicts. “BAe has no evidence that Hawk aircraft are being used in a manner contrary to assurances provided by the Indonesian Government to the British Government.” he said. After the case, the four women, who had been in custody since their arrest, were served with injunctions to stay away from British Aerospace sites in Britain. These were torn up by their cheering supporters.
Mark Thomas [PA News Four], “Cleared Peace Women to Put BAe In Dock,” Press Association Newsfile, 31 July 1996.
Women cleared by a jury after using hammers to cause £1.5 million damage to a jet destined for Indonesia announced today that they are planning to put its makers British Aerospace in the dock. The women were cleared by a jury amidst jubilant scenes at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday. They claimed to have used reasonable force lawfully to disarm the Hawk jet to prevent it being used by the Indonesians in the crime of genocide against the civilian population of East Timor. BAe immediately announced that it had served injunctions on the four women yesterday “to prevent further interference with its business”. But today the four said that a barrister had been instructed to lay information at Liverpool magistrates court on Friday, starting a private prosecution against BAe on a charge of aiding and abetting murder in East Timor.
Andrea Needham, Lotta Kronlid, and Joanna Wilson freely admitted in court that they broke into the BAe factory at Warton, near Preston, Lancashire early on January 24 and attacked the aircraft, one of a consignment of 24 bought by Indonesia. But the jury cleared all three of criminal damage and also found them not guilty along with a fourth defendant, Angela Zelter, of conspiring to damage the aircraft. The verdict has sent shockwaves through the defence industry, but the women were delighted as they outlined their next plans in the “Stop the Hawk” campaign at a news conference today. They are among thousands of campaigners from various peace groups who have joined forces in a three-and-a-half year fight against the £500 million deal to sell the Hawk jets to Indonesia. Amnesty International says Indonesia has wiped out 200,000 people in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor since annexing it forcibly in 1975.
“It is because of their suffering that we disarmed that Hawk jet,” said widow Angela Zelter, 45, a Green Party member and former environmental agency worker from East Runton, Norfolk. “We think we have a very good case to prove that British Aerospace is aiding and abetting murder. “We live in a very corrupt society where corporations and governments get away with breaking the law and the rules applying to people in power are very different than those that apply to ordinary people.” She said that they felt a moral duty to prevent the British Government from doing things in the people’s name which were abhorrent.
Physiotherapist Andrea, 30, from Suffolk but living in Kirkby, Merseyside, added: “The verdict showed that what we did was not only morally right but was lawful. The Indonesian regime is quite prepared to slaughter its own citizens simply because they disagree with the government.” The group spent six months in Risley Prison near Warrington, Cheshire, on remand waiting for their trial, and say they were treated as a security risk for four months of that time, despite their actions being entirely peaceful. “Imprisonment for anyone is hard — it is a very difficult and harsh environment,” said Andrea. “But we have had an enormous network of support from all over the world, and received thousands of letters showing how strongly people feel about he situation, and that we should not be selling weapons to mass murderers.”
The women said they planned the attack carefully, but were surprised at how easy it had been to get into the top security factory. After cutting through the perimeter fence and breaking into the hangar they had almost two-and-a-half hours to “disarm” the jet before they telephoned the security staff to give themselves up. “The crime we were trying to prevent was so serious that we couldn’t risk getting it wrong,” said Andrea. “We thought we would have only one chance to get it right.” Lotta, a 28-year-old Swede from Gothenberg who was working as a gardener and cleaner in Oxford until her arrest, said: “We expected to be seen right away, and thought there would be alarms on the doors of the hangar. “It was quite nice to have so much time in there. It made it much less stressful.” Joanna, 33, an independent councillor in Knowsley, Merseyside, living with Andrea in Kirkby, said the action had been a last resort.
“Together with thousands of other people we wrote letters to the Government, to British Aerospace and to the police, asking them to prosecute BAe under the Genocide Act. There were protests at the company’s AGM and people bought a single share to go inside and ask questions about the Hawk deal. “Last October we held demonstrations and presented evidence that the Hawks were being used in East Timor and export licence guidelines were being breeched. The East Timorese themselves have presented evidence about The use of Hawks there and we had a mass lobby of Parliament in December, 1995. “We would have preferred not to have had to do this. If the deal had been cancelled, obviously there would have been no need for us to go ahead and take personal responsibility for the disarmament.”
The jury of seven men and five women took just over five hours to reach their verdicts. During the seven-day trial the court heard Wilson, Needham and Kronlid cut through the seven-mile perimeter fence at the BAe plant in the early hours of January 29 this year. They broke into hangar 358 and used hammers to damage the plane in 25 places. All four claimed their actions were justified because the Hawk was destined for Indonesia, where it would be used against the civilians of East Timor.
Only Wilson, a former Merseyside councillor, was represented by a barrister. Her counsel Vera Baird made her closing speech on Monday and the other three women addressed the jury themselves. They claimed they had lawful excuse to disarm the Hawk because they were using reasonable force to prevent a crime. During the trial a 15-minute video which the three women left in the cockpit of the damaged plane was shown to the jury. In it, the women explained their motivation. They called journalist John Pilger and East Timorese exile Jose Ramos Horta to give evidence on their behalf. Outside the court building after the verdicts had been returned, the women’s supporters danced in a circle and sang You’ll Never Walk Alone.
In her closing speech, Mrs Baird said what the four did was not a publicity stunt, as claimed by the prosecution, but an act of the last resort by women of principle who had unsuccessfully campaigned against the sale of the Hawks. David Pickup, prosecuting, said the women’s “genuine and sincere” beliefs were irrelevant to the issues in the case. The four will hold a news conference tomorrow at St Michael’s Social Club, Boundary Lane, Liverpool. After the case defendant Joanna Wilson said: “It’s a victory for justice, a victory for the people of East Timor and at least the people of Liverpool have recognised a crime has been committed by British Aerospace and the British government.” Angela Zelter said: “The British people know what is right and what is wrong. Now we have to go the Attorney General and the Court of Appeal to stop this deal now.”
Samantha McCall, “U.S. Vet Plots Burma Fight; Ex-Colonel Aids Democracy Movement,” Columbus Dispatch, 29 October 1996, C 4.
Robert L. Helvey, … 57, a former … attache with the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, … was stationed in Burma’s capital from 1983 to 1985…. [He] left Rangoon before the country’s military junta seized power after the bloody massacre of 3,000 unarmed students during the 1988 pro-democracy [Manerplaw] uprising…. Helvy, who served 30 years in the military, is a consultant with the Albert Einstein Institution, a nonprofit group dedicated to using nonviolent strategies to fight dictatorships around the world .… Increased pressure from the international community through boycotts, sanctions and protests coupled with student demonstrations in Rangoon are “‘encouraging signs’“ for freedom and democracy for the Burmese people, he said. Since 1992, he has made about 15 trips to the Thai-Burmese border to meet with more than 500 members of the National Council Union of Burma, a pro-democracy umbrella organization of government opposition groups — including a six-week training course on building the Burmese people’s confidence, identifying the military dictatorship’s weaknesses, and forming influential pressure groups ….
Finlay Marshall [PA News], “BAe Acts Against Peace Movement,” Press Association Newsfile, 15 December 1996.
Aerospace goes to court next week to halt peace activists from trespassing on factories where the Hawk ground-attack aircraft are built. Their target is Swords-into-Ploughshares, the peace group whose members have already attacked and damaged one plane destined for export to Indonesia. A full day has been set aside at the High Court in London to hear the application against seven members of the group which claims BAe is pursuing a blanket injunction with jail sentences for any activity which could be construed as “encouraging in any manner whatsoever any person to commit acts of trespass or damage ... at any BAe sites.”
An injunction is already in force against four women protesters who caused £1.5m worth of damage to a Hawk jet at British Aerospace’s factory at Warton, Lancashire. The four, Andrea Needham, Lotta Kronlid, Angela Zelter, and Joanne Wilson, were acquitted last July by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court of causing criminal damage to the aircraft. The women and Swords-into-Ploughshares say they were morally right to attack the plane because Indonesia would use it and others against the population of East Timor. They say genocide is taking place and they were acting to prevent crimes. The seven other activists are Jon Stoker of Hitchin, Herts, Michael Bane of Oldham, Lancs, Faith Kenrick of London, Clive Fudge of Norwich, Stephen Hancock of Oxford and Ciaron O’Reilly and Stuart Cooper from Manchester.
Jon Stoker said: “It is quite clear that British Aerospace will use any means to try and stop us highlighting that what they are doing is wrong supplying a country which is carrying out genocide against the people of East Timor. “We are not going to fight the application in court but the company is mobilising the justice system behind the Government’s sanction of its activities as lawful in order to crush further protest against it.” A British Aerospace spokesman said the company would take any measures to ensure the safety of its plants and property. He added that the Government had granted an export licence for the Hawks to be sold to Indonesia. “If people have information that there is wrongdoing they should tell the government not protest in our factories.”
