Friday, 21 October 2016

Peace on the Table

Sheila Mann of Peace on the Table

One of the workers at my hummus factory is a Syrian refugee.  She arrived in Brazil ten months ago, and she is learning Portuguese.  When I interviewed the other workers, all women, first of all, I chose each one from a different religion (Jews, Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs).  I explained that it was very important that they understand why I was asking about which religion they belong to, and that this factory and project is about integrating all people together, and asked them to help the Syrian girl to integrate and learn the language.

I thought that they had understood, but when they began working, they didn´t try to include her in the group and sometimes they laughed at her because of how she spoke Portuguese. I called each one separately and explained once more about peaceful coexistence between people, and that I expected them to help the Syrian woman and treat her as equal, but it still didn´t work. So I decided to use another method.

I called everyone, including my partner (the only man in the factory) before the coffee break, gathered all seated in a circle.  I asked everyone to close their eyes and breathe deeply three times, then I began to tell them a simple story about a happy family gathered after dinner in the living room, when suddenly there were bombs falling in the other parts of the house, and the house was destroyed.  I spoke about the fear and how all the family ran away to save their lives, and how it was difficult to abandon everything and just run away to a safe place.  And the long route of this family to reach a shelter and the possibility of leaving the country and beginning in another place, like Brazil, and the effort to be integrated and to speak a language which is very different from theirs.  I asked the women to try and imagine themselves having to learn a new language such as Arabic for example, something so strange and different that it was really very hard to learn.

Peace on the Table
When I finished the story, I asked everyone to breathe deeply once again and to open their eyes slowly. Then I asked them to stand up and put them in pairs, standing in front of each other and to each hold up the arms of the one in front as a form of exercise.  Then I asked the one who was being helped to turn around, and the other one to massage her back, and then I asked the one who received the exercise and the massage to close her eyes, lean on the other and let her lead for a small walk around the factory.   When one finished, I asked the women to switch sides and each do the same thing to her partner.

I repeated these exercises every day and each time used another story.  It worked, they began to treat the Syrian woman better, because they touched her, had to lean on her with confidence to be led through the factory.  Now they are chatting more with her and have stopped laughing at the way she speaks. 

I was born in Beirut, Lebanon, I´m Jewish and emigrated to Israel in 1968, and in 1973, I came to Brazil, where I live now.  

I´m a visual artist and a specialist in Lebanese food. I had the idea to combine these two passions and realized an artistic performance in a well-known museum in Sao Paulo, where I made a speech for peace based on a statement by Martin Luther King Jr., and then served a unique Arab dish for almost 300 people.  

Recently, I decided that I was not doing enough to bring people together, so I invited my son-in-law to be my partner and opened a hummus factory, as I consider this dish  common to both Arabs and Israelis.  In the factory, we have only women workers, each one of them from a diferent religion.  

I hope that you´ve liked my story, and for more information, I suggest that you access my facebook page, Peace On the Table, or my videos on YouTube with my name Sheila Mann.  It was a great pleasure to tell you about my peace activities.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Interview with Rawahuddin Arif Khan

Rawahuddin Arif Khan
What does Islam require?

It was my pleasure and privilege to interview Mr. Khan, an imam at the Bait ul Ahad Mosque in Walthamstow, East London and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. 

Mr. Khan explained to me that, according to the true teachings of Islam, violent jihadism has no place in Islam.  Islam requires the promotion of human rights, which include freedom of religion, as well as peace, tolerance and love, and condemns terrorism.

Listen below for the interview.  It takes a few minutes to download, so please be patient.  Please share this with your networks and leave your comments below. Thanks.

Click here to listen to this interview

Click here for more blogs from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2016


Monday, 17 October 2016

That's Enough Green Pond Slime (How to Stop Being a Bystander)

Ceri Buckmaster
By Ceri Buckmaster

In this blog post, NVC practitioner and trainer Ceri Buckmaster explores how we can stop being bystanders when we witness conflict situations.

Click here to read this blog post.

Click here for more posts from the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2016.

Ceri Buckmaster has been facilitating groups for over 20 years. She runs a project called Empathy Injection to increase empathic skills in communication.   She is an Associate of Open Edge Conflict Transformation ( and is developing a new website to host writing by all kinds of wonderful people around the world, about transformative practices ( ready end 2016). She is currently certifying with the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC).