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Sumud: Voluntary service and resistance

Our intentions

10. April 2009

An economic disaster is hitting the wealthy West, which is bound to change our way of life. It was about time! Indeed, we were sick and tired of this opulence. It is not religion but money, which is the most powerful opium of the people. The diabolic mechanism of material well-being had to stop to make people understand in what kind of maddening matrix they were stuck. Nonetheless, there is danger ahead.


The fear of plunging down can fuel the most spiteful feelings that human beings harbour. The police state is not just a devilish machine standing outside and against people; it also worms its way into the mind of the “citizens”, by now transformed into subjects-consumers, causing them to withdraw into their dismal loneliness and cry out for “security”. In order not to slide down to the bottom of the heap, they are readily accepting a new foreign enemy: the Islamic resistance.

This gloomy and chauvinist plea is about to end the myths of freedom and tolerance on which the West fancied to ground its superiority. Therefore, the resistance, which has been carried on so far by the peoples robbed, attacked and tormented by imperialist wars, must no longer be left up to them alone. Now that the First World is shattering into pieces, we must learn a lesson from those who have always been doomed to resist hardships by any means while keeping their torches of dignity burning.

Hence, we have not founded Sumud in order to run away from the West, but rather to better fight for a future of brotherhood and solidarity. We want to experiment with the politics of positive facts and contagious examples. We want to change ourselves, because it is impossible to change the world without also changing the people living in it.

It is not as “missionaries” that we are answering Gaza’s cry for help and travelling to Palestinian refugee camps. We do not have anything to teach them, nor do we want to convince them of the hypocritical values in the name of which the West, Israel and their puppet regimes have martyred them and caged them in ghettos. We are going there because they have asked us to help them resist, and in order to bring back to the West a part of the anger, the hope for liberation, and the humanity which managed to survive inside the Resistance.

For us, anti-imperialist voluntary work means bringing our bodies to the hell where the damned of the heart have been thrown, sharing their thirst for justice, and breathe together with them the air of freedom, which has kept them alive. Sumud means belonging to the international community of the last, because the all humanity will only be free when they have been cut loose from their chains.

Work camp in Ein el-Hilwe (Lebanon)

The concrete and ambitious project we are proposing to everyone who shares our spirit is to take part in a work brigade in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, in the south of Lebanon.  Ein el-Hilweh is a real ghetto where almost 100,000 Palestinians have lived for generations in a terrible situation.

One of the main goals of the brigade is very practical: we will work hard in order to restore an old building formerly used as an office by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), half-destroyed by Israeli rockets, to turn it into a place for cultural and political activities for the youth of the whole refugee camp.

Of course, we could not think of carrying on this project without the cooperation of the people who are directly involved. Our partners, the Nashed youth association, composed of both Palestinian and Lebanese, has discussed the idea with the other groups of the refugee camp and guaranteed their contribution to the full success of the project.

Sumud will hold an international youth camp by the end of September in central Italy in order to discuss the experience in Lebanon and to plan new activities.

If you want to participate or support our initiative, contact us at
See also our web site

The Arabic word Sumud is a form of a root, which can mean a rock fixed in the terrain (samda) or a camel, which despite dryness continues to give milk (mismad). Hence, it means impenetrability, attachments to the roots, resistance. However, who resists possesses also inner riches like selfsufficiency and freedom.