Michael Cohen, “Many People are Willing to Take Risks for Healing,” Boston Globe, 12 April, 1998, B8
Paula Green … directs the Karuna Center for Peace Building, ….(Brattleboro, VT). … “Up until 10 years ago I was practicing as a psychotherapist and teaching at Antioch College in New Hampshire…. It started in the late 1980s when I was working with an international peace organization in Bangkok, and the director asked me if I would go up to the Burma-Thai border and work with the students who had just fled Rangoon after a military crackdown. I went up there and discovered thousands of students, caught on the border, unknown to the world, pursuing nonviolence…. Five times we led delegations of peace builders in through the jungle, to stand with the students on the side of justice …. We go into war-torn, or war-threatened areas, and we ask people to talk about their personal experiences of suffering and their need for healing …. Two years ago we were invited into Goma Zaire to the Goma refugee camp, … where 200,000 people live under little blue pieces of plastic….”
“British Peace Activists Head for Iraq with Medicine for Children,” AP Worldstream, 5 August 1998.
Two British peace activists left for Iraq Wednesday, carrying medicine worth 400 British pounds (dlrs 650) for the country’s children. In a statement released in the Jordanian capital before they took the road to Baghdad, Milan Rai, 33, and Andrea Needham, 32, said they had managed to leave Britain without having their load of medicine and medical journals confiscated by British customs. ‘‘We hope that this is a sign that the (British) government is reconsidering its position on sanctions and beginning to put the health of the children of Iraq at the center of its policies,’’ they said in the statement.
Under the U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, exports of medicine and humanitarian goods must be authorized by the U.N. sanctions committee. Rai, who belongs to the Voices in the Wilderness group, said British customs seized a load of medicine destined for Iraq as he was leaving London in February. Voices in the Wilderness, a group of American and British activists, have taken several shipments of medicine to Iraq without asking for U.N. clearance. ‘‘Ordinary Iraqi people are dying as a result of U.N. sanctions and we cannot accept a moral veto on doing whatever we can to alleviate their suffering,’’ Needham, a nurse, said in the statement. Needham and Rai said they handed in a letter to 10 Downing Street on Monday in which they told the British prime minister of their intention to break the sanctions. A spokeswoman for the group said Rai and Needham would hold a one-day sit-in and fast in front of the U.N. offices in Baghdad on Sunday. Last year a U.N. agency reported that almost a million Iraqi children under the age of five were suffering from malnutrition.
Erin Grace, “Work For Nonviolence Where You Are, Nobel Winner Urges,” Omaha World-Herald, 12 February 1999, 13
[Mairead Corrigan] Maguire and Betty Williams, both Catholic, shared the 1976 prize for their peace activism in Northern Ireland…. Resolution of the religious and political conflict dividing Northern Ireland will take time and patience, said Maguire, who lives about 30 miles south of Belfast. “As we begin to struggle with what is a very deep problem, we mustn’t be simplistic or naive,” Maguire said. “People are very divided, slow to trust each other.” The Good Friday Agreement in her homeland was a sign of hope, she said …. “We need to empower people at the base of our community,” she said. Maguire also spoke about the potential destruction that comes from strict ethnic, religious or national identities.
“Let’s celebrate our differences,” she said. “But let’s move our identity up a little bit to members of the human family. Then we’ll move past all the flags, all the religions.” This is also required of America, she said, whose economic disparity is a tragedy, considering the nation’s wealth. Maguire said she has been inspired by the example of Dorothy Day, a Catholic advocate for the poor. “I encourage you to work passionately for the homeless, for the poor. You have come so far, but you have much further to go.” Maguire, 55, said she is visiting schools and hospitals in Iraq next month to show support for children who are suffering from U.S. and United Nations-imposed economic sanctions. “This is genocide of the holy innocents. We’ve got to distinguish between Iraqi people and governments and focus on the children.” She called on the audience to reach out to the people of Iraq, even at the risk of violating the sanctions. “Go in there and say to the people of Iraq: ‘You are our brothers and sisters. We do not support the death of Iraqi children.’“ Simple person-to-person, country-to-country gestures are part of a peace process that has already begun, she said.”
Catherine Pawasarat, “Healing Society’s Ills from the Roots Up,” Japan Times, 15 April 1999.
As Thailand rapidly converts from agrarian state to economic dragon, a growing number of Thai people are looking for solutions to modern society’s own brand of ills. The Bangkok-based Spirit in Education Movement (SEM) points to the country’s traditional Buddhist roots for answers. SEM was established in 1995 as an alternative education institution with funds from a Right Livelihood Award (known as “the alternative Nobel Prize”), the same year that Thai Buddhist Sivaraksa Sulak was honored for his “... vision, activism and spiritual commitment in the quest for a development process that is rooted in democracy, justice and cultural integrity.”
“We are bringing back the Thai traditional way of living, but making it practical and up-to-date,” says SEM’s Kuntiranont Wallapa. “We look for what is special in Thai tradition, and we find it in Buddhism, new interpretations from the scriptures that suit modern people.” Most of SEM’s workshops - on themes like dharma (Buddhist teachings) and peacemaking, holistic health, meditation, engaged Buddhism and art and spirituality - take place at Ashram Wongsanit, the organization’s community center located outside the nation’s capital. Participants stay in simple, traditional-style accommodation and eat organic foods grown on site. Daily programs are designed for balance, with lectures and discussions supported by meditation, herbal saunas, tai chi and community work. Courses are small in size, to encourage participation and interaction, and usually last between two and 10 days.
“Participants in our Spirit in Education Movement,” wrote founder Sulak, “will try to understand the ways in which prevailing economic, social and political systems contribute to suffering, and to violence and the culture of violence that surrounds us, in order to provide a countervailing force of nonviolence, compassion and understanding.” SEM is a forum and training ground for alternatives to the standard Western model of development, which Sulak calls “hyper-consumeristic.” Most SEM students are of two kinds: ordinary citizens, and members of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or other peoples’ movements. Some of Thailand’s growing middle class join SEM programs to deal with the side effects of their increasingly stressful urban lives. “We don’t know if neuroses are increasing as Thailand develops; there are no data available on this,” says Dr. Tantipiwatanaskul Prawate, a psychiatrist based in Chiang Mai. “But stress is definitely increasing.” He teaches a course on Buddhism and psychotherapy jointly with John McConnell, British author of “Mindful Mediation,” a book on Buddhist approaches to resolving conflict. Participants range from individuals looking for skills to help friends cope with problems, to professional counselors wanting to incorporate the dharma into their practice, to a Theravada monk who runs a hospital for AIDS patients in northern Thailand. “I believe it’s the duty of monks to help the seriously ill die peacefully,” he says. “I’m here to learn about alleviating suffering.” He believes acupuncture, traditional herbal treatments and dharma-oriented counseling could help some patients heal themselves.
“We also work with people who work in hospitals, or NGOs dealing with things like cancer, or wife and child abuse,” Wallapa says. “These people get exhausted, or succumb to despair.” He sees SEM as a resource for inspiration. SEM also provides leadership training for minority leaders from various parts of Southeast Asia, in support of social movements in the global south. Training includes instruction on meditation, social analysis, ecology, administrative work and community and team-building. Like founder Sulak, SEM is an interesting hybrid, a cutting-edge pioneer firmly rooted in the traditions of Siam, as SEM refers to its nation. “We use Siam because the population of this country is diverse,” says Wallapa. “There are Karen people, Hmong people, Cambodians, Laotians and others. Thai people are just one of many ethnic groups who live here.”
Still, SEM also borrows from like-minded traditions in other countries, such as contemporary Western psychology and movements like deep ecology. It collaborates with the Naropa Institute in Colorado and Schumacher College, in Devon, England, two alternative education institutions that challenge contemporary paradigms. Without doubt, though, SEM’s greatest resource is Siam’s Theravada Buddhism and the Buddhist scriptures themselves. “Buddhism here is very open-minded,” Wallapa said, “with a spirit of freedom and democracy, and religious freedom also.” Students of all belief systems are welcome. Most participants are Thai, but some are foreign, including exchange students from the Naropa Institute and Schumacher College. “Engaged Buddhism in Siam” is a month-long course taught by Sulak specifically for Naropa students, though it is also open to others. Traveling to the rural north of the country, participants help Thai farmers with their daily work and gain first-hand experience of traditional Siamese culture, including Theravada Buddhist traditions like solitary meditation deep in the forest. This dual approach underpins all of SEM’s work: making use of tradition and modernity to benefit and enrich one another. With plans to create an alternative university in Chiang Mai province, SEM is poised to make a distinctly Siamese contribution to the global quest for holistic living and sustainable development, while empowering its Southeast Asian neighbors to eventually do likewise.
