Nonviolent action around the world – 9 March 2010 (Part 1)

Webinar: Nonviolent Action in the Islamic World
Join us for the webinar, “Nonviolent Action in the Islamic World” next Thursday, March 11th at 12:00pm – 1:00pm EST.  Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, will present on the long history of nonviolent action throughout the Islamic world, in the Middle East and beyond. Professor Zunes will look at case studies including Iran, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Mali, Western Sahara, Indonesia, Pakistan, and others.
Register here…

FSI 2010
ICNC is now accepting applications for the 2010 Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at Tufts University. This week-long Institute, now in its fifth year, will run from June 20 – 26 and brings together international professionals and journalists from around the world to learn from top practitioners and scholars about strategic concepts and present applications of civil resistance.
The application deadline has been extended to March 15, 2010 !
View the flyer…
Download the application form…

Report condemns Honduras violence
By: Arthur Brice, CNN, March 8, 2010
An Organization of American States commission condemned Monday the slayings last month of three Honduran political activists opposed to a military-led coup that removed the elected president in June. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights also said it deplores the kidnappings, arbitrary detentions, torture, sexual violations and illegal raids that the panel maintains other members of the political resistance have suffered since the June 29 coup.
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Cuba blasts foreign press for dissident coverage
By: Paul Haven, AP, March 8, 2010  
Cuba on Monday strongly criticized foreign press coverage of a dissident hunger striker as part of a campaign to discredit the island’s political system. Guillermo Farinas, a freelance opposition journalist, has refused food and water since Feb. 24 to protest the death of another hunger striker and demand the release from jail of some 26 political prisoners said to be in poor health.
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Cuba says will not be ‘blackmailed’ by hunger striker
By: BBC, March 8, 2010
Cuba says it will not be “blackmailed” by a dissident journalist who is on hunger strike to seek the release of ailing political prisoners. Guillermo Farinas, 48, began his action after Orlando Zapata Tamayo died while on hunger strike in jail.
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Spain, Cuba and the death of Orlando Zapata
By: Jose Ignacio Torreblanca, The Gov Monitor, March 7, 2010
After 50 years of total control of everything in Cuba, the fact that it has to use these means of repression on a bricklayer, whose only form of resistance has been peaceful and verbal, can only mean that the regime fears its citizens as much as they fear the regime – or perhaps a little more.
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Ousted former Honduran leader to head Petrocaribe
By: Business Week, March 6, 2010
Ousted former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is taking on a new role: leading an energy consortium allowing poor Caribbean and Central American nations to buy oil on preferential terms from Venezuela. Zelaya accepted the invitation from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a strong ally both before and after Zelaya was removed from office in a coup last June. Zelaya has been taking refuge in the Dominican Republic.
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Letter to the Attorney General of Honduras urging investigation into attacks on coup opponents
By: Human Rights Watch, March 3, 2010
“I am writing to express my concern regarding recent attacks on members of the National Popular Resistance Front (Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular), including killings, rape, torture, kidnapping, and assault. The fact that these attacks targeted members of this political group, which opposed the 2009 coup and advocated for the reinstatement of ousted president Manuel Zelaya — as well as previous threats received by victims or comments allegedly made by the assailants — raise the possibility that these abuses may have been politically motivated.”
Read full letter…

