December 21, 2013

In Blog

Join the International Hunger Strike

FNVW Members Take Action Today!!


Keith Ellision,  Afra Jalabi, Mazan Halibi, Gail Daneker, Bob Nechal, Cathy Murphy, Medea Benjamin, Mohja Kahf and several other  local,national and international activists

  Stop Starvation in Syria/End the Blockades
Syrians are slowly dying of malnutrition – but not for lack of food.  A military blockade surrounds dozens of Syrian towns.  This starvation siege prevents 1.5 million Syrians from receiving food or medicine.
Qusai Zakarya is one of them.  He is 28 years old.  Qusai declared a hunger strike on November 26, to demand food and medicine be allowed to reach civilians across military lines in Syria.  “We are all hungry here in my hometown anyway.  Let me be hungry for a purpose,” Qusai says.
We are starting the first phase of a “rolling” solidarity hunger strike on Friday, December 20, where someone will do a hunger strike every day in support of the hunger strikers in Syria through the rest of December.
We are also working on putting together a list of supporters for launching a larger campaign leading up to the Geneva Conference in January.  We are asking that you commit to one day of a symbolic hunger strike and that you give us permission to put your name on the materials to publicize the hunger strikes more widely.  We also ask, if you are able, to send in a photo of yourself or group to, maybe with a sign illustrating your participation.
Our goals:
o   To call for food and medicine now to all besieged towns in Syria.
o   To call for a binding resolution from the UN Security Council requiring the regime in Syria and all armed parties to allow humanitarian organizations immediate unfettered access to aid the civilian population without discrimination, including cross-border access and cross-line access (from regime-controlled areas into rebel-controlled areas).
o   To alert media and political representatives to this situation.
o   To support this act of civil resistance in Syria.
Can you join us this holiday season in standing in solidarity with Syrians?  People of conscience everywhere must act to break the siege that is affecting over a million people.
In Solidarity and Hope,

Keith Ellison, U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District
Razan Ghazzawi, Syrian blogger-activist & former political prisoner
Rev. Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Gail Daneker, Friends for a Nonviolent World, Director of Peace Education Advocacy
Huwaida Arraf, Palestinian American co-founder of International Solidarity Movement
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian writer & former political prisoner
Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian feminist writer
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Co-Founder of Shomer Shalom Network of Jewish Nonviolence
Jawdat Said,  Syrian nonviolence teacher for over fifty years
Marilyn Hacker, American Poet
Mina Hamilton, American Writer
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, Lecturer, University for the Creative Arts, UK
Michael Nagler, Metta Center for Nonviolence
Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies, University of San Francisco
Suad Mohamed, University of Virginia
Danny Postel, University of Denver
Bob Nechal, Friends for a Nonviolent World
Nader Hashemi, University of Denver
Raed Fares, Media Office Director for the Town of Kafr Nbel, Syria
Afra Jalabi, Syrian Nonviolence Movement
Mohja Kahf, Syrian American poet & academic
Linda Thomson, Minnesota Peace Project
Ian Keith, St Paul Elementary School Teacher
Wael Khouli, Physician and Human Rights Activist
Mazen Halabi, Community Activist
Cathy Murphy, Peace Activist
Andy Berman, Veterans for Peace
Terry Burke, Friends for a Nonviolent World
Nicole Halabi, School Administrator
Wendy Tuck, Educator
Reid Grano, Friends for a Nonviolent World
(organizations listed for identification purposes only)

Join us! Please sign up by sending your information to
Date you will participate in hunger strike (December 2- through January 22):

To read about Qusai Zakarya’s Hunger Strike, Day 23: Even the Trees are Their Enemies, go to
the Stop the Siege home page.


How Do You Measure a Military Footprint?