CAIN Project: Violence - Abstract from 'Mapping Troubles-Related Deaths in Northern Ireland 1969-1994' The Cost of the Troubles Study: Marie Therese Fay, Mike Morrissey and Marie Smyth The Cost of the Troubles Study INCORE ISBN 1 85923 088 1 Paperback 80pp £3.50 Orders to: INCORE Aberfoyle House, Northland Road, Londonderry, Northern Ireland BT48 7JA T: 01504 375500 F: 01504 375510 E: email@example.com
This paper describes the compilation of a database on deaths in the Troubles in Northern Ireland, which includes deaths which have occurred outside Northern Ireland and deaths due to Troubles-related trauma. Existing data sources on deaths in the Troubles are reviewed and analysed. Analysis of the newly compiled database has confirmed many of the findings and trends identified by others in previous work, if not in the numbers of deaths, then certainly in the high levels of death in the first half of the 1970's. Analysis of the new database has not supported the suggestion that deaths peak in the summer months, but rather October and November have emerged as the months with the highest death rates. Different cycles emerged among the organisations principally responsible for killings, with peaks of activity occurring at different points in the period 1969 - 1994.
In terms of the distribution of deaths, the overwhelming majority of those killed in the Troubles have been male, with the death risk highest in the younger age groups in the 20-24 age group highest, and almost 26 percent of all victims aged 21 or less. Both in absolute and relative terms more Catholics than Protestants have been killed, and the death rate for Catholics is greater than that for Protestants, as other researchers have found. However, if we include Northern Ireland security forces deaths in the analysis, and exclude Catholics killed by Republican paramilitaries and Protestants killed by Loyalist paramilitaries, the death rates move somewhat closer: - 2.5 per 1,000 for Catholics and 1.9 per 1,000 for Protestants. Civilians are the largest category killed, and account for 53 percent of the total killed, with the British Army accounting for almost 15 pre cent. Republican paramilitaries account for almost 13 percent, the RUC account for 8 percent of those killed and the other groups each account for less than 6 per cent. In relation to perpetration of killings, Republican paramilitaries account for almost 59 per cent of all deaths, Loyalist paramilitaries for almost 28 per cent, the British Army for 9 per cent, the RUC for almost 2 per cent and other groups each for less than 1 per cent. Republican paramilitaries have killed 74 per cent of all Protestants killed, over 25 per cent of all Catholics, and almost 96 per cent of those who were classified as "Non Northern Ireland." Loyalist paramilitaries killed 19 per cent of all Protestants killed, almost 50 per cent of all Catholics and just 2 per cent of the "Non Northern Ireland " category.
On the distribution of deaths, a death rate by ward was calculated and a concentration of deaths was found in Belfast, with only 15 of the 57 highest ranking wards outside the Belfast area. Derry Londonderry and Armagh account for most of the remaining wards. The distribution of deaths in the Troubles was correlated with the Robson deprivation indicator, and whilst the wards with the highest death rates also score high on the Robson index, no overall statistical association between death rate and deprivation was found. The percentage change in the yearly death rate was correlated with changes in the Northern Ireland GDP and the numbers unemployed. Whilst a negative correlation was found between death rates and GDP, and a positive correlation between deaths and unemployment, this is probably spurious. Finally, deaths in the Troubles was compared with the annual suicide figures for Northern Ireland, and a negative correlation found, suggesting that suicide rose as deaths in the Troubles decreased. This is somewhat consistent with evidence from elsewhere and merits further investigation. Whilst the findings generally support those of earlier work, the assertion that the spatial distribution of deaths is associated with the spatial concentration of Catholics was not confirmed. Variations of between 5-10% were found in the total number of deaths found between the new database and previously existing lists.
Assertions that the intensity of the Troubles meant that they ranked among the most serious of the world conflicts was not supported by preliminary international comparative work. Future work will re-examine the relationship between deprivation and the spatial distribution of Troubles-related deaths, the relationship between economic trends and the Troubles and further work on mental health aspects will be conducted. New data on mental health, economic and other aspects of the effects of the Troubles will be generated by a survey of a sample of the population of Northern Ireland. See also: Background information on The Cost of the Troubles Study Ltd. Selected tables from 'Mapping Troubles-Related Deaths in Northern Ireland 1969-1994' If you have any questions or comments regarding the CAIN service please send an email message. Or you can contact the CAIN Project Manager directly at the following email address: MARTIN@incore.ulst.ac.uk © CAIN Project; Last Modified by Dr Martin Melaugh.
7th Class 1 March Palestine/Hebron
Helena Cobban, “Gunless in Gaza — Politics Of Palestinian Nonviolence,” San Francisco Chronicle, 4 April 1990, D 8 [1/Z 1].
Beit Sahour was in the middle of a lengthy tax-resistance campaign. The week before, the Israelis had responded by seizing goods belonging to some of the town’s most prominent citizens. They took the entire stock held by two pharmacists as well as a carpenter’s woodworking machines and the stock of a grocer estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. (In October the tax collectors again appeared in Beit Sahour. Operating as before under cover of a military curfew, they hauled away furniture & other household goods from the homes of alleged defaulters.) One person I talked to in Beit Sahour was A.B., a thoughtful family head in his mid-40s. He asked that his name not be used, since many townsfolk had already been taken to prison camps under Israel’s provisions for detention without charge or trial. A.B. estimated that 95% of the residents of the community were participating in the tax strike. ‘‘Why do we refuse to pay taxes?’’ he asked. ‘‘Because our taxes only go to the Israeli army to buy more bullets…. [W]hen our municipality needed new roads, we had to go begging elsewhere for the money to finance them.’’ … Timetables of basically nonviolent activities announced in the nationalists’ clandestine leaflets — days & part-days for strikes, peaceful marches to religious sites, cultural & economic activities — were … greeted with near-total observance….
Faisal Husseini … doyen of the activists [noted that] …. ‘‘We reached the conclusion, over a long period of time,’’ he told me in an interview last summer, ‘‘that if you confront a superior force, you have two major options to deal with it. Either you should build your own forces until you can achieve superiority, or you should reduce or neutralize the other force.’’ The Intifada has done this. It has neutralized Israel’s atom bombs, its Phantoms, tanks, heavy guns and everything. It has forced them to fight us using a single bullet, a nightstick, tear gas or clubs.’’ The Israelis have also tried to counter the Intifada by detaining suspected leaders. Husseini himself has served a number of terms under Israel’s provisions for detention without trial. Most recently he was detained in January this year. The day before our summer meeting, Israeli authorities had extended a closure order — for an additional 12 months — on the think-tank Husseini heads.
Beit Sahour’s A.B. put this process at the center of what the Intifada meant to him. ‘‘The real Intifada has nothing to do with violence,’’ he stressed. A.B. was quite confident that, despite all the material and human losses the Israelis could inflict, it was improbable that the Intifada could be crushed by force. Everyone I interviewed agreed. Gaza lawyer Raji Surani said, ‘‘The Israelis made a mistake, from the beginning of the Intifada on, by inflicting so much pain, humiliation and especially the mass arrests.’’ Surani often spends long days trying to locate missing Palestinians within the overcrowded Israeli prison camps. He knows how vital that work is, since he, like Husseini, is one of the camp system’s many thousands of ‘‘graduates.’’ Nevertheless, his overall judgment was: ‘‘The people here have a strategic optimism. Their psychology became an offensive psychology -- even though they are tired, exhausted, bleeding.’’
‘‘The currently stated goal of the PLO is to establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel,’’ said one East Jerusalem organizer. ‘‘If we want to reassure the Israelis that they can be safe alongside such a state, then we should cut our violence against them to the minimum. ‘‘But if the Intifada turned into armed struggle, then that would turn all the Israeli factions that now support us, against us.’’
Judy Dempsey, “Israelis Accused of ‘Deportation’ Policy: Palestinians Say They are Being Denied the Right to Live in Jerusalem,” Financial Times Limited (London), 10 April 1997, 4.
Every day a stream of people, mostly women with young children, enter the Centre for Studies of Civil & Social Rights, an Annexe to Orient House, the Jerusalem headquarters of the Palestinian peace negotiating team. They sit patiently, waiting to present their cases to Mr Azmi Abu Suood, the director, and his team of lawyers. The cases are all the same. “My clients have been refused the right of residence in the city where they were born or are trying to seek family reunification in Jerusalem,” explained Mr Suood. In recent months, the numbers seeking help have swelled. Mr Suood’s office is dealing with 1,500 cases following new regulations issued by the Israeli interior ministry which human rights organizations claim amount to “the quiet deportation” of the 170,000 Palestinians from east Jerusalem.
