Nonviolent Action around the World – 30 June 2009 (Part 1)


Iran and leftist confusion
By: Reese Erlich, Common Dreams, June 29, 2009
When I returned from covering the Iranian elections recently, I was surprised to find my email box filled with progressive authors, academics and bloggers bending themselves into knots about the current crisis in Iran. They cite the long history of U.S. interference in Iran and conclude that the current unrest there must be sponsored or manipulated by the Empire.
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Iran: What spies don’t know
By: Eli Lake, NPR, June 29, 2009
About ten days after the start of Iran’s insurrection, I asked a senior administration official what, if anything, the White House knew about the people behind the demonstrations. His reply: “I think it is fair to say senior administration officials are busily trying to understand how the opposition is generated and where it came from.” In other words, there’s a lot about the protesters we still don’t know.
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Iran council certifies disputed election results
By: Michael Slackman, NY Times, June 29, 2009
Iran’s powerful Guardian Council certified the official results of the country’s disputed presidential election on Monday, according to state television, an unexpectedly rapid move that set off angry screaming in the streets of Tehran.
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Iranian women lead the protests
By: Elham Gheytanchi, San Francisco Chronicle, June 29, 2009
Ordinary women in long black chadors and head scarves – both young and old – are performing extraordinary acts of bravery in Iran today. Women are at the forefront of these nonviolent demonstrations violently suppressed by the government-backed militias (known as Basij). It took the brutal death of Neda Agha Soltan in Tehran on June 20 during a street protest to bring the role of women in this post-election crisis to light.
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Journalism rules are bent in news coverage from Iran
By: Brian Stelter, Iran Focus, June 29, 2009
“Check the source” may be the first rule of journalism. But in the coverage of the protests in Iran this month, some news organizations have adopted a different stance: publish first, ask questions later. If you still don’t know the answer, ask your readers.
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Protests flare ahead of ruling on Iran vote
By: Farnaz Fassihi, Iran Focus, June 29, 2009
Thousands of protesters clashed with security forces at a mosque Sunday in Tehran — marking the first major demonstration after a few days of uneasy calm — as Iran’s arrest of local employees of the British Embassy on Saturday escalated tensions with the West. Iranian media Sunday reported nine British Embassy employees had been detained for allegedly playing a role in demonstrations in Tehran protesting the results of the country’s presidential elections.
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Iran: The whole world is watching
By: Jon B. Alterman, World Politics Review, June 29, 2009
Four decades ago, when police and national guardsmen attacked protestors at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the protesters shouted, “The whole world is watching.” However arresting those images were, they could not possibly compare to the flood in recent weeks of YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Twitter tweets, Facebook pages, and blogs dedicated to events in Iran.
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Iran ‘has arrested 2,000’ in violent crackdown on dissent
By: Martin Fletcher, Times Online, June 29, 2009
More than 2,000 Iranians have been arrested and hundreds more have disappeared since the regime decided to crush dissent after the disputed presidential election, a leading human rights organisation said yesterday. “A climate of terror and of fear reigns in Iran today,” the International Federation for Human Rights , an umbrella body for 155 human rights organisations, said as it released the startling figures.
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‘Retaliator’ Obama awaits Tehran’s next move
By: Andrew Sullivan, Times Online, June 28, 2009
The millennial generation that elected Obama in America also exists in Iran, in proportionally even greater numbers. They didn’t give Mir Hossein Mousavi his victory, just as they didn’t give Obama his landslide. But they did galvanise a long-suppressed yearning for a saner foreign policy, greater social freedom and a more than minimal grasp of market economics. And so the green wave built – slowly at first and then, in the final weeks of the campaign, like a tsunami.
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Iran arrests employees of British embassy as protests return
By: Michael Slackman, NY Times, June 28, 2009
Iran’s government said Sunday that it had arrested Iranian employees of the British Embassy, while the police in Tehran beat and fired tear gas at several thousand protesters. The government’s arrest of nine Iranian employees of the British Embassy was a significant escalation in its conflict with Britain, which Tehran has sought to cast as an instigator of the unrest since the disputed June 12 election.