The women I love (on Women’s Day): Agitators who stand up to big coal
By: Jeff Biggers, Common Dreams, March 8, 2010
“In the US Senate, Mother Jones was once called the ‘grandmother of all agitators.’ She replied that it was her desire to one day be the ‘great-grandmothers of all agitators.'” –Mother Jones. On International Women’s Day, let us now praise the muckrakers, the agitators, the coal mining women, the organizers, the fearless ones willing to stand up to Big Coal.
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US eases Cuba, Iran, Sudan sanctions to allow freer web
By: BBC, March 8, 2010
The US treasury department has eased sanctions on Iran, Cuba and Sudan to help further the use of web services and support opposition groups. US technology firms will now be allowed to export online services such as instant messaging and social networks.
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Us: Alarm bells sounded over skyrocketing number of new anti-government groups
By: Grace Huang, Truthout, March 8, 2010
Driven by anger toward “political, demographic, and economic changes,” a surge of anti-government extremist groups occurred this year, according to a report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It stated that anti-immigrant vigilante groups, “organizations that go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants,” increased by 80 percent. Extremist “patriot” groups jumped by 244 percent last year, with nearly a quarter of them being militias.
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US: 45 years after march, Selma priest remembers Bloody Sunday
By: Robert Howell, CNN, March 8, 2010
The Rev. Maurice Ouellet remembers the day vividly: March 7, 1965. As he walked out of church after serving Sunday Mass, he encountered silence. Then sirens.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. comic book from the 1950s redefined superhero for a generation
By: Kurt Shaw, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 7, 2010
Comic books are not usually thought of as instruments of social change. Nor does the comic-book medium readily come to mind when thinking about the dramatic days of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.
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U.S. hopes internet exports will help open closed societies
By: Mark Landler, NY Times, March 7, 2010
Seeking to exploit the Internet’s potential for prying open closed societies, the Obama administration will permit technology companies to export online services like instant messaging, chat and photo sharing to Iran, Cuba and Sudan, a senior administration official said Sunday.
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US: Students take to the streets to defend public education
By: Waging Nonviolence, March 5, 2010
Hundreds of thousands took part in the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education yesterday. It was the largest day of coordinated student protest in years. While much of it was focused on the university and state college campuses of California, where students face a 32 percent tuition hike, there were protests at campuses across the country on issues ranging from minority representation to privatization.
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Peru bars oil companies from uncontacted tribes’ reserve
By: Survival International, March 8, 2010
A reserve inhabited by uncontacted tribes in the remote Peruvian Amazon can no longer be explored by oil and gas companies. In 2006 Sapet agreed not to work in the reserve after lobbying by FENAMAD and national indigenous organization AIDESEP. But Perupetro maps described the reserve as open for exploration until very recently.
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Human rights activist Kovalyov on slow progress in Russia
By: RFEFL, March 8, 2010
Sergei Kovalyov has spent some 50 years defending human rights in Russia, and turning 80 has done little to slow his work.  RFE/RL’s Russian Service reported on Kovalyov’s accomplishments as he celebrated his 80th birthday last week.
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Mihajlo Mihajlov, a Yugoslavian dissident, dies at 76
By: NY Times, March 7, 2010
Mihajlo Mihajlov, a prominent dissident in the former Yugoslavia who was jailed for seven years during the cold war era, died in Belgrade on Sunday, the Beta news agency reported.
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Bulgaria: Protesting against seafront construction in Varna
By: Global Voices Online, March 7, 2010
For the past two years, a seafront promenade in Varna known as the First Alley has been a cause of confrontation between civil society organizations and TIM Group, which runs projects throughout Eastern Bulgaria and owns many of the hotels on the coast. The activists are fighting against large-scale construction and are trying to protect the Sea Garden landscape park in Varna.
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Moscow demonstrations call for police reform
By: AP, March 6, 2010
Several hundred demonstrators have held a rally in downtown Moscow to press demands for reform in the country’s police system.
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View the photos…

