I've been busy focusing on fun and connection in Maui with a parade of friends and family. Now we are in our waning days, returning to Albuquerque on Tuesday.
I received this from a colleague today and publish it here to inspire you about what is possible to create in the equation, nonviolence + creativity = ?
Sending you all my best thoughts from Palestine. I wanted to let you all know that Gunnar and I just spent 2 weeks visiting our dear friend Nafez in Hebron. We had decided, after our NVC Special Session training in February, to come here this summer and document Library On Wheels for Nonviolence and Peace, an organization that Nafez founded in 1986.
It has been a wonderful and moving experience to be here, to visit with Nafez and his beautiful family, to learn about Hebron and its' two cities, to observe and film the work of the LOWNP, its' staff and volunteers, to follow the children's summer program and to partake in different campaigns the organization is promoting:
-a "Chess campaign" in refugee camps and villages to raise awareness about the violence used by families and clans in sorting out their differences and to teach people alternative strategies as in a chess game.
-an "Eat and Drink Locally" campaign to raise the awareness of how Palestinians are fueling the economy of their occupier when they buy Israeli products rather than supporting the Palestinian economy .
- a "Reading at the Checkpoints" campaign to support regular people who are trying to get to their destinations and are often being stopped, searched and humiliated at the checkpoints. Books on topics such as nonviolence, science, history, religion, etc are provided by the taxi companies (courtesy of LOWNP) to travelers to empower them to use this time for their benefit and general culture, to help them cope with their own feelings of anger and violence towards their occupiers (soldiers and settlers at checkpoints).
My understanding of LOWNP's strategies is to inspire people here living in extremely violent conditions at times to empower themselves and to take control of their lives in nonviolent ways (these campaigns are seeds sown), to train young adults to be nonviolent leaders in their communities and to inspire, educate and train children about nonviolence and peace and how to be active members of their family and school environments.
I am very moved and inspired by the children, their interest and committment to understanding and learning nonviolence, by their sense of integrity and their desire to communicate with us and I loved the way they let us enter into their daily worlds.
I am now spending 1 month in Bethlehem teaching students English and studying Arabic myself. My approach to teaching English has been to focus on what communication is and to also share some of what I have learned in my NVC trainings and readings. Great fun!
After this I will return to Switzerland with all the footage taken in Hebron and create a short film, in sh'allah, as they say here.