Press release on non violence training on the Estelle
Press release on non violence training
All passengers and crew of M/S Estelle are prepared on the risk of illegal and violent boarding by the Israeli military in international waters, as happened in 2010. Everyone has gone through training in nonviolent behavior by the Swedish peace researcher Stellan Vinthagen, an experienced international trainer.
During the trainings everyone has signed a pledge to act peacefully also during risk of life, and they have learned the rules of conduct, joint decision making, done role-plays on arrest and interrogation to know how to act, and they have created affinity groups that are able to give everyone emotional support during a violent attack by the IDF.
People have made practical exercises in order to find creative ways of peacefully rejecting the boarding and at the same time calming down soldiers who are falsely told we are dangerous. We have studied videos on earlier boardings, and we have shared fears and hopes with each other.
The civilians on board are of course worried because of the threats made by Israel to use illegal military force against our humanitarian ship, but everyone is committed to act peacefully whatever violence IDF is using. If Israel claims activists have thrown objects on the soldiers or used any other physical attack on them that will be completely untrue and false.
We are doing a peaceful and civilian mission, and we have prepared to act as peaceful civilians, also during illegal and violent attacks by those who for some reason might fear our humanitarian mission.
Stellan Vinthagen wrote his PhD on nonviolent activism in 2005, and has been an activist in various social movements since 1980. He has e.g. educated human rights workers in Colombia, youth activists in South Africa, environmental activists in Poland, students in India, and in many other places of the world. Vinthagen has written several books and articles on the subject of peaceful resistance, people power and social movements. He has been one year in prison for different nonviolent civil disobedience actions in Europe. In 2008 Vinthagen was one of the initiators of Ship to Gaza, and he was one of the key trainers during the Freedom Flotilla 2011 in Greece.
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