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Iran: The rooftops and streets of Tehran
By: Matt Renner, Truthout, June 28, 2009
At 10pm families gather on rooftops in Iran’s capital city to shout together, their voices echoing throughout the sprawling city’s mostly empty streets. This ritual, reminiscent of the 1979 Iranian revolution which led to the overthrow of the US-backed dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, has become the “responsibility” of one young woman’s family.
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In Iran, the protests have quieted, but the protesters are simmering
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, June 28, 2009
The young men and women enter Haft Tir Square tentatively. Their pace slows as they discreetly glance around. They spot the club-wielding uniformed security officials and plainclothes Basiji militiamen, scan the square for other would-be demonstrators. A woman in a form-fitting mini-coat looks left, then right. There is safety in numbers, but there are few of her kind here for the scheduled gathering, so she quietly moves along, glancing at the shop windows.
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Iran’s crackdown quiets streets but not anger
By: Brian Murphy, The Guardian, June 28, 2009
Each evening, the protest cries still come from rooftops in Tehran. They began weeks ago as a display of defiance and unity. Now they echo something else: a chorus that bemoans the suffocating crackdown but also signals that the confrontations with Iran’s Islamic regime may be far from over.
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Poetry from Iran, one tweet at a time
By: Davar Iran Ardalan, NPR, June 28, 2009
Persians are known for their poetry. So it is not surprising that as recent dramatic events have unfolded in Iran, so many Iranians who have been alerting the world have written poetically – even in their tweets. Meet 26-year-old Parham Baghestani. I reached Baghestani in the fabled Iranian city of Isfahan, where he lives.
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Act II in Iran’s five-act play: The self-organization stage
By: Al Giordano, The Field, June 27, 2009
The other day I referred to the past two weeks in Iran as “the first act of a five act play.” As with the betrayed Iranian revolution of 1978-79 that toppled Shah Reza Pahlavi, there are going to be ebbs and flows to the unfolding drama – including periods of media blackout – but have no doubt, kind readers, that rebellion is finding its way.
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The thugs who lead Iran’s Supreme Leader
By: Gary Sick, The Daily Beast, June 27, 2009
There are many different ways to look at the developments in Iran. One perspective that seems to have been ignored is what I regard as the cardinal role of the Revolutionary Guards. Over the 20 years that Ayatollah Khamenei has been the rahbar, or leader, he has allied himself ever more closely with the Revolutionary Guards.
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Iran: For radical Islam, the end begins
By: Joshua Muravchik, Washington Post, June 27, 2009
Is history ending yet again? Much as the hammers that leveled the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the end of the Cold War, so might the protests rocking Iran signal the death of radical Islam and the challenges it poses to the West.
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Iran and America: The will to change
By: Yacov Ben Efrat, Dissident Voice, June 27, 2009
Two weeks have passed since the Iranian elections of June 12, 2009, and the storm aroused by the putative result refuses to die. What’s happening there is not a democratic disagreement, but a conflict between two well-defined forces over the country’s future. We cannot know who really won the election, but even supposing it was incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his “victory” has revealed a deep schism.
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Scholar’s protest guide offered to Iranians
By: MSNBC, June 26, 2009
Iranian protesters wondering what to do next are being encouraged to consult a source that helped drive a decade of nonviolent revolutions in Eastern Europe: a how-to guide to toppling dictatorships written by a retired American scholar who is little known outside of activist circles. But the Iranian regime definitely knows about 81-year-old Gene Sharp. His name and references to his 1993 book have buzzed around opposition Web sites and social networks.
