The Resource Center for Nonviolence stands in support of our neighbors in the Islamic Center of Santa Cruz who suffered vandalism on their place of worship. We support free and safe expression of religion for all. We believe each person is responsible, in what we say and do, for violence in our community and culture. We build nonviolence when we renounce violence and stand with victims of violence. We ask neighbors in Santa Cruz County to speak out against intimidation and scapegoating of any person or group.
In Santa Cruz County and abroad, the Resource Center for Nonviolence sees violence as traumatic and counterproductive. We object to all violence by persons, groups, parties, and states in the Middle East. We object to targetting of people and communities because of their group identity, such as people worshipping in a synagogue in West Jerusalem or farmers tending olive groves near Bethlehem, or Sunni or Shiite Muslims or Western journalists. Scapegoating and collective punishment have been waged by national militaries and political parties as well as by terror groups and distressed victims of oppression. Realistically, we especially renounce violence that we share responsibility for. American military action in the Middle East, in support of American interests, has contributed to collective punishment of Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians in Gaza, disintegration of societies in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and militarization of societies in Israel and Egypt. U.S. warfare in the Middle East teaches a way of blame and violence that comes home in Santa Cruz County. As Americans, we share responsibility for this violence, in our community and overseas.
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy,” said Martin Luther King. This is not a moral statement. It is a practical statement. Recent Resource Center guest Dr. Erica Chenoweth said,
“We found that during the period of 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance campaigns are about twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their goals. We also found that these trends hold even where most people expect nonviolent resistance to be ineffective — for instance, against dictatorships and highly repressive regimes.”
The way to peace, justice, and dignity for all our neighbors and our allies and our enemies is to renounce violence in our community, renounce violence by our nation, and support nonviolent civil action for justice, freedom, self-governance,, and mutual security in Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, all the regions of the Middle East and world and our nation and county too.