There are many references concerning the size of the US military and the number of bases that it has.  This footprint can be viewed in the form of a map and photos at:

An explanation about the source of the data can be read at:


AVP Podcast

Joann Perry participated in a radio show December 7, 2013 as part of AVP Outreach. To hear her interview go to the link below:

Be aware that there is a 1 minute introduction of selling the program at the beginning of the show, along with introductions.


AVP is Going to Nepal
And You Can Participate!

AVP MN is very excited that one of its facilitators is heading to Nepal to help the Nepalese build their own AVP program. What follows is background about Mary Amel’s upcoming trip. If you want to keep up to date with the current information of “Where in the World is Mary?” please follow the AVP-MN Facebook page.

The story began with a chance meeting on the steps of a cathedral in Geneva where Alicia Dundas from Sydney Australia and Subhash Kattel, from Kathmandu, Nepal were each eating lunch and by chance began a conversation. Subhash spoke of the violence that had broken out in Nepal, particularly of the 500,000 strong communist youth movement that was the backbone of the revolution there, and of the growing violence and division between youth and the generation of their parents.

As they talked, Alicia, an AVP facilitator, shared about AVP and how effective it had been in bringing warring tribes together in Burundi and Rwanda following the civil wars there. Subhash and Alicia looked for ways to bring AVP to Nepal. In the spring and autumn of 2008, two teams from Australia traveled to Kathmandu. Twenty eight participants were trained as AVP facilitators.

Sadly, most of the new facilitators were university students who went their own way in life after their courses were completed. Nevertheless AVP in Kathmandu ran 50+ workshops in the years that followed, most of them in Kathmandu and the surrounding area.

In 2012 AVP Nepal requested experienced facilitators to return to provide additional facilitator training because the local AVP people had been asked by the UN to provide workshops for refugees living in camps in Eastern Nepal.

AVP was able to respond with a T4F (Training for Facilitators) workshop in 2012 and AVP Nepal subsequently facilitated twenty three workshops in the refugee camps. Another trip was arranged for the spring of 2013 to facilitate the first AVP Trauma Healing workshop and the first AVP Discernment workshop.

The upcoming trip in December 2013 (12/5 – 12/23) will facilitate five workshops including a second Trauma Healing workshop to provide the training for Nepalese facilitators to conduct this workshop on their own. The need for trauma healing in Nepal is acute, particularly in the refugee camps, and amongst the victims of the sex trade.

The AVP team also plans to facilitate two workshops in Pokhara. This will be the first time facilitators from outside the country will have participated in workshops outside the capital, Kathmandu.

AVP’s experience in Nepal and in Indonesia has brought home again, the importance of building and nurturing relationships in the countries where AVP has been established. To this end we are trying to ensure that AVP facilitators from other countries visit at least once or twice a year. We have discovered that a caring relationship is perhpas more important than the actual workshops. Nurturing such relationships builds understanding and trust between people of very different cultures. This is what Friends Peace Teams and AVP about.

How you can participate:

From Dec. 5-23, a five-member FPT group of AVP facilitators (Mary Amel, Bob Barnes, Ann Dusseau, John Michaelis, and Margaret Willen) will work with AVP Nepal. Each member is asked to fundraise to support AVP Nepal and Friends Peace Teams-Asia West Pacific and to cover two thirds of their individual expenses. 

Donations can be sent to Friends for a Non-Violent World (FNVW).  The check can be made out to FNVW with AVP/Nepal in the memo section.  FNVW’s address is: 
    Friends for a NonViolent World (FNVW)
    1050 Selby Ave.
    St Paul, MN 55104.

Through all of preparing for this trip, I am aware of my profound gratitude to be a part of this project, to make a small contribution to the world in a non-violent way, to pass on an experience that I have seen make a difference in lives, including my own.

I thought of the Superhero in many cultures, who frequently are doing the same behaviors as the villains, except the Superhero is on our side and that makes it OK.  My typical response ‘what is the punch-line‘ elicited,

Batman Try

Kat(h) Man DO

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to you all,

Magnetic Mary (my AVP workshop name)