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Iran: If ever there were a time for creative nonviolence
By: Todd Gitlin, TPM Cafe, June 26, 2009
Nico Pitney, who’s been splendidly liveblogging Iran news, links to an important AP dispatch, concerning extensive downloading of the nonviolent systematizer Gene Sharp’s manual, “From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework,” in Farsi translation. “The more [Iranian rebels] learn that there is a nonviolent alternative to both violence and passive submission, the more chances they are to take a wise course of action rather than a stupid one,” Sharp told the reporters.
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Iran: Night raids terrorize civilians
By: Human Rights Watch, June 26, 2009
Iran’s paramilitary Basij are carrying out brutal nighttime raids, destroying property in private homes and beating civilians in an attempt to stop nightly protest chants, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also said the Iranian authorities are confiscating satellite dishes from private homes to prevent citizens from seeing foreign news.
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Women in Iran are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!
By: Patricia T. Morris, Peace X Peace, June 26, 2009
I have watched with great interest as the women of Iran assert themselves in their country’s post-election demonstrations. The mainstream media here in the U.S. focus on how President Obama, former President Bush, Facebook, and Twitter have sparked the conflict and not the many years that Iranian women have spent chipping away at the attitudes, laws, and  religious restrictions that limit their rights.
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Iran: Art for protest’s sake
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices, June 25, 2009
Bloggers and citizen artists online have been creating designs and cartoons to add a touch of art to the insistent Iranian protest movement that has risen in response the June 12 presidential election results. As the protests in favor of an annulment continue, so does the repression by government against demonstrating citizens.
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Chomsky and 50+ intellectuals back freedom to assemble in Iran
By: Al Giordano, The Field, June 25, 2009
Good on Noam Chomsky, and more than fifty intellectuals throughout the global left, including prominent Iranians, who signed this letter in support of the right of demonstrators to protest in Iran: “…it is up to the people of Iran to determine their own political course. Foreign observers are nevertheless entitled to point out that a government which claims to represent the will of its people can only do so if it respects the most basic preconditions for the determination of such a will…”
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Iran: Dialectic of revolution
By: Hazem Saghieh, openDemocracy, June 25, 2009
The Iranian revolution is discovering that, in its thirtieth year, it has grown old. The wave of street demonstrations following the presidential election of 12 June 2009 reveal its fruits: “two peoples” who announce themselves in huge sociological differences – of appearance, affiliation, body-language, political slogans.
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Iran: The ministry of love-hate
By: Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, June 24, 2009
Dictators all over the world have been watching Iran for lessons learned. Will the crackdown crush the opposition? Will the streets win out? Is there, perhaps, a Green or Orange or Velvet Revolution of some sort waiting to challenge them, too? They know that somewhere buried in their young and restive populations are the seeds of such a thing.
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Iran: Reading the crisis in Tehran
By: Gary’s Choices, June 23, 2009
As I set forth on a long vacation trip, here are a few observations about the situation in Iran based on my own experience of watching the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis from the White House thirty years ago. Don’t expect that this will be resolved cleanly with a win or loss in short period of time.
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How the Iranian military can be flipped: A field guide
By: Michelle Cottie, Christopher Orr, and Jason Zengerie, The New Republic, June 23, 2009
As the protests in Iran continue and reports of violence in the streets proliferate, we started to wonder what could make members of the Basij and other paramilitary groups abandon their ties to the regime and back the opposition. So, we called founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Peter Ackerman, to see if he had any advice.
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Iran says courts will teach protesters a lesson
By: Zahra Hosseinian and Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, June 23, 2009
Iranian authorities said they would teach an exemplary lesson to “rioters” held in the worst unrest since the birth of the Islamic Republic. Riot police and Basij militia on Tehran’s main squares warded off the mass protests that have marked the 11 days since disputed elections. Iran’s hardline leadership appeared to have gained the ascendancy, at least for the moment.
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Unrest in Iran raises profile for Twitter
By: Patrick May, Mercury News, June 23, 2009
San Francisco-based Twitter, the 2-year-old micro-blog spigot for news junkies, lonely hearts and the terminally high-strung, is both spreading news and making it over the past week – sharing updates from the protesters in Iran with the world at the same time it is becoming a household name.