“For the past 18 months, following the implementation of Israel’s new policy on residency, hundreds, if not thousands of Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem have lost their right to live in the city,” said Ms Yael Stein, one of the authors of a report published this week by B’Tselem and HaMoken, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. These policies have their roots in the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel annexed east Jerusalem. Israel then declared that any residents wanting Israeli citizenship were entitled to it, provided they relinquished citizenship of another country. Most Palestinian residents did not request citizenship. That would have legitimized the annexation. Instead, they were granted Israeli identity cards giving them the right to reside in Jerusalem, the city of their birth. These regulations were amended in 1985 but not strictly applied until recently. They stated that whoever lived outside Israel for more than seven years would lose the right to residence in Jerusalem. Palestinians who left and settled abroad - and this included the occupied West Bank - or obtained another citizenship also lost the right to residence.
[Benchmark Role of Mubarak Awad’s (Israeli Supreme) Court Case]
“After 1967, many Palestinians were forced to work or study abroad,” said Mr Suood. “Many came back regularly to renew their residence permits.” The law was challenged by Mr Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian human rights activist and US citizen who in 1988 appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court against a decision to cancel his residence permit because he had exceeded the seven-year limit. He lost his appeal and had to leave Israel. As a result, Palestinian holders of foreign passports were told to choose between their foreign citizenship or their permanent residence status in Jerusalem. Israelis, meanwhile, retained the right to hold more than one citizenship and live as long as they liked abroad, including the West Bank, a policy B’Tselem says is discrimination. The law extends to family reunification. If Palestinian parents have Jerusalem residence but the child is born outside Israel, even in the West Bank, the parents have to apply to the Israeli interior ministry to have the child registered in Jerusalem. The parents often hit a Kafkaesque obstacle particularly following a batch of new regulations issued recently by Israel’s interior ministry whereby officials can revoke residence permits and refuse family reunification if the individual’s “Centre of Life” has moved “outside of Israel”.
The ministry says that people who have lived several years outside Jerusalem, even those who had returned to renew their permits, have moved their “Centre of Life” elsewhere. Their right to live in Jerusalem has “automatically expired”. This regulation now embraces Palestinians who lived outside the city for less than seven years even if they had not become a citizen or permanent resident of another country.
Mr Suood said ministry officials check “the Centre of Life” of east Jerusalem Palestinian residents, insisting on scrutinising leases of houses, payments of city taxes, place of education and national insurance payments which must go back several years. The ministry, for example, issues Israeli identity cards to spouses five years after approval for family reunification, making sure in the interim that the couple’s “Centre of Life” is in the city. Israel’s interior ministry insists it is not revoking residency status of east Jerusalemites. Instead, relying on the 1988 Supreme Court ruling, it says “when a person uproots the Centre of his life from Israel and establishes it elsewhere, in reality the Centre of his life is no longer in Israel”. The ministry claims the controversy over residency has become an issue now, “because many people who left Israel years ago are coming back since the peace agreements have been signed”. Human rights groups refuse to accept that interpretation. “What is taking place is a quiet deportation. It is a direct continuation of Israel’s overall policy in east Jerusalem since 1967 whose goal is to preserve a permanent majority of Jews in the city so that Israel’s sovereignty in east Jerusalem cannot be challenged,” said Ms Stein.
Baltimore Sun (Baltimore) 23 March 1997, F 1.
Rand Engel, “To be Born in Jerusalem; Lately, Palestinians Find their Right to Return Revoked,”
On Jan. 3, a 21-year-old college student went to the Israel Ministry of the Interior office in East Jerusalem to get a new exit and re-entry permit. An Interior clerk told the student that he had been deleted from computer records because he had been out of the country for more than six years. The clerk confiscated the student’s blue Israeli ID card, which identified him as a “permanent resident” of Jerusalem, and told him he had lost his right to live in the city. He was no longer welcome in Israel. The student protested, saying he met legal requirements because he had returned to Israel four times while studying outside the country, and he was born in Jerusalem and his whole family lived in the city.
But the student had become a stateless person in the eyes of the law. If picked up by Israeli police, he could be fined and jailed. Lacking any passport, he could not return to the United States where he needed only one semester to complete his bachelor’s degree. The student, a Palestinian, was born in Jerusalem in 1975. Jerusalem Palestinians are “permanent residents” of Israel but not citizens, unless they apply for and are granted citizenship. By contrast, I was born in Omaha, Neb., of Jewish ancestry and could move to Israel and immediately become a citizen by exercising the “Right of Return.” This right, enshrined in the 1950 Law of Return, allows almost any Jew to settle in Israel, the land of refuge for the Jewish people. Until recently, Jerusalem Palestinians could live outside of Israel but maintain their residency if they renewed their exit permits and returned to Jerusalem within specified time limits.
As the student and hundreds of others have been discovering, with no formal warning, the rules have changed. ID cards are now routinely canceled or, according to the Israeli Interior of Ministry, expire, not only for Jerusalemites who have been out of the country, but even for those living in nearby suburbs in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Some Jerusalem women, whose husbands carry West Bank IDs or passports from other countries, are also losing their residency rights. According to the Interior Ministry, if the husband is living elsewhere, the wife must be living with him; therefore their “center of life” has moved from Jerusalem and they no longer belong in the city. Interior spokeswoman Tova Ellinson says the government’s policy has not changed: “Few came back before, and now many are coming. If the government is confiscating more ID cards, it only appears to be a policy change.”
Human rights advocates charge that the ID confiscations are part of an accelerating effort, waged on many fronts, to drive Palestinians out of Jerusalem before the Final Status talks called for in the Oslo Peace Accords. Tens of thousands of people, activists believe, are at risk. Israelis, with justifiable pride, have built a prosperous nation on a sliver of land surrounded by hostile states; they live with the ever-present memory of the Holocaust and the more recent traumas of wars, terrorist bombings and the 39 Iraqi Scud missiles that fell on their cities during the Persian Gulf war. Nevertheless, international law and human rights conventions strongly proscribe discrimination against occupied peoples.
The Fourth Geneva Convention specifies: They must not be expelled from their land of birth; their land cannot be settled by citizens of the occupying power; they must not be collectively punished; violation of human rights is not justified by the occupying power’s security concerns. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child declares the rights of children to be united with their parents. The Hague Conventions prohibit confiscation of private lands by an occupying power. Israel, as a signatory, is obligated to uphold these human rights covenants. In the Oslo Accords, Israel and the Palestinians agreed not to alter the status of Jerusalem; however, Palestinians say, Israel is reinforcing its hold on the city. This is exemplified by a recent decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorizing construction of 6,000 housing units for Jewish settlers at Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghuneim) in East Jerusalem.
The new housing would isolate Palestinian neighborhoods and is part of a broad strategic campaign to maintain undivided Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Since 1967, Israel has provided subsidized housing to almost 70,000 Jewish families in formerly Arab East Jerusalem, while providing subsidized housing for only 555 Palestinian families. Besides revoking the residency rights of Israelis born in Jerusalem, the campaign includes restricting Palestinian building rights and collecting high taxes while providing meager municipal services. The military closure of the West Bank has a negative impact on health care and the economy there and separates nonresident families from relatives there.
Meanwhile, Israel claims that the Palestinians are attempting to alter the status of Jerusalem and has ordered them to close four agencies in the Arab section of the city, saying those agencies represent the Palestinian Authority, in violation of the Oslo Accords. The student, whose ID was confiscated in January, is a senior at a Massachusetts college. He served as an intern with a human rights organization and worked on his senior thesis, a study of the long-term effects of physical abuse on Palestinians who were detained in Israeli prisons during the Palestinian uprising, the “Intifada.” In 1989, as a high school student during the Intifada’s most violent period, he organized a weekly dialogue bringing together Jewish and Palestinian teen-agers. His leadership brought him to the attention of Israeli peace activists, who helped send him to the United States for his last year of high school.
In the United States, the student chose to live with a Jewish family and occasionally attended synagogue services with them, as he wanted to understand Jewish people and life in ways that were difficult in Israel because of the gulf separating the communities. He is one of tens of thousands of Palestinians who have gone abroad for education and work, most planning to return to their homes with degrees or financial security. In the first two weeks of January, Orient House, a Jerusalem Palestinian organization, reported that 233 ID card confiscations had been referred to their office alone. No one knows the total number of cards taken; the Interior Ministry has not previously released figures. The Interior spokesman says that some 600 permanent residencies had been revoked in 1995 and 1996.
A freedom of information suit before Israel’s High Court seeks to force the ministry to release complete information. In 1988, the Israeli High Court upheld denial of residency to Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian who also held U.S. citizenship. The court held that his “center of life” had moved to the United States. Until recently, the decision was rarely applied. Though Interior says nothing has changed, “center of life” has emerged in the past few months as a centerpiece of Interior Ministry action. People may be expelled when Interior clerks say their “center of life” has moved. A clerk’s swift decision will result in an expulsion order and a costly, difficult, and usually fruitless legal struggle. Family-reunification cases are another tense issue.
Typically, a family member, living in Jerusalem, appeals for permission for the spouse or children to join him. Often, Jerusalem Palestinians wait two to three years for usually negative responses to their applications. The Interior Ministry, admitting a bottleneck, is now reviewing applications from the end of 1994. More than 7,000 families are waiting for a judgment. Until 1996, the ministry granted temporary visas allowing families to live together pending a reunification decision. These visas have been discontinued. As Israeli military authorities grant few visit permits to Jerusalem, family members living even in neighboring villages cannot legally see their husbands, wives or children.
On the other hand, Jerusalem residents fear losing their residency if they frequently visit outside the city. When Attorney Lea Tsemel asked Interior officials how government policy squared with the sanctity of family life, they replied, “No one is preventing your client from preserving sanctity of family life elsewhere.” A family reunification application may end in a canceled ID. Dr. Yihye Kimary returned to Jerusalem in December 1996, having earned his master’s and Ph.D in international law from 1984-1996 in Baku, Azerbaijan. During his years of study, he returned frequently to Jerusalem, always receiving all necessary Israeli permits. His Ukrainian-born wife and two children were granted 30-day visas by the Israeli consulate in Ukraine, and they joined him in Israel. When Kimary applied for family reunification, he was told he must renew his ID. He submitted his ID with paperwork proving his continuous education abroad, his travel records, his homeownership in Jerusalem and tax records. Given a receipt for his ID, he was told to return a few weeks later. On Jan. 14, his second return to the office, an Interior clerk wrote “confiscated” and “Must leave the country by February 14” on his receipt. He was told he could not speak with the office manager.
Meanwhile, the Interior spokesman says that students receive special consideration, even if they are out of the country longer than specified in the rules. Attorney Tesmel, who has more than 100 ID and family-reunification cases pending, says the High Court has been giving bad interpretations to bad laws. “They are treating Palestinians like any other foreigner who wants to settle here and take wealth from the country. They were here. We’re talking about people who were uprooted.” These cases are not unusual. Noha Hilwani applied for permission for her husband, born in Jerusalem but working in Saudi Arabia for many years, to join her in Jerusalem; her residency was revoked and she was ordered to leave Israel. Sami and Sausan Awis, both born in Jerusalem, were living in Jordan with their three small children, two of whom were Jerusalem-born and registered. They returned frequently to Jerusalem in accordance with regulations. On June 13, 1996, they returned to live in Jerusalem permanently.
At the Jordan border, crossing guards told Sami to go to the Interior Ministry to register his youngest son, who was born in Amman. At the ministry, Sami’s ID was taken and he was given a note addressed to the border police reading: “The above mentioned stopped to be residents, please facilitate their departure.” There was no discussion or hearing. Complaints from Palestinian-Americans of being told by Israeli authorities to give up either their residency or their U.S. citizenship resulted in a U.S. protest and an embassy advertisement in local papers advising Americans to report such incidents to the East Jerusalem U.S. Consulate.
U.S. Consul Kathleen Riley says it has more than 40 affidavits from U.S. citizens alleging they were instructed to surrender their U.S. citizenship to be able to remain in Jerusalem. Interior denies that Israel has given any such instructions, suggesting that people attempting to put pressure on Israel are involved. Riley says, “It is like you tell your neighbor to stop beating his dog and he simply claims that he doesn’t have a dog at all.” The embassy has expressed concern that one ethnic group is treated differently from another - including more than 30,000 Palestinians with U.S. citizenship who live in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The United States, Riley says, is also very concerned that U.S. citizens with West Bank residency IDs cannot even go to Jerusalem because of the military closure.
As they cannot reach the consulate, these U.S. citizens are denied access to their government’s services. It may become more difficult for people to appeal Interior decisions. In January, High Court Justice Tova Strasberg-Cohen, in the case of Safadi vs. the Minister of the Interior, ordered Safadi to post a guarantee of 20,000 sheckels (about $ 6,250) as a condition for staying deportation during an appeal. If Safadi loses the appeal and fails to leave the country as ordered, the guarantee would be forfeited. Safadi’s attorney, Usarna Halabi, who was trained at American University in Washington, D.C., described it as “very strange, very awful; it has nothing to do with justice.” There is no precedent for this in Israel or anywhere else, he said. Halabi fears this will make it impossible for poor people to appeal their expulsions.
If a poor person does not post a guarantee, said Halabi, that can become an additional justification for deportation. The Palestinian student, who fears repercussions if his name is used, was fortunate. A cousin knew someone who had “connections.” Favors were exchanged and he got a new ID card. He will graduate in May and return to Jerusalem. Hundreds of others face lengthy and expensive appeals with uncertain results or loss of the right to return to their place of birth. Human rights activists believe that only international attention will protect thousands of Palestinians who face loss of their right to live in Jerusalem. Faisal Huseini, the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem affairs minister, warns that Israel is crossing a dangerous line. “You demolish our houses, we say, ‘OK, we will live in a tent;’ you take most of our land, we say ‘OK, we will live on less land’; but when you tell us we cannot live here, that is too much.” In the battle for Jerusalem, thousands of families and the peace process are imperiled.
Rand Engel is a free-lance writer who works with Karuna Center, a Leverett, Massachussetts nonviolence training organization.
Khaled Abu Aker, “Palestinians Slam Draft Constitution,” 20 June 1996.
In what could be a litmus test for the character of a future state, Palestinians criticized Thursday their legislative council’s proposed constitution for either being either too Islamic or not Islamic enough. The proposed constitution will determine the color of Palestinian government during the interim period of peace negotiations with Israel before a final peace treaty is signed, slated to take place in 1999. The governing Palestinian Authority, headed by Yasser Arafat, published a first draft of the constitution in five daily newspapers earlier this week. The document, which consists of seven chapters with 133 articles, specifies the Palestinian government will be based on a ‘‘democratic parliamentary system’’ and will ‘‘uphold civil liberties and freedom of expression.’’ However, Article 4 designates Islam as the ‘‘official religion of Palestine,’’ and while Islamic leaders said the paper didn’t go far enough, minority leaders said religion had no place in the document. Islamic scholars formed a committee to discuss a response to the new constitution. Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, charged that its recognition of the role of Islam in Palestinian life did not go far enough.
‘‘We demand that Islamic religion should be the source of government and legislation,’’ he told United Press International, adding he would bring his case before the council. Sheikh Hamid Bittawi, head of the Palestine Scholar’s League, which has ties with the radical Islamic group Hamas, openly attacked the constitution in a sermon last week. Bittawi said the great majority of Palestinians are Muslim and the constitution must therefore be ‘‘in accordance with the beliefs and ethics of the (Muslim) nation.’’ Protesting what he called the constitution’s ‘‘secular color,’’ he warned that ‘‘if it is not amended, than we as clergymen and Muslim scholars will not be committed to it.’’ Christian Palestinians, who comprise less than 10 percent of the population, also objected to the clause, but for opposite reasons.
‘‘All our struggle in Palestine was to oppose a Jewish state as a religious state for Jews,’’ said Mubarak Awad, President of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Center for Study of Non-Violence. ‘‘It will be very unfortunate to think that our new Palestinian state would have a religious flavor rather than a secular one. To base a Palestinian state on one religion is a disaster and is hypocritical,’’ Awad said, adding that it would be unfair for a constitution based on Islam to be imposed on religious minorities. Bethlehem Mayor Elias Freij, who is also Palestinian Tourism Minister, agreed the document should be a ‘‘modern one similar to democratic constitutions in the world.’’ ‘‘We should not mix religion with politics,’’ Freij said. (This) will be a very dangerous gift in the hands of Israel to harm our aspirations for peace.’’ Abu Ala, chairman of the elected Palestinian Council, said it will receive feedback from the public for two weeks and will seriously consider all criticisms. A drafting committee from the Legislative Council and Ministry of Justice will incorporate any changes before the constitution is presented for a vote, he said. Although a majority of the council must approve the constitution for it to take effect, Ala said he believed the law will be approved before the council’s first session ends in July.
Elaine Ruth Fletcher, “Palestinian Outcasts No Longer,” Plain Dealer, 21 January 21, 1996, F 1.
Al Khader, West Bank
When Hussein Ibrahim Issa dreams, he sees a swimming pool between the olive terraces on the hillside below his elementary school. He imagines Muslim, Christian and Jewish children learning together in a harmony of Arabic and Hebrew. And folk dancing is a required subject. Dancing, says Issa, makes children peaceful and joyful. Dance, in its own peculiar way, can help bring peace between Arabs and Jews. Issa, founder of the Al Amal Hope Flowers School in Al Khader, a village near Bethlehem, is among a handful of Palestinian pacifists who braved the turmoil of the Israeli occupation and the West Bank Palestinian uprising to preach nonviolence and co-existence between Arabs and Jews.
