45 Groups Join to Hail Gandhi Peace Honorees

Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

With a mixture of art, music and film, Mayson Almsiri, a Syrian White Helmets leader, and Dr. Zaher Sahloul, president of MedGlobal, were honored with the 2020 Gandhi Peace Award.  Forty-five groups joined with Promoting Enduring Peace in publicizing the award.  They ranged from Syrian groups, to Muslim organizations, to Left activist groups to bodies supporting human rights for Rohingya to Uighurs.

The renowned artist and journalist Molly Crabapple contributed many of her Syria drawings as did Akram Swedaan, an internal refugee in Syria.  The latter artist takes exploded ordinance and paints on them.  “Art on Death” as he calls them.  Both their works were accompanied by music from Palestinian performer Tamer Sahouri of Beit Sahour.

CT native Dylan Connor performed his “If Only You’d Listen” which has received viral attention on Facebook. Syrian Wasfi Massarani contributed two powerful songs, one dedicated to the White Helmets.

Mayson Almisri was introduced by Orlando von Einsiedel, the Academy Award-winning director of “The White Helmets” and PEP President James van Pelt added his reflections. Almisri talked about working  for Syrian Arab News Agency [SANA], giving out government propaganda which she combined with attending protests of the tyrant.  After her brother was shot dead by a government sniper she said she fell apart until she heard about the White Helmets and joined in their work.  She herself was not a rescuer but helped with first aid and civic education.

The famous Palestinian-Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour introduced Dr. Sahloul.  Sarsour is best known for her leadership of the 2017 mammoth Women’s March in DC.  She complimented PEP on giving the Gandhi Peace Award some years ago to Palestinian Omar Barghouti for his BDS work and lauded Dr. Sahloul not just for his work for Syrians, but for his treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and victims of warfare around the world.

In his address, Sahloul warmly embraced the Palestinian cause before talking about the terrible toll barrel bombs and other indiscriminate weapons were taking on the Syrian population and Syrian doctors. Dr. Sahloul dedicated his award to physicians he knew who were killed in attacks on hospitals and ambulances.

We in PEP were gratified that Palestinians and Syrians were standing together at the event despite efforts by the dictator’s agents to divide them.  To see the whole ceremony and hear how Syrians themselves describe the carnage go to PEPeace.org.

Gandhi Peace Award Ceremony, Nov. 17

by Stanley Heller, PEP Administrator

Promoting Enduring Peace has been holding back on its ceremony for this year’s honorees, Dr. Zaher Sahloul and Mayson Almisri, in hopes that we could have a big event in an auditorium, but since the pandemic shows no sign of letting up the PEP Board decided to hold the event online. It will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17, exactly two weeks after Election Day. The time has not yet been decided.

This year we’ve chosen two people of Syrian origin to hon-or the work of Syrian doctors and Syrian rescue workers.

Syrian-American Zaher Sahloul was a longtime Senior Advisor to the Syrian American Medical Society, SAMS. He is currently the president of MedGlobal which sends teams of doctors and nurses to war and disaster zones from Ecuador to Lebanon. He works as a pulmonary specialist at a hospital in Chicago and is involved in treating COVID-19 patients. He himself fell victim of the virus and suffered from it for weeks. He’s been to Syria many times and has worked with the doctors whose medical facilities were bombed with abandon by Assadist and Russian forces.

Mayson Almisri is a member of Syrian Civil Defence, better known as the White Helmets. The group started informally as people who rushed to bombed-out buildings to try to save the injured and to recover bodies. As the years passed the group became more organized and received training and funds from foreign NGOs and governments including that of the U.S. The White Helmets try to video and photograph their rescues as a way of alerting the world to the viciousness of the regime, its allies and their militaries. For that they are demonized by the Assad regime and slandered as “terrorist supporters.” The rescue workers have rescued some 100,000 people during the last 9 years of war and have been the subject of several films.

In addition to the acceptance speeches, we hope to have art, music and song to entertain and inspire. Holding it on Zoom allows for more international participation. If you’d like to work on the project contact office@pepeace.org or call (202) 573-7322.

Register for Promoting Enduring Peace annual meeting Sat. March 28, 2020 via Zoom

This Sat. March 28 phone and zoom – Register for Promoting Enduring Peace open meeting

Starting 1 p.m. on Sat. until 2:30

10-minute video selection from Naomi Klein’s talk at Harvard

Drawing for a signed copy of Naomi Klein’s new book “On Fire”

(When you register you get one free “ticket” for the drawing)

Hear announcement of this year’s Gandhi Peace Award winner

Learn about Promoting Enduring Peace projects and key peace/environmental issues

Q&A and comments

To attend email  office@pepeace.org   Subject: Annual meeting

You’ll get an email back on Friday with the link/phone number

Full agenda at www.PEPeace.org

Kathy Kelly & Tom B. K. Goldtooth awarded 2015 Gandhi Peace Award

Promoting Enduring Peace

goldtooth-kkellyThe 38th presentation of the Gandhi Peace Award by the national organization Promoting Enduring Peace, located in New Haven, honored two world renowned peace leaders, Kathy Kelly and Tom B.K. Goldtooth. The ceremony was held at the United Church on the Green in New Haven on October 30.

Kathy Kelly is nationally known for her outspoken activism protesting the use of drones by the U.S. military. She co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a national campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare. She has led protests in Gaza and is an international leader against the war in Iraq. She has served several prison sentences for her non-violent, militant activism against nuclear weapons and war. On April 21st Kelly was released from federal prison after serving a three month sentence for non-violently protesting drone warfare at Whiteman AFB which operates weaponized drones in Afghanistan.

Tom B. K. Goldtooth is Dine’ and Mdewakanton Dakota. He is the first Native American recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award. He is the national director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (http://www.ienearth.org) at Bemidji, Minnesota, and has been a leader in Native social, economic, and environmental justice issues for over 35 years. He works with Indigenous Peoples and organizations around the world advocating for environmental and climate justice. He is co-producer of the award winning documentary film, “Drumbeat For Mother Earth,” which has received critical acclaim for its exposure of the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on Indigenous communities. In 2010 he was honored by the Sierra Club and by the NAACP as a “Green Hero of Color.”

Voices for Creative Nonviolence: http://www.vcnv.org
Indigenous Environmental Network: http://www.ienearth.org