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The Arabs’ forlorn envy of Iranians
By: Rami G. Khouri, Tehran Bureau, June 23, 2009
I started writing this column Sunday in Amman, Jordan, and finished writing it Tuesday in Beirut, Lebanon – a short journey that captured how the dynamic events in Iran are playing out in very different ways in a largely passive and vulnerable Arab world. Jordan and Lebanon capture the two extremes of the Arab world, including pro-American and pro-Iranian sentiments.
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Hi-tech helps Iranian monitoring
By: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News, June 22, 2009
As protests continue in Iran, details are emerging of the technology used to monitor its citizens. Iran is well known for filtering the net, but the government has moved to do the same for mobile phones. Nokia Siemens Network has confirmed it supplied Iran with the technology needed to monitor, control, and read local telephone calls.
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Iran: Twitter ripped the veil off  “the other”
By: Andrew Sullivan, Truthout, June 21, 2009
With internet speed deliberately slowed to a crawl by the Iranian authorities, brevity and simplicity were essential. To communicate, they tweeted. Within hours of the farcical election result, I tracked down a bunch of live Twitter feeds and started to edit and rebroadcast them as a stream of human consciousness on the verge of revolution.
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Of protests and players: Iran, Burma and the U.S.
By: Mizzima, June 19, 2009
Grainy images of urban streets packed with predominantly young protesters filmed from a chaotic pedestrian overpass – the mass of people below surging forward together only to disperse in individual parts. Pictures and video issuing forth from civilian journalists in Tehran of reportedly hundreds of thousands marching in opposition to the country’s recent electoral results all too easily aroused an indulgence in romantic reminiscences of mass protest amidst a sea of saffron.
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Sudan elections and southern self-determination: At growing risk
By: Eric Reeves, Sudan Tribune, June 29, 2009
Sudan’s significantly delayed national elections, now scheduled for February 2010, have been very poorly supported by the international community and are at risk of even further delay. A host of technical, logistical, administrative, as well as legal and policy issues have yet to be resolved.
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Ousted Mauritania president resigns
By: Al Jazeera, June 28, 2009
Mauritania’s first freely elected president has formally resigned from office, paving the way for new elections more than 10 months after he was overthrown in a military coup. Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdallahi handed over power to a transitional government on Saturday under a power-sharing deal with the soldiers who toppled him in August.
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Zimbabwe: State admits activist’s detention was illegal
By: Nokuthula Sibanda, ZimOnline, June 26, 2009
Government lawyers on Thursday conceded that state security agents violated the law when they abducted last year top human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko who is accused of recruiting people to topple President Robert Mugabe. Mukoko, a former state broadcaster turned human rights campaigner, was among a group of rights defenders and activists from then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party abducted by state security agents last year.
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Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai’s newsletter hits the streets again
By: Radiovop, June 24, 2009
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)-T on Wednesday published a second edition of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai newsletter, in clear defiance of threats by the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity. Thousands of Zimbabweans jostled outside Harvest House on Wednesday morning to grab the latest two-page edition of the newsletter that has angered George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Media, Information and Publicity.
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Zimbabwe’s hope
By: James A. Harmon, Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009
Zimbabwe is tentatively emerging from a decade of international isolation. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is currently on a tour of major capitals to drum up support for his fragile, yet promising, four-month-old unity government. During his visits to Washington, Brussels, Berlin and London, Mr. Tsvangirai has been asking for more development assistance.
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Nigeria: Government blames oil firms for Niger Delta crisis
By: Kelechi Okoronkwo and Anote Ajeluorou, The Guardian, June 23, 2009
In what seemed a serious soul-searching, the Federal Government yesterday reappraised the hydra-headed Niger Delta crisis and submitted that negligence on the part of oil companies operating in the area led to severe environment problems like oil spillage, gas flaring, water and air pollution, which in turn engendered the current youth restiveness in the region.
