Nonviolent action around the world – 16 February 2010 (Part 2)

February 16, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Iran: Expulsion and suspension of 30 students from Qazvin University
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, February 16, 2010
On Thursday, February 11, an authority in International Imam Khomeini University in the city of Qazvin announced that thirty students had been expelled or suspended from this university. The authority said: “[I] believe the university is a place for thinking and research, and it must remain a free-thinking place…But a number of people chose to be radical…[and] got themselves into trouble.”
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Palestine: Reclaiming land, one tree at a time
By: Palestinian Solidarity Project, February 15, 2010
PSP had organized a series of tree-plantings along with Israeli anti-occupation activists last month. The Israeli military attempted to prevent the tree-plantings and went so far as to announce they would uproot hundreds of the trees planted in the area (this is currently being challenged in the Israeli courts).
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Palestine: Popular protest gaining ground in the West Bank
By: Gidon Belmaker, Epoch Times, February 15, 2010
For five years now, the villagers of Bil’in, together with Israeli and international activists, have been conducting weekly protests against the security fence built by Israel near their village. Marked by a creative approach and high profile in the media, this kind of protest-defined as “nonviolent”-is now spreading to other regions in the West Bank. It has even been adopted by the Palestinian Authority as a strategy for struggle.
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Iranian regime rejects family’s charge that protester was tortured
By: New York Times, Nazila Fathi, February 15, 2010
The prosecutor general in Tehran on Monday dismissed accusations by the wife of an opposition leader who said her son was arrested and tortured while in detention, the semiofficial ILNA news agency reported.
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Video:  What’s happening to the green movement in Iran?
By: Flynt Leverett and Barbara Slavin, Bloggingheads, February 15, 2010
Video debate covering issues such as: “Did Feb. 11th show that the Green Movement is in decline?” and “Is Obama or Iran to blame for the current impasse?”
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Iran: The financial power of the Revolutionary Guards
By: Julian Borger and Robert Tait, The Guardian, February 15, 2010
The extent of the Revolutionary Guards’ control over the Iranian economy is apparent as soon as you enter the country. They run the main international airport, and the manner in which they acquired it was a bruising demonstration of the way big business is now done in Iran.
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Iran’s opposition ‘has no real leader’
By: BBC, February 15, 2010
Haleh Esfandiari, Iranian dissident and academic, has had first-hand experience of just how brutal Iran’s regime can be. At 67 years of age she was held for four months at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, accused of trying to topple the Islamic establishment.
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Western powers challenge Iran over ‘bloody repression’
By: Iran Focus, February 15, 2010
Western powers accused Tehran of waging “bloody repression” since elections last year as they challenged Iran to open up to international scrutiny during a UN human rights meeting Monday. In a public review of Iran’s record at the UN Human Rights Council, Britain, France, the United States and other Western nations expressed deep concern about reports of killings, arrests and torture in a clampdown on dissent.
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Iran defies West on human rights at U.N. forum
By: Reuters, February 15, 2010
Iran, already in confrontation with big powers over its nuclear program, defied the West over human rights, declaring that it was an open democracy where free speech and justice were guaranteed. Rejecting charges from the United States, France, Britain and other countries that torture and murder of dissenters were rife in Iran, a senior Tehran official told a United Nations body they were playing politics to undermine his country.
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An Iranian civil rights movement?
By: Ian Morrison, Tehran Bureau, February 15, 2010
For most observers of the Green Movement, the most salient question is how the current political movement in Iran mirrors the Islamic Revolution. But another parallel comes as a close second: Is the Green Movement pushing forward a civil rights agenda, comparable to the American Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s?
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Iran protests: What went wrong?
By: Open Democracy, February 15, 2010
To support the Green Movement – in the delicate capacity I have to do so from outside Iran – means to be honest about its strengths and weaknesses. To date, the Green Movement has impressed me with its many strengths. But the Green Movement has shortcomings. Its tactics are nebulous – and in the case of 22 Bahman, ill-conceived