Nonviolence Amid the Carnage of War | Sojourners

Nonviolence Amid the Carnage of War

The message of Palestinian peacemaker Ali Abu Awwad is more crucial than ever.
The illustration shows Sharon Lavigne over a background of clouds, with the quote "To love a community is to find ways to heal a community"
Sharon Lavigne, founder of the Louisiana environmental justice group Rise St. James, is a 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize winner and recipient of the 2022 Laeare Medal for service to the U.S. Catholic Church and society. / Illustration by Raz Latif 

WE BEGIN PLANNING each issue of the magazine months in advance, and this edition was no exception. Our conversations about Christian nonviolence last summer were rooted in our long history of wrestling with questions of how to put our biblical faith into practice in the face of challenging, real-world problems. Our goal, as always, is to offer a word that is both “timeless and timely,” and the combination of John Dear’s biblical reflection on Mary’s role as a “teacher of nonviolence” and our interview with Palestinian peacemaker Ali Abu Awwad seemed exactly that.

Just as we were finishing our edits on the issue in early October, we heard the first reports of Hamas’ horrific attacks on Israel and the beginnings of the brutal assault on Gaza. Through U.S.-based friends, we immediately reached out to Awwad, who lives in the West Bank, and learned that he and his family were safe but were forced out of their home by an Israeli military raid. Amid the carnage of war, his message of nonviolence — the gospel message of peaceful resistance — seems even more vital in this season in which we remember the coming of the Prince of Peace.

The cover depicts an illustration of Palestinian peace activist Ali Abu Awwad with the colors of the Palestinian and Israeli flags in the background, and Hebrew and Arabic words for nonviolence and peaceful resistance respectively.
This appears in the January 2024 issue of Sojourners