Once regarded as virtual traitors, these grass-roots peace activists are increasingly being recognized as role models now as Israel withdraws from portions of the West Bank and Palestinians look for new ways to relate to their Jewish neighbors. “It’s wonderful to see that people who were outcasts and marginalized by their society are now being hailed as pioneers and peacemaking heroes by the Palestinians themselves,” says American filmmaker Lynn Feinerman, who recently completed a documentary titled “If You Make It Possible” on Israeli and Palestinian grass-roots peace activists. While large portions of Israeli and Palestinian society still remain caught up in the retaliatory cycle of violence and revenge, Palestinian peace activists are seeking to stress the peace messages within Islam. They call it the “Salaam tradition.” Much of their focus is on education for women and children. In the town of Nablus, a children’s after-school center called House of Hope recently opened. It seeks to inject concepts of peace and democracy into games and educational activities.
Women Link, another peace group, makes connections between Israeli and Palestinian women. In East Jerusalem, Nafez Assaily, a longtime pacifist, operates a library for Palestinian children that travels to remote village schools to provide literature on peace and democracy. He also sponsors seminars for women and youths using trust-building and conflict resolution techniques to teach family rights in Islamic law and peaceful family living. “When people hear about our ideas as a theory they might not agree, but they like to participate in our activities - and in that way we spread our message,” says Assaily, a devout Muslim. As a youth, Assaily says he supported violent struggle against Israel - until he read about plans for the film “Gandhi” in 1979 while preparing a term paper at the West Bank’s An Najah University. He read more and decided that Gandhi’s ideas could be applied to Palestinian society - and that violence was neither moral nor practical. “I strongly believe that in every individual there is a part of God in him.
Whenever you think of hurting an individual it means you will hurt the Allah in him,” says Assaily. For many years, Assaily directed the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence, founded by the Palestinian-American peace educator Mubarak Awad. Awad gained brief international fame as the Palestinians’ first advocate of passive civil disobedience prior to being deported by Israel in the late 1980s. In his writings, Assaily has sought to explain the original meaning of “jihad” - commonly translated as “holy war” but which means “effort” in simple Arabic. In Koranic tradition, asserts Assaily, “jihad” can be the “effort” undertaken by a Muslim to provide for the needs of his family, or peaceful attempts, on the moral plane, “to resist the evil in ourselves, to make an effort so that the good side wins over the bad side.” Koranic phrases and traditions that speak about wisdom, peace and cooperation both among Muslims, and among Muslims, Christians and Jews, shift the focus of religion away from power plays and violent struggle, says Assaily.
He has made children’s tapes on plants and animals featured in the Koran. When children learn about caring for animals, plants and their natural environment, they develop a more caring approach to other people as well, he believes. “For me, nonviolence is a strategy not only on a political level but in the streets, in the schools and in society,” observes Assaily. Issa, similarly, has taken a holistic approach to peacemaking using theater, dance and visual arts to teach children about self-expression in nonviolent ways. “Handicrafts remove the frustrations from a child. If kids are busy making flowers they don’t have time to engage in violent behavior. Occupational therapists use such crafts for neurotic patients, we use them for peace,” says Issa, displaying pottery and beadwork featuring peace slogans in English and Arabic. Likewise, Issa has organized seminars for parents on early childhood development, Hebrew classes, school trips to Israeli communities and folk dance classes to release pent-up energies. Issa, the child of a refugee family who lost his father in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, experienced plenty of hard knocks growing up in the poverty-stricken Dehaishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem in the 1950s. “I faced all kinds of frustrations, starvation and humiliation,” says Issa, 48. Before Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank, he dabbled in a variety of pan-Arab political parties that preached the destruction of Israel.
He even claims to have visited Iraq secretly and to have met the youthful Saddam Hussein. Israel’s 1967 West Bank occupation, ironically, proved to be an eye-opener. “I had imagined that the Jews have long hair and tails and are fearful people,” he says. “But what I saw was normal people.” Still, he says, he felt no warmth toward Jews personally until he met a religious Israeli peace activist, Yehezkel Landau, in the early 1980s. After a heated argument with him, he invited Landau home - an invitation that launched a lasting friendship. In 1984 Issa opened a kindergarten for 22 children in his Bethlehem-area home that placed a special emphasis on peace education. “When I looked at other societies, [including] Israeli society I found peace movements, so why not in Palestinian society?” He says he disagreed with some of Mubarak Awad’s civil disobedience tactics because he feared they might lead to violent confrontations - preferring to focus on more constructive activities such as education and Arab-Israeli dialogue. But he paid a heavy price for his ideas.
After Issa organized a 1988 meeting between Palestinian and Israeli children to draw peace pictures, his house was firebombed. The school bus was burned in 1991. Death threats were issued against him, and his wife and children were continuously harassed. Today, his privately funded kindergarten has blossomed into an elementary school of 200 Palestinian children housed in a modern building constructed by donations from abroad - both Jewish and Arab. An eternal optimist, Issa has launched construction of a second floor of laboratories, a library and a teacher’s institute. “For years, people like Hussein [Issa] exposed themselves daily to social ostracism and real physical danger,” observes Feinerman, the filmmaker. “And yet they continued their work, they were enormously versatile and intrepid, physically and emotionally.” Now, however, times may be changing. Issa recalls that he recently brought his photo to the Education Ministry offices of the new Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank in order to renew the license of the privately funded Amal school. “I told my superior that I know my photo is not very beautiful,” recalls Issa. “He said it is very beautiful. And to my great embarrassment, he kissed it.”
Elaine Ruth Fletcher; Photo 1: Students at the Al Amal Hope Flowers School Display Some Samples Of Their Artwork Featuring Themes of Peace and Democracy. Photo 2: Hussein Ibrahim Issa Is A Palestinian Pacifist and Educator. Behind Him His is School, Which is Having a Second Floor Added.
8th Class 8 March Take Home Mid-Term Chile–Argentina–Latino Issues
“Garaikoetxea Pide … Que No Cedan A La ‘Tentacion’ De Impedir La Paz,” El Pais, 5 April 1999, 14.
El presidente de Eusko Alkartasuna (EA), Carlos Garaikoetxea, reclamo, durante la celebracion del Aberri Eguna en Gernika, tanto a ETA como al Gobierno de Jose Maria Aznar, “coraje” para lograr la paz en Euskadi mediante la negociacion sin exclusiones ni limites en su contenido y basada en el respeto a la voluntad del pueblo vasco, las premisas del Acuerdo de Lizarra. Garaikoetxea pidio en Gernika que “nadie frustre la esperanza” que tiene el pueblo vasco y demando a la organizacion terrorista que “la tregua sea definitiva y que tenga el coraje de confiar en la voluntad de este pueblo”. Al Gobierno y a los partidos constitucionalistas les pidio que “tengan el mismo coraje para negociar un proceso de paz sin malgastar esta oportunidad historica y no caigan en la tentacion, que a veces percibimos, de querer reventarlo acudiendo al recurso de la fuerza que tantas veces ha fracasado en el pasado”.
Ante unas 4.000 personas, el lider de EA critico tambien la practica de la violencia callejera y pidio a sus autores que “dejen de hacer el juego a Mayor Oreja y compania” y de dar un “argumento permanente” para que la “ofensiva” que, segun afirmo, existe contra los partidos nacionalistas desde Madrid “pueda resultar mas justificada”. Garaikoetxea destaco el papel en el proceso de paz de los firmantes del Acuerdo de Lizarra, un pacto que significa “un nuevo momento politico, en el que vamos a sustituir la dialectica violencia-no violencia, por la de respeto a la voluntad de un pueblo-no respeto a la voluntad de un pueblo”. Para EA, Lizarra es sinonimo de democracia y no es excluyente. “Tenemos que hacer un proyecto de pais, en el que quepamos todos”, dijo.
9th Class 22 March Civil Rights/USA–SE-Asia War
Edward Epstein, “King’s Legacy,” San Francisco Chronicle, 15 January 1990, A15
As the nation marks Martin Luther King Jr.’s 61st birthday, consider this: Perhaps a major triumph of his idea of nonviolence came last year in Central and Eastern Europe. In five countries, the old order crumbled with hardly any violence. In many of these nations, King and the man who inspired him, Mohandas K. Gandhi, were repeatedly cited as inspirations for the mass movements that helped dump Stalin-imposed communism. In Prague, Leipzig and Sofia, people took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, exhorted by their leaders not to tangle with police and to allow themselves to be arrested if authorities tried to break up their protests. Against this passive demonstration of will, police power was useless. On the one occasion when such power was used, when police beat students in Prague on a November night, it became counterproductive. It was a replay of the images of May 1963 in Birmingham, Ala., when police Commissioner Eugene (Bull) Connor used police dogs and high-pressure hoses against civil rights protesters. Pro-democracy campaigners in China remain convinced that Beijing’s use of guns and mass arrests will come back to haunt the government. The Chinese dissidents remain committed to nonviolence as their only weapon.
“Asian News; Malaysian Court Jails Foreign Conservationists,” Japan Economic Newswire, 11 August 1991.
A Malaysian magistrate jailed two foreign conservationists for 80 days each, after telling them to be active in their own countries instead of protesting against forest destruction in Malaysia, local newspapers reported Sunday from Sarawak in Borneo Island. The two foreign women, Swede Anja Katarina Gabriele Licht, 24, and Briton Angela Christina Zelter, 40, were each also fined 500 Ringgit (181 U.S. Dollars), Saturday, for trespassing when they blockaded the Kuala Baram Timber dockyard, near Miri in Northern Sarawak on July 5, in protest against logging in Sarawak. Six other foreign conservationists pleaded guilty earlier and are serving 50 to 70 days’ jail each.
Before passing sentence, Miri Magistrate Mohamed Che Kadir said Licht and Zelter should have remained in their own countries which, being developed and industrialized, were also responsible for environmental deterioration. Sarawak is one of the world’s largest exporters of tropical timber, mainly to Japan. The World Bank warned Malaysia in February that the rate of logging in Sarawak was not sustainable. International environmentalists have also criticized Malaysia for the Plight of the Penans, an ancient tribe of shy primitive forest dwellers, W\whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by logging. The Penans, with help from other natives, have sporadically staged blockades of logging roads in their local territory since 1987, and have been frequently jailed. The eight conservationists entered Malaysia as tourists and chained themselves to timber loading barges at Kuala Baram, effectively bringing the dockyard, a major timber outlet, to a standstill for about nine hours, July 5.
10th Class 29 March Faslane–Pacific–NativeAmerican
“Women Stress Need For Nonviolence In Antinuclear Protests,” Japan Economic Newswire, 2 August 1989.
Women gathered in Tokyo for an International Antinuclear Conference Wednesday agreed that nonviolence should be an essential feature of Japan’s primarily women-led movement against atomic energy at the grass roots level. Speakers from Britain and West Germany voiced support for Japanese antinuclear activists at a special meet on feminism and pacifism held as part of annual antinuclear events by the socialist-backed Japan congress against atomic and hydrogen bombs (GENSUIKIN). The conference will shift later to Hiroshima, then Nagasaki to mark the anniversaries of the atomic bombings there 44 years ago this month. “In women’s movements in general,” said one participant, a producer of a women’s newsletter, “Non-violence is a central characteristic.” Briton Sarah Hipperson, representing a non-violent women’s peace group, and Benita Schultz from West Germany’s Green Party both said all women must respect such peaceful tactics. Japan’s antinuclear power movement consists chiefly of groups of women working at the local level.
One protestor from Wakayama, Western Japan, said she was “just a housewife until the Chernobyl nuclear accident...it was the tension we women felt that motivated us.” men, she said, became “a silent majority of sorts, they were too timid to speak their opinions.” sit-ins and other peaceful demonstrations became the mainstay of the Wakayama Protest, she said. Her participation, she added, made her realize “the power of women’s non-violence” in protests. Prefectural authorities eventually abandoned plans for an atomic energy plant in the region. Words of support from a male-speaker, coming last in line owing to the “ladies first” protocol of the conference, noted that the non-violent aspect of female demonstrations was impressive. After 40 years as a member of a male-dominated peace movement in Japan, he said, he welcomed the lead from women in the “grassroots” anti-nuclear protest.
Shirley English, “Saboteurs Cleared as ‘Trident is Illegal’,” Times (London), 22 October 1999.
Three women accused of causing Pounds 80,000 of damage at a Trident submarine base were freed yesterday after a Sheriff ruled that Britain’s nuclear programme was illegal under international law and the campaigners’ action was “justified”. A jury at Greenock Sheriff Court was instructed to acquit the women of maliciously damaging equipment at the Faslane Naval Base, near Lochgoilhead, Argyll, after Sheriff Margaret Gimblett ruled that they had not acted with criminal intent.
There were cheers and applause from the supporters of Angela Zelter, 48, from Dollar, Clackmannanshire, Ellen Moxley, 63, from Norfolk, and Bodil Ulla Roder, 42, from Odense, Denmark, who have been in custody since June. Crown Counsel will now consider whether to challenge the ruling on a point of law in the High Court. The acquittal itself cannot be appealed against. Sheriff Gimblett, 60, said that she had concluded that the three were “justified” in thinking that Britain’s use of Trident could be construed “by others as a threat and as such is an infringement of international and customary law.” She was referring to a complex ruling by the International Court of Justice in 1996 which gave a non-binding “advisory opinion” that nuclear weapons were illegal. Sheriff Gimblett said: “The three took the view that if it was illegal, and given the horrendous nature of nuclear weapons, they had an obligation in terms of international law to do whatever they could to stop the deployment and use of nuclear weapons.” She said she had heard nothing to convince her that the women had acted with criminal intent. The women, all members of the anti-nuclear campaign group Trident Ploughshares 2000, set up just over a year ago, were arrested at the base on June 8 and remanded to Cornton Vale Women’s Prison.
During the 17-day trial they described how they used a leaky inflatable boat to get to a floating laboratory barge called Maytime that was part of the Trident installation at Faslane. Equipped with a hammer and a screwdriver, they opened a window, climbed aboard and began throwing Pounds 80,000 worth of computers and research equipment into the waters of Loch Goil before settling down to a picnic of sandwiches and grapes as the sun set. Ellen Moxley, 63, a zoologist, said that they expected to be intercepted by military police within minutes. “We knew the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency facility was just 500 yards away. We gave ourselve ten minutes and got 3 1/2 hours.” Ms Moxley, a Quaker and member of Stirling CND, who has been active in the movement since the 1950s and worked in orphanages in Vietnam, said that as she disposed of the equipment “it felt like getting rid of an incinerator from Auschwitz”. It was not the first time in court for Ms Zelter, 48, a mother of two from Norfolk who helped to found Trident Ploughshares. She was one of four women acquitted two years ago by Liverpool Crown Court for damaging a British Aerospace Hawk jet.
The women began planning the “disarmament” action after learning from an MoD Internet site that the barge carried research equipment to make Tridents invisible. Sheriff Gimblett, a solicitor and mother of two, became a full-time sheriff four years ago. She told the women that her decision was not a licence to commit criminal acts with impunity: “The courts do not allow crimes to be committed to prevent other crimes except in very special circumstances. “There were such circumstances in this particular case and the same circumstances may not apply to anyone who carries out actions similar to those carried out at May time in June. You do so at your peril. Be very careful.”
“The Hammer that Cracked a Nuclear Lab; Freed Anti-Trident Campaigner Angie Zelter Explains Why, Though Her Own Battle May Be Over, The War Must Go On,” Guardian (London), 25 October 1999, 6.
I am sitting in a garden on a pretty Scottish hillside. The open sky is above me, grass and trees all around. It’s beautiful. Just a few days ago, I was in Cornton Vale Prison in Stirling, with fellow Trident Ploughshares 2000 women Ellen Moxley and Ulla Roder. We had no idea whether we were going to be there for days, months or even years. We were remanded on June 8, charged with causing pounds 80,000 £ damage to Maytime, the Scottish floating laboratory complex in Loch Goil — a vital link to the Trident nuclear submarine system. We had tipped computers and monitors into the loch, destroyed electrical equipment with a hammer and disabled a winch with glue. The whole operation had been very calm and cautious, though once we got on board the adrenaline started to flow because we didn’t know how long we had. We thought we might have 10 minutes but in the end it was over three hours before we were caught.
At the trial, we admitted causing damage. But last Thursday, sheriff Margaret Gimblett ruled in favour of our argument that we had been acting to prevent a crime under international law and that on June 8, when we were at war with Serbia and Iraq, the active deployment of 100 kiloton nuclear warheads on Trident submarines was a criminal threat of mass destruction. I was utterly elated when I heard the decision. No more clanging prison doors, no more waiting two or three hours after you’ve asked to go to the toilet before a guard will take you. Prison is such a waste of potential. I felt like a caged tiger. This judgment has enormous implications for the future. Now there is an incredible opportunity to have a fully informed and rational debate about nuclear weapons, and enough information around about how close we are to catastrophe.
All activists like us can do is bring the issues into the light. It is for governments to complete our actions. At our trial, we were charged with criminal mischief and theft, but you can view our actions as crimes only if you look at the whole thing very superficially. If you break down the door of a burning house to save the baby inside, that’s not criminal damage to the door but an act of necessity to save the baby’s life. I did not disarm the laboratory on a whim or in anger — I had tried everything else and there was no other reasonable legal alternative. We spent five months planning the action, making sure what we were doing was safe, accountable and non-violent. We also had to ensure our personal affairs were in order in case we ended up spending years in jail. I’ve been involved in campaigning since the early 70s when I read the first issue of The Ecologist, which highlighted global problems such as nuclear weapons, destruction of the ozone layer, and massive species loss. I was part of a delegation that went to see Robin Cook before the Labour victory in 1997. He promised he would do things and said next time he saw us he would be in a bigger office. Well, he’s got a bigger office but he’s done nothing. All the time, this government shames me.