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Nigeria: A stop sign for human trafficking
By: CS Monitor, June 19, 2009
It’s not every day that the US government gives Nigeria a shout-out for a job well done. After all, the State Department labels this African nation’s human rights record “poor” and its 2007 presidential election “seriously flawed.” But this week, the State Department praised Africa’s most populous country for its progress in prosecuting human traffickers and helping their victims.
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Latin America calls summit in bid to restore Zelaya
By: Nathan Gill and Joshua Goodman, Bloomberg, June 29, 2009
Latin American leaders are gathering in an emergency summit to restore Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to office after he was ousted by the military yesterday in a showdown over a referendum on term limits. Regional leaders, from market-friendly Mexican President Felipe Calderon to self-declared socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, will meet today in Nicaragua.
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Protesters demand return of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya
By: Rory Carroll, The Guardian, June 29, 2009
Protesters in Honduras yesterday put up roadblocks in the capital, Tegucigalpa, as they demanded the return of the president, Manuel Zelaya, hours after he was ousted in a military coup. Hundreds of people, some wearing masks and armed with sticks, put up barricades near the presidential palace as governments across the region condemned the first military overthrow in central America since the end of the cold war.
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América held hostage: Day two of the coup in Honduras
By: Al Giordano, The Field, June 29, 2009
As the coup-plotters in Honduras (of a military-media-political class alliance, but this time without the support of Washington) enter their second day of temporary power with the rejection of the entire hemisphere and planet upon them, and the inconformity of the Honduran people (who defied martial law last night to erect barricades in the streets and otherwise resist the coup), we can observe “the true character” of various media and political voices across the political spectrum.
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Honduras: Military coup a blow to democracy
By: Human Rights Watch, June 28, 2009
The Organization of American States (OAS) must act quickly to push for the reestablishment of democracy in Honduras after a military coup, Human Rights Watch said today. The coup took place this morning, when members of the Honduran military reportedly arrested democratically elected president José Manuel Zelaya.
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US musicians sing support for Iranian protesters
By: Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Washington Post, June 28, 2009
They wouldn’t be allowed to perform in Iran, but singers Joan Baez and Jon Bon Jovi are showing their support for protesters. In videos carried on YouTube, the artists perform songs – with a few lines in Farsi – that call for peace.
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Canada: ‘Die-in’ to protest Canadian mine in Tibet
By: CTV British Columbia, June 24, 2009
Tibetan supporters wrapped themselves in Tibetan flags and played dead outside a shareholders meeting of a Vancouver mining company Wednesday to press the company to pull out of a planned mine in Tibet. The “die-in” at the Continental Minerals meeting was in solidarity with Tibetans, who they say can’t consent to the massive removal of mineral wealth under their feet.
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US: People power pushed the New Deal
By: Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies, June 22, 2009
During the Great Depression, my grandfather ran a butter creamery in rural Minnesota. Growing up, I heard how a group of farmers stormed in one day and threatened to burn the place down if he didn’t stop production. I had no idea who those farmers were or why they had done that – it was just a colorful story. Now I know that they were with the Farmers’ Holiday Association, a protest movement that flourished in the Midwest in 1932 and 1933.
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Peru: Congress repeals controversial Amazon laws
By: Survival International, June 22, 2009
The Peruvian Congress has voted to repeal two controversial Amazonian laws after protests that led to the death of an unknown number of policemen and indigenous people. The Congress voted to repeal the laws at the end of last week. The laws undermined indigenous peoples’ rights and made it easier for outsiders to take control of their land.
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Post-killings, Peru clamps down on NGOs
By: Survival International, June 17, 2009
Senior figures in Peru are clamping down on both Peruvian and foreign NGOs in the wake of the violent protests which erupted in the country on 5th June. The Congressional Foreign Relations Committee is examining a proposal to restrict the funding of Peruvian NGOs by outside agencies. Many indigenous organizations receive financial support from Western funding agencies, and have done for decades.
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