Peaceful protest in Israel can lead to arrest
By: Mazin Qumsiyeh, New Haven Register, March 9, 2010
This week, when I return to my village in the occupied West Bank, I face possible arrest by Israel for engaging in nonviolent protests against abusive Israeli policies opposed by our own government. This prospect is difficult after 29 years of living in the United States, where such activities are fully protected. It was this openness that attracted me to the U.S. I became a proud citizen and pursued work not only in my profession but also as a human rights advocate.
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Iran activist calls for shift of focus from embargoes to human rights
By: Harvey Morris, Financial Times, March 8, 2010
The United Nations should focus on pressing the Tehran regime to restore democracy and human rights rather than imposing economic sanctions on Iran for its nuclear programme, says Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian opposition activist.
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Iranian poet Simin Behbahani handed ‘travel ban’
By: BBC, March 8, 2010
Iran’s leading female poet has told the BBC she has been barred from leaving the country by the government. Simin Behbahani, 82, said she was about to fly to France when her passport was confiscated at Tehran airport. The human rights activist has written poems in support of the opposition campaign against disputed elections in June last year.
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Palestine-Israel: The joint popular struggle expands and worries Israeli authorities
By: Infoshop News, March 8, 2010
In spite of increase of state forces harassments the struggle expand. In addition to the “regular” Bil’in, Nabi Saleh, Ni’ilin, Ma’asara, and Sheikh Jarrah, Beit Omar seems to join the weekly schedule.
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Israel demands P.A. to stop protests
By: Saeed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center, March 8, 2010
The Israeli government sent messages to the Palestinian Authority (P.A) demanding it to act on stopping popular protests in the West Bank, and to forbid P.A officials from participating in any sort of protest, including campaigns to boycott Israeli goods.
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Palestine- Israel: The power of nonviolent action
By: Ziad AbuZayyad, Haaretz, March 7, 2010
There are signs of mounting distress among the Israeli police and other security forces in the way they are dealing with the Palestinians who stage weekly demonstrations in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. These protests, in which Palestinians are joined by foreign sympathizers and activists of the Israeli left, are intended to express opposition to the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, which are then inhabited by Jewish families.
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Women’s rights improve across Middle East
By: Gulf Times, March 7, 2010
Women in the Middle East have made notable advances over the past five years, with modest overall improvements in women’s rights, literacy, educational attainment, political participation and economic role, an extensive multinational study has found.
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Egypt: Blogger’s military trial dismissed
By: Almasryalyoum, March 7, 2010
Twenty-one-year-old engineering student and blogger Ahmed Mostafa, arrested two weeks ago on charges of defaming the Egyptian Armed Forces, was declared innocent today. Instead of a verdict at today’s military court hearing in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City, Mostafa’s case was removed from the list of hearings, according to Hamdy el-Assiouty, Mostafa’s defense lawyer.
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Working class and female in Iran
By: Setareh Sabety, Huffington Post, March 7, 2010
To mark International Women’s Day, I decided I should write about three Iranian women whom I came to know well when living in Iran just before Ahmadinejad’s first term. For whatever it is worth I thought that I should expose the lives of three very ordinary Iranian women from different backgrounds and different sensibilities. This is for them.
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Algerian censorship: Would you defend the rights of your political enemies?
By: Global Voices, March 7, 2010
For my first post on Global Voices Advocacy I’d like to entertain a discussion on an issue that has been bothering me since news of the first censored political website in Algeria was broken. That is, how far would one go in defending the human rights, and most relevant the right to free speech, of one’s political arch-rivals*. Picture in your mind your most hated group, a group that you think would definitely alter your life in extremely unpleasant ways were they to obtain power that you think your raison d’être would be to defeat them politically every possible way. I’ll help you do that by explaining the background to this.
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U.S. enriches companies defying its policy on Iran
By: Jo Becker and Ron Nixon, NY Times, March 6, 2010
The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington’s efforts to discourage investment there, records show.
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Flags fly for Western Sahara
By: Green Left Weekly, March 6, 2010
For the second year in a row, flag-raising ceremonies in Victoria marked the anniversary of the Saharawi Republic, as a gesture of solidarity and friendship with the people of Western Sahara. The Saharawi Republic was declared on February 27, 1976. However, the country remains under Moroccan occupation.
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Egyptian government continues to use emergency law to crackdown on freedom of speech
By: Freedom House, March 5, 2010
The need for an end to the 29-year “emergency” in Egypt is underscored by the current military trial of blogger Ahmed Mustafa for exposing corruption in military institutions. Mustafa’s trial, which began on Monday is scheduled to resume on March 7.
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Egypt: Mubarak’s first comments on ElBaradei
By: Micheal Collins, MEI Blog, March 5, 2010
Husni Mubarak is in Germany to meet with the leadership and undergo medical treatment (gall bladder pain, I gather, is the official explanation). Being in country where people can actually ask the questions they want to, he’s made his first comments on the ElBaradei phenomenon. He’s free to join any political party and run for the Presidency (except for the fact that only parties with five percent of the seats in parliament can run candidates, and no one but the Muslim Brotherhood and the NDP qualifies, and Catch 22: the Muslim Brotherhood is not a party) or he can run as an independent (if he can get a petition from several hundred members of Parliament, local councils, etc., who are almost all NDP).
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Israel: Peaceful advocates detained on spurious charges, denied due process
By: Human Rights Watch, March 5, 2010
Israel is arresting people for peacefully protesting a barrier built illegally on their lands that harms their livelihoods. The Israeli authorities are effectively banning peaceful expression of political speech by bringing spurious charges against demonstrators, plus detaining children and adults without basic due process protections.
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Iran: Free “Mourning Mothers” supporters
By: Human Rights Watch, March 5, 2010
The Iranian Judiciary should immediately release six women arrested in January and early February 2010, apparently in connection with their peaceful activities on behalf of the Mourning Mothers, Human Rights Watch said today.
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The Role of new media in promoting reform in the Middle East: The case of Lebanon
By: POMED, March 5, 2010
The Project on Middle East Democracy and the Safadi Foundation USA hosted an event to discuss the implications of “connection technologies” for U.S. foreign policy. The year 2009 witnessed an explosion of Internet-based activism in the political cultures of the Middle East. The Use of information and communication technology (ICT) has been a transformative tool in strengthening civil society and expanding the outreach of independent voices. What types of U.S. assistance are needed to empower young reformers committed to non-sectarian politics? What is the role of ICT in promoting inter-faith dialogue and peace building?
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Iran: Engagement or regime change?
By: Atlantic Council, March 3, 2010
The South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council hosted a debate between experts Michael Ledeen and Flynt Leverett on how best to approach Iran’s nuclear ambitions and on possible courses of action for the U.S. and its allies to halt Iran’s capacity to weaponize its nuclear program.  Washington Post columnist and creator of PostGlobal David Ignatius moderated the discussion, and Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, provided an introduction.
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Read transcript…

In Jordan, coalition unites for electoral reform
By: National Democratic Institute, March 3, 2010
Responding to calls for electoral reform from civil society organizations in Jordan, a national grassroots coalition led by the National Center for Human Rights (NCHR) has launched a first-of-its-kind media and advocacy campaign to push for improvements in the country’s election system.
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Yemen: Divorced before puberty
By: Nicholas Kristof, NY Times, March 2, 2010
It’s hard to imagine that there have been many younger divorcées – or braver ones – than a pint-size third grader named Nujood Ali. Nujood is a Yemeni girl, and it’s no coincidence that Yemen abounds both in child brides and in terrorists (and now, thanks to Nujood, children who have been divorced). Societies that repress women tend to be prone to violence.
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Israel gathering information on Israeli nonviolent activists
By: International Middle East Media Center, March 2, 2010
The Israeli army started gathering information, including recording license plates, of Israeli peace activists who protest along with Palestinian and International activist against the Annexation Wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank.
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Report: Iran released four journalists, professor
By: CNN, March 1, 2010
Iran on Sunday released on bail four journalists and a retired professor whom it had held for two months, the semiofficial Iran Labour News Agency reported.
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