Saturday, January 17, 2009

International Solidarity Movement

The International Solidarity Movement is a non-violent action group focusing on Palestine. It was founded in 2001 by two Palestinians, an Israeli, a Palestinian-American, and another American.

ISM brings civilian volunteers from around the world to add strength to Palestinian non-violent resistance.

ISM statements have supported the right of Palestinians to violence against Israeli soldiers, but criticizes the Palestinian violence as less effective than non-violence. They point out that other revolutionary events, such as the freeing of India from the British, and the African-American civil rights movement, had both violent and non-violent components. The willingness of the ISM to justify Palestinian violence has led to criticism by other non-violent groups.

The ISM has taken more casualties than other groups using similar tactics. The American Rachel Corrie, an ISM volunteer, was deliberately run over by an Israeli tank in 2003. Three other ISM volunteers have been severely wounded by Israeli gunfire.

ISM volunteers deter military actions, witness checkpoint activity and advocate for Palestinian travelers there, escort doctors, violate curfew, attempt to block construction of the West Bank barrier and decorate it with political graffiti, enter closed military zones, and run the sea blockade of Gaza.

ISM has feuded with One Voice Peace Summit, which is says does not fully support Palestinian rights guaranteed by international law.

See the article in Wikipedia.

Peace Brigades International

Peace Brigades International also uses tactics of accompanying people at risk, positioning themselves in front of soldiers, and witnessing violence.

PBI volunteers come from United States, many European countries, Australia, Japan, and many other countries. They must be strongly committed to non-violence, and fluent in local languages.

PBI was founded in 1981 and has had projects in the Balkans, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Canada, and the USA. They have current projects in Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nepal, and Mexico.

See a good Wikipedia article.

Muslim Peacemakers Team in Iraq

A Muslim Peacemakers Team is active in Iraq.

According to the Director in Najaf, Sami A. Rasouli, “Salaam is not just a greeting. It is the goal.”

MPT cooperates with the Christian Peacemakers Team and the Kerbala Human Rights Organization, another Iraqi peace organization.

MPT activists physically interpose themselves between warring parties, and act as intermediators and negotiators.

Christian Peacemaker Teams

One organization that can serve as a model for an international satyagraha force is the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

CPT uses the tactic of sending international teams to help repressed peoples resist nonviolently. They accompany the people and act as witnesses and deterrents to acts of violence by the military or paramilitaries.

CPT has sent teams to Iraq, Haiti, Chiapas in Mexico, Colombia, and Palestine.

The main denominations supporting CPT are Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Friends. It also partners with other Christian peace groups, with Jewish and Moslem peace organizations, and with secular groups such as International Solidarity Movement and Peace Brigades International. Wikipedia has a good article on CPT.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Religion brigades

Here's an idea on how to recruit motivated Satyagrahi for the United Nations. Ask various religions to contribute brigades.

We could have a Quaker brigade, a Mennonite brigade, a special Catholic order of monks and nuns, Buddhist monks and nuns, a Hindu "Gandhi Brigade", a Moslem "Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Brigade", a Humanist brigade, a Unitarian Universalist brigade, etc.

Volunteers in these brigades would not only be motivated by devotion to non-violence and world peace, but to their faiths and their pride in their religions.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Professional Satyagraha?

If the world or some nation has a professional Satyagraha force, and the members are paid, will that change their level of dedication?

If people get paid to put their lives on the line, like soldiers, we may presume that some will do it for the money, at least in part. They may like the job fine, as long as it's not too dangerous. But true Satyagraha may involve putting your life on the line in a very dangerous situation.

Will people who do it as a job be able to do that? I know soldiers do it, but they can hide behind guns and body armor, and hope they kill the enemy before the enemy kills them.

This is an important question.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Why does India have armed forces?

Gandhi led India to independence using Satyagraha. Gandhi and his disciples showed the world how this is done.

Gandhi was assassinated just as India gained independence.

The new Indian government then proceeded to build a large armed forces, fight wars with Pakistan and China, and eventually acquire nuclear weapons.

Why is that? Why didn't the leaders who learned from Gandhi develop non-violent strategies for defending India?

Today the non-violent movement to free neighboring Burma/Myanmar from an oppressive military dictatorship is hampered by India continuing to trade with the Myanmar regime.

This is sad.