Andrés Conteris Speaks in Washington D.CAndrés Thomas Conteris, Founder of Democracy Now! en Español spent four months in Brazil's embassy in Honduras along with democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya who was ousted in a June 28, 2009 coup. Conteris was the only member of the media that stayed inside the embassy for 129 days and filed many stories with independent news outlets around the world. Assaulted by chemical attacks, ear-splitting noise weapons, intense lights during the nights, and constantly in the gun sights of military snipers, Conteris lived, ate, and slept along side the ousted president and was witness to the hopes and fears, negotiations, threats and violence as Hondurans struggled to return democracy to their homeland.
After departing Honduras with Zelaya upon the inauguration of Porfiro Lobo, who was elected president in a coup government-run process, Conteris returned recently to Honduras to lead a delegation of US residents which met with many groups still determined to develop real democracy in Honduras. Their efforts are being met with murder, beatings, intimidation, and false imprisonment under the Lobo government.
On March 29th, Conteris spoke at the St. Stepehns Episcopal Church in D.C., reporting on and working with the Honduran citizen resistance to the coup d'etat. Conteris shared moving stories of resistance to the coup. The movement was widespread, remarkably disciplined, and well led by former president Zelaya and others.
Repression unfortunately has continued with the new government which has kept on many of the old guard. Five journalists have been killed in recent weeks, more than have been killed in the past 25 years. In addition, arrests, assassinations, and attacks continue on resistance members.
Conteris calls for increased international pressure upon the current government. Prosecutions are necessary for coup plotters. A new constitution is necessary to enfranchise the citizens of Honduras. Conteris calls on international solidarity activists to go to Honduras to learn about the movements for democracy in the country. He recently led a delegation from the West Coast of the US to Honduras that met with many community leaders.
Mubarak Awad Attends Conference in BethlehemLast Month Nonviolence International's President Mubarak Awad journeyed to Palestine where, among other things, he attended a Conference in Bethlehem. The conference, held at Bethlehem Bible College from March 12-17, was titled "Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice." The events included lectures by people who have been working on the subject of the rapture as a church prophecy regarding the coming of Christ and its implications for the Palestinian Christians and the Palestinian population at this time. There were local Palestinian theologians in attendance that spoke about the theology of the land from a Palestinian perspective, including Naim Ateek, Alex Awad, Yohanna Katanacho, Salim Munayer, and Mitri Raheb. The group expressed their theological point of view with a great emphasis on the current issue of the political trends in the Holy Land. The purpose of the conference was to enlighten the attendees regarding issues of Palestinian Christians. This brought to light difficulties Palestinian Christians face in dealing with the rhetoric of Christians in the west who have supported Israel as a Jewish state and Israelis as a chosen people without any consideration to the plight of the Christian Palestinians, or the fact that they even exist. Mubarak Awad gave a lecture on the use of nonviolence as a Christian ministry and was accompanied by many other speakers. Alex Awad, Mubarak's brother, spoke of his experiences travelling around the world as an evangelical Christian Palestinian and not being recognized as a brother in the evangelical community due to his nationality. Sami Awad, of the Holy Land Trust and a co-sponsor of the conference, spoke about the Holocaust and his visits to Auschwitz and the ways he was able to reflect upon his emotions as a Palestinian with regards to the many deaths of Jews on the hands of Christians in Germany. Bishara Awad, the President of the Bethlehem Bible College, made it clear that this conference is not political but more educational, and it is in the spirit of reconciliation and the spirit of Christianity. The subjects of Christian Zionism, anti-semitism, dispensationalism, and the ethical responsibility of the evangelical church towards Palestinians were discussed in detail both in the form of formal lectures and workshops as well as informal discussion during meals. NI board member Jonathan Kuttab introduced the Prime Minister of Palestine Salam Fayyad, who spoke on supporting a strong church in Palestine and about the emphasis of enacting Palestinian liberation through the use of nonviolence. Mubarak later took some of the participants for demonstrations against the bulldozing of olive trees and the erecting of the separation wall in a town north of Bethlehem called Beit Jala.
Click Here to read about an anti-wall rally Mubarak attended in Bethlehem
Nonviolence International Members Attend Anti-Nuclear Protest Outside Nuclear SummitDressed up as nuclear missiles in the pouring rain, Nonviolence International staff joined CODEPINK, Prop 1, Peace Action and the Washington Action Group in front of the Washington Convention Center on April 13, 2010. President Obama and heads of state from all over the world were gathered at the Convention Center for the Nuclear Security Summit. In this meeting of the world's most powerful leaders, the issues of non-proliferation and dismantling existing warheads are untouched. Countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel have not even signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The modest group of demonstrators marched up the street towards the Convention Center, holding signs and chanting, "Nukes are bad here and there. Ban nukes everywhere." Medea Benjamin, the cofounder of CODEPINK made a speech about the dangers of a world-wide arms race as military police watched the group carefully. Peace flags were flown as an "arms race" took place between costume warhead-clad NI members jogging down the side walk to emphasize the absurdity of nuclear armament. The message was clear: No hands are the right hands for nuclear weapons.
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