We don’t have to earn our living by selling arms. I thought when Britain gave up on colonialism, it would behave in a more morally responsible way, but it still treats the majority of people in the world with disrespect. It’s very important to have a dream, a vision for human beings to reach their full capabilities, to love and be loved. I’m always full of hope that we will achieve this and that is why I’ve ended up on trial so often — I was involved in the Snowball campaign, snipping wires at nuclear bases, and my action helped raise awareness of the Hawk jets bound for Indonesia. But I am not getting involved in any more direct action at the moment — It’s time to support other Trident Ploughshares activists. Men as well as women are involved and we have pledged to disable Britain’s nuclear deterrent, to prevent it ever being used for the murder of innocent civilians. If the world is to survive, we have to get rid of nuclear weapons sooner or later. I hope it will be sooner.
Paul de Schipper, “Krista van Velzen in Hongerstaking in Schotland,” Brabants Dagblad, 26 September 1998.
Krista ziet ze het eerst. Drie kleine poppetjes op de kade. Bewakers? Ze zwemmen verder. Drie donkere schimmen in de Schotse baai. Nog maar zevenhonderd meter. Daar ligt de Trident, die duivelse atoomduikboot. Die poppetjes? Ze hopen dat het geen bewakers zijn, maar bergen afval. Plotseling gloeien er drie lichtpuntjes, sigaretten, toch mensen! De nacht van 17 op 18 augustus. Om kwart over elf zijn ze in het water van Faslane Bay gestapt. Rick de Amerikaan (47), Katri (18) de Finse en Krista van Velzen (23) uit Prinsenbeek. Activisten van de ‘Ploegscharenbeweging’, een in 1980 opgerichte organisatie van radicale christenen die zich bezighouden met geweldloze anti-militaristische acties. Krista schuwt in Schotland cel noch honger om haar idealen te verwezenlijken. Zoals de Brabantse priester Kees Koning ooit straaljagers stukmokerde op vliegveld Gilze-Rijen en Woensdrecht, zo wil ze de Britse atoom-onderzeeers ‘uitdeuken’. ‘Het de-escaleren van de nucleaire dreiging’ heet dat in de taal van de vredes-activisten. En dat in een James Bond-achtig decor, een donkere baai aan de Schotse westkust. Ze zijn goed voorbereid.
Ze verkenden de marinebasis en brachten uren door op een plek waar ze het wapendepot konden zien, waar de Trident-raketten worden geladen. Ze hebben besloten door het water te gaan, over de baai zwemmen. Thriller Rick schreef het verslag van de eerste vredes-aanval op de Britse atoomduikboot en smokkelde dat uit de gevangenis. Het heeft veel weg van een thriller. Op een nacht, begin augustus doen ze een oefenpoging. Ze zwemmen in de baai rond, blijven, in rubberpakken, drie kwartier in het water en bestuderen van een afstand de opslagloodsen en de kranen van de marinebasis. De kerngroep van activisten, die in de buurt een vredeskamp heeft, besluit dat drie van hen dwars over de baai zullen zwemmen. Dat is de langste afstand en naar verwachting de meest verrassende aanpak. Twee vrouwen en een man zeggen bereid te zijn gevangenisstraf voor langere tijd te riskeren. Een van hen is Krista uit Prinsenbeek, full time vredesactiviste. Afgelopen zaterdag reikte ze naar een ultiem middel. Ze begon een hongerstaking in de gevangenis waar ze in voorarrest zit. Terug naar die avond in augustus. Even rillen ze. Koud welt het water omhoog in de porien van hun pakken. Ze trekken hun gewichtsgordels vast, controleren hun zwemvliezen, hun noodsignalen, de hamers, de blikken met zwarte teer.
“Kijk, een groen licht”, wijst Krista als ze het midden van de baai bereiken. Ze zien ook een rood licht. Een boot! “Ze moeten ons gezien hebben,” zegt Krista. Rick denkt dat het alleen maar een wallicht is voor de navigatie, maar de lichten bewegen. Het is een snelvarende patrouilleboot. Ze hebben er rekening mee gehouden, met onderkoeling en met de kans overvaren te worden. Vandaar die noodsignalen. Een zoeklicht cirkelt over het water. De drie zwemmers halen diep adem en duiken even onder. Het licht zwiept weg. Blokkade Voor hen ligt de eerste blokkade, een honderden meters lange drijvende slang. Ze glippen er onderdoor. Geen netten, geen draden. Voor hen ligt het hart van de Britse nucleaire afschrikking: de Trident-onderzeeer, geladen met 96 kernkoppen die elk acht keer zo sterk zijn als de bom die op Hiroshima viel.
Achter hen in de verte vervaagt een muur van Las Vegas-verlichting: het waterfront van het stadje Faslane. Nog een paar meter naar de atoom-onderzeeer. Krista en Katri zwemmen voorop. “Stop, stop!” Messcherp klinkt de vrouwenstem over het water. Iemand rent over de kade en grijpt in een kist. Plotseling verschijnt de vrouw daar hoog op de rand van de kade. Ze richt een wapen, duidelijk een machinepistool, op de zwemmers beneden, gilt orders naar opzij in het donker. Tegen de zwemmers beneden schreeuwt ze verwarrende bevelen: “Blijf daar, kom hier.” Overal gaan lichten aan. Uit luidsprekers barst een zware stem: “Bandieten op de basis, attentie, bandieten op de basis!” Krista en haar mede-activiste blijven stil in het water liggen. Rick, die met een wijde boog naar de onderzeeer is gezwommen, realiseert zich dat hij maar vijf slagen hoeft te doen om zijn doel te bereiken en om dan met de hamer ‘op de stalen huid van dat moordtuig’ te keer te kunnen gaan. Er komt een rubberboot aanscheuren. Mannen in uniform trekken Krista en Katri uit het water, Rick de Amerikaan herinnert zich net op tijd de regels van de Ploegscharenbeweging: bij ontdekking geen verzet, geen geweld! Hij klimt aan boord van de boot. Een Navy-duiker slaat hem vriendelijk op de schouder: “Goed gedaan jongen. Niemand kwam ooit zo dicht in de buurt van een Trident.”
Vrijgelaten Krista en haar mede-activisten worden kort daarop vrijgelaten. Nog drie keer doen ze daarna een poging de atoom-onderzeeer te beschadigen. Steeds worden ze opgepakt. Bij de vierde poging vindt de Britse justitie het welletjes. Het resultaat is dat Krista van Velzen nu in de gevangenis van het Schotse Faslane verblijft. Sinds zaterdag onder verzwaard regime. Dat heeft een reden. Op die dag ging in Schotland de nieuwe Trident-onderzeeer Vengeance (Wraak) te water. In haar cel protesteerde Krista inventief. Samen met Katri plakte ze met tandpasta kranten aaneen tot een spandoek dat ze uit haar celraam hing. De gevangenisdirectie ging over de rooie en liet de vrouwen geboeid afvoeren en isoleren. “Geen recreatie meer, geen telefoonkaarten om te bellen, geen contact”, zegt Martha Resink van de sympathiserende organisatie Omslag in Den Bosch. Haar ouders hadden woensdag het laatste contact met Krista. “Shit”, roept vader Jaap van Velzen als hij van de verslaggever hoort dat zijn dochter op zwaar regime is gezet. En, na even stilte: “Verdorie, dat is lullig.” “Krista is”, zegt hij, “verantwoordelijk voor haar daden. Ik kan me haar drijfveren voorstellen. Ze is een van de weinigen die nog begaan is met de aarde en met de verdere toekomst ervan.” Als kind liep Krista, met haar ouders, mee bij de vredesdemonstraties tegen kruisraketten. Kleine misdaad ‘Je kunt het beschouwen als een kleine misdaad plegen om een grote aan de kaak te stellen. Ik voel dat ik mijn geweten moet volgen, zeker als mijn ideeen ondersteund worden door een indrukwekkende lijst van internationale verdragen en wetten’, aldus Krista van Velzen in het oktober-nummer van ZOZ, het blad van de Nederlandse vredesactivisten.
De Engelse justitie beschuldigt Krista van vandalisme en het overtreden van het voor militaire bases geldende toegangsverbod. Naar verhouding een tamelijk lichte aanklacht. Martha Resink van Omslag: “Ze komen er vaak met lichte boetes van af. De Engelsen willen geen martelaren, geen politieke ophef en geen publiciteit. Vandaar dat de aanklacht niet veel verder gaat dan vandalisme. De Engelse justitie bood Krista eerder al een borgtocht aan. Martha Resink: “Dat heeft ze geweigerd omdat daar de voorwaarde aan verbonden was, dat ze geen actie meer mocht voeren. Het gevolg is dat ze nu al vijf weken in de cel zit.” Krista van Velzen moet dinsdag haar idealen verdedigen voor de Engelse rechter.