I Believe In Nonviolence

The Israeli occupation use of excessive force against Palestinian people, and being born at times of
occupation, has made me absorb many violent actions. I was among the most prominent leaders of the
first Intifada; it strengthened my concepts of violence even when it came to my relationship with other
people. However, the second Intifada, where violence was even more prevalent, had a good impact on
my life because during the second Intifada I was introduced to MEND, it was in 2002. At that time I did not
believe in nonviolence; however, I joined a training course, run by MEND, about alternative resistance. I
had rows with the trainer. As time went by and becoming familiar with the concepts of nonviolence, I was
convinced that I had been wrong. I apologized to the trainer and started absorbing the concepts of
nonviolence. Now they are part of my life. I have realized that I have to change the life I lead. Now I know
that we the Palestinians must seek a new way of struggle especially that we have spent more than 40
years using violence but to no avail. My belief that nonviolence will help us realize our aspirations
increases everyday. The [Palestinian] out to me and taught me the civilized concepts of nonviolence.

Well, I always liked peace, I believe in peace. When I joined MEND and was introduced to the concepts of
nonviolence, I discovered that they embody more active resistance than using violence; nonviolence
can help me realize my aspirations without human or material losses.
-        Violence can only cause more bloodshed: People unable are unable to solve their problems using
nonviolent means; I lost friends during the Intifada.
-        Nonviolence is active resistance that enables me to achieve what I aspire without losses.

Noor al Deen Shihada
Coordinator
Tulkarem Center  
We, at MEND, feel so honoured that we are able to help men and women from all over the Middle East, and we are humbled by
the commitment and kindness that they have shown this organization.
I live in a poverty-stricken household
-        My homeland in under occupation
If a person lives under such conditions, it will be normal
to oppression and deprivation and create fertile
grounds for those who rebel against a painful situation;
hence was the start.

I became a rebel at early school days. Signs of
differences were obvious at school; there were
different clothes and different meals. Such differences
made me run from school. My family beat me to go to
school. Violence then became a major part of my life; I
used it against pupils especially those whom I felt were
better than me.

Since the community where I was born and bred in
sanctifies individual acts of heroism, I unconsciously
aspired to become one of the heroes at school (the
way people sanctified heroism). This went on until I
became a teenager and politics, or rather political
violence, became part of my life. I threw rocks at the
occupation vehicles patrolling the streets of my city. I
was arrested for three days when I was 14. I was badly
tortured during incarceration. I became more violent
against the occupation. My violence developed as a
vengeful reaction. I was arrested several times and
violence was used against me. I became more and
more violent. I was wounded in my left leg when I was 16
and wounded in my right leg at the age of 17; I was
detained several times; 7 and a half years in total.

I achieved what I wanted during the first Intifada when
everyone was a rebel. I was my people's hero. I was
subjected to the policy of "bone-breaking" and I was
shot and wounded several times; I was almost killed in
one incident. This went on and had its impact on my
social life when I solved my problems using violence,
which was an acceptable method of solving problems
in the community.

This also went on during the second Intifada until I had a
new experience: Leading a children summer camp in
2002. Transformation started between an old and a new
experience; however, I was still undecided. Then I joined
a MEND training course in Nablus. I did not expect a
change to happen so fast due to old experiences. With
the opening of MEND center in Nablus and being
appointed as its head I work hard with children and the
work team in reviewing democracy and nonviolence.
Questions about social and political conflicts rained on
me. It was the first time in my life to contemplate causes
of conflicts. My MEND experience has made me aware
of several positive ways of solving problems without the
use of violence. Since I was a victim of violence, I do
my best to help people especially impoverished
children to avoid what I went through. I have become a
role model for many young people who want to know
more about me.

Qais Awayis
Coordinator
MEND Nablus center   
My name is Emma Biermann and I am part of the organising team for an event called One World Week
which is world's largest student-run international event and celebrates internationalism and appreciates
the world's mosaic of Israel-Palestine conflict and we were hoping you could support this event with
material such as leaflets,
to us for our external exhibition.  This means that students who attend the event can access
further information about the issue or have ideas of practical action that they can take as a result of the
event.  To find out more about One World Week, please log onto
www.oneworldweek.net

It is clear from your website that Mend is an excellent
organisation trying to achieve a wonderful vision for the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict through peaceful and innovative means, which is extremely
admirable and we really hope you will be able to send us some material.

I look forward to hearing from you very soon and happy new year!

Thank you and best wishes,

Emma.
(One World Forum Team Organiser)