Acting in Faith

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Occupation is violent and unpredictable

Note: Sandra Tamari’s recent post on Acting in Faith spoke of the terrible price parents in the Occupied West Bank have paid for years with little or no protest from the international community as their children have been killed and arrested, usually with no one being held accountable.  It makes clear that occupation is brutal and that that violence is felt every day. 

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A symbol of the occupation

A symbol of the occupation

Dismantling oppression: A cry for justice

Sandra Tamari, a Palestinian Quaker activist, offers her reflections on the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers, the abduction and burning alive of a young Palestinian, the collective punishment and mass arrests of Palestinians by Israel, and the continued siege and renewed attacks on Gaza. 

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Children at a Nakba day protest in May, 2014

Children at a Nakba day protest in May, 2014

Children at a Nakba day protest in May, 2014

Patterns of Displacement and Dispossession: Vignettes from a visit to Israel and Palestine

This post is the fourth in a series of Acting in Faith entries by members of a May AFSC staff delegation to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Mike Merryman-Lotze is program director of AFSC's Israel-Palestine program and served as one of two hosts for the delegation.

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Throwing hearts, the separation wall

Throwing hearts, the separation wall

Throwing hearts, the separation wall

"Tell America we want to be free": Gaza, then and now

This post is one of a series of reflections from 10 AFSC staff members who went on a delegation to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in May 2014. The trip left a huge impression and gave our staff much inspiration to continue to work for justice and peace in the region.

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Child walking in Gaza

Child walking in Gaza.

AFSC staff delegation at Al Azhar University in Gaza

AFSC staff delegation at Al Azhar University in Gaza.

Does the Spirit drive the work? One Quaker meeting’s response to mass incarceration

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression before—organizing Quakers is like “herding cats,” an impossibly frustrating task, often leading to an overabundance of structures created to quell the insecurities of so many strong-minded individuals.  But that doesn’t stop us from trying to work together, motivated by a deep, Spiritually grounded commitment to justice. This spring, I witnessed one Yearly Meeting employ a variety of methods—both spiritual and intellectual—to bring together one Quaker body for deep, impactful social change work grounded in Love.

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South Central Yearly Meeting Spring

South Central Yearly Meeting Spring

South Central Yearly Meeting Spring

Visualizing Return: A young Palestinian visits her family’s destroyed villages

Note: In early May I was one of ten AFSC staff that traveled to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to learn about AFSC’s work, meet partners and learn about the current context and situation there. AFSC youth organizer Shirien was another of the people on the delegation. Though she was detained for four and a half hours at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, she was admitted into the country.  During the trip she was able to visit the destroyed villages of her parents’ families, Calonia and Majdal Yaba.

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Quakers in Burundi: Offering relief after the flood

In February of this year (2014), torrential rainfall in the East African country of Burundi led to devastating floods and the death of over 60 people, destroying properties and leaving 12,000 people homeless.  The Burundi government came to the aid of the victims by calling together various relief organizations to provide support, including the American Friends Service Committee, Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) and other Quaker organizations in Burundi.  Together, these organizations developed an Action Plan to respond to the needs of the thousands of homeless and in

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Burundi landscape

A view of Burundi.

A hurricane of Spirit to end the occupation of Palestine

“How good it is, how pleasant for God’s people to live in unity.” – Psalm 133:1

The first time I experienced a gathered meeting was at Mid-Year Meeting of Iowa Yearly Meeting Conservative. We were in an old meeting house up on a hill that overlooked the prairie.  It was a windy day. As we sat in meeting for worship, the wind whipped around us.  The silence was deep and rich. As the wind swirled, stirring up dust and bringing a breeze into the meeting house, I could sense the Spirit also moving in the room. I felt as though we were one body, coming together.

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How good it is to live in unity...

How good it is to live in unity...

"How good it is to live in unity... " a tile from Jerusalem Pottery

Breaking bread with North Koreans: An interview with Linda Lewis

A few weeks ago I sat down with Linda Lewis, AFSC’s country representative for China and North Korea, during her visit to the Philadelphia office.  She spent much of her time on the East Coast speaking with AFSC donors and Quakers in the area about her work with farmers in North Korea. Linda’s passion for this work comes through in her presentations and her stories.  She may not discuss religion or spirituality with AFSC’s Korean partners in the region, but it was clear to me that the work was firmly rooted in the belief in a common humanity and dignity. -Madeline

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Linda Lewis and Don Bustos in North Korea

Don Bustos from AFSC New Mexico and China/DPRK Country Representative Linda Lewis talk with O Ryong Il from AFSC's DPRK partner organization KCSWP (Korea Committee for Solidarity with the Worlds' People) during a visit to a simple low tech Chinese farm greenhouse in the Jinzhou district near Dalian.

The disappearance of Sombath Somphone: an Interview with Ng Shui Meng

I talked recently with Ng Shui Meng, the wife of Sombath Somphone, a Laotian man and close associate of AFSC who ran civil society programs in Laos until he disappeared in December, 2012.  Despite having close circuit television (CCTV) footage documenting his abduction, the Laotian government has denied any knowledge of Sombath Somphone’s whereabouts.  Shui Meng came to the United States recently to request the assistance of AFSC, Amnesty International, Quakers and others to take action to support the return of Sombath Somphone.  You can find many ways to support Sombath

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Sombath Somphone’s portrait

Sombath Somphone’s portrait in Great Men and Women of Asia: Ramon Magsaysay Awardees from Southeast Asia 1990-2005.

Where is Sombath?

People holding signs in support of the release of Sombath Somphone.

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AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more

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