A Huge Collective Success

The Muslim Liberation Workshop in Marrakech, Morocco, last September was about putting RC into the hands of activists and people in the Global South who are hungry for it and are eager to share it with others.

It was a huge collective success. It built on the work of the Sustaining All Life delegation at the climate change conferences in Marrakech and in Paris (France) and on the efforts of many others. It affirmed that RC is a natural human activity and an essential ingredient as we fight our way to a rational global community and economic system.

Most of the forty-two participants were Muslim; the rest were Christians and a Jew. They were from many heritages and many nations, including Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ireland, Gambia, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Turkey, England, and the United States.

Most of the participants were new to RC. Some had just finished a series of monthly daylong fundamentals classes in Marrakech, led by Iman Awadh and her team. Others had learned RC one-on-one or on Skype. The goals of the workshop were to help the new folks join the RC Community, deepen their relationships with the people who had brought them into RC, and build new relationships, and to move a number of the participants toward teaching RC. We achieved these goals.

I led the workshop, and another Muslim woman, Nazish Riaz, assisted me. The workshop was held in a Muslim nation. The allies who attended had discharged on being allies to Muslims. All the support groups but one (led by Diane Shisk) were led by experienced Muslim RCers. All of this was, of course, a huge contradiction [to distress] for those of us Muslims who lived in Christian- or Jewish-dominated nations or cultures. We could be Muslims openly, with no apology or justification. We began each class by saying, “As-salamu-alaikum,” an Arabic greeting when Muslims gather that means “May peace be upon you.” We created space in the back of the meeting room for practicing Muslims to pray, so they didn’t have to leave the meeting to attend to their religious needs. The entire workshop was translated into Arabic.

The workshop was challenging to lead. We had to keep track of many different things. I could not have done it without the assistance of Nazish. She stayed close to me, helped me think through issues, and offered her thinking as we put one foot in front of the other.

Diane Shisk had organized the workshop for many months from across the ocean. She had given it her all [put her entire self into it] and had remained thinking, patient, and generous the whole time—rolling with [adapting to] the international politics and visa punches [the obstacles caused by international politics and visas], participants’ lack of access to the Internet, females not being allowed to travel without a male companion, and more.

Before the workshop I led a twenty-four-hour workshop for the workshop leaders, to help get us all in shape [in a condition] to welcome the new folks into RC. We had three sessions in the twenty-four hours. The first demonstration I did was with a Jewish Mizrahi Israeli woman whose family was originally from Morocco. I welcomed her back to her family’s land and reminded her that anti-Semitism did not win and that no oppression could stop her from reclaiming her Arab heritage and inherent connection to Moroccans and Muslims.

Most of us leaders were People of the Global Majority. All of us (but one) lived in the Global North and had internalized Global North domination and supremacy patterns. We did a few mini-sessions in which we noticed any places where we felt superior to, smarter than, or urgent or tended to take up a lot of room, dominate conversations, sway them toward Global North issues, or complain. We also discharged on any pulls to huddle with the familiar faces from the Global North.

At the main workshop, we covered a tremendous amount of RC theory and practice—more than a half century’s worth in three days!

Nazish and I began by reminding people that the workshop was a safe space. We challenged them to go toward others, make new friends, and get close. I told them that while all of us intended to think well about each other, we were going to make mistakes. I said that mistakes are secondary, as we stop saluting all the ways we’ve been separated, and gave them permission to make mistakes.

From there we moved into what it means to be an effective client and counselor, the confidentiality agreement, and the need to pursue childhood memories and seek discharge and stay with it. I repeated these pieces of theory at the start of every class. We need to teach new Co-Counselors to keep working on early memories and the early places they had to give up. Otherwise we’ll have Communities in which people work mainly on present-time issues, don’t move their chronic patterns, and don’t actually change their perspectives and lives. I also spoke often about the need to have regular Co-Counselors.

I had many amazing moments at this workshop. Here are just a few of them:

  • I learned about the history of the Amazigh people (the Indigenous people of North Africa), from their perspective.
  • I watched a Palestinian young person connect with an Iraqi young adult who had grown up in RC. I will forever remember them holding each other tight and crying—two young Arab women falling in love.
  • I saw an adult woman decide for the first time to not keep the story of her sexual abuse a secret. She shared it in front of the workshop and sobbed.
  • I watched Diane teach a class on early sexual memories and closeness and witnessed a room full of Muslims laughing very hard about sex.
  • I saw a young climate-change activist resist the claws of colonization and start evicting the defeat from his mind.
  • I watched a culture sharing in which everyone showed themselves eagerly and openly.
  • I heard about and witnessed the perseverance and commitment of those who are teaching RC under difficult conditions—under war and dictatorships, in slums, in communities struggling with the severe effects of climate change.
  • And finally, I called a table with Diane Shisk for those who wanted to teach RC and saw twenty people come—all of them eager to take RC to their communities. We had to order a lot of food for the table and ended up recommending that fifteen people be certified to teach!

Azi Khalili

International Liberation Reference Person for South, Central, and West Asian-Heritage People

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Reprinted from the e-mail discussion list for RC Community members

(Present Time 190, January 2018)


Last modified: 2019-05-21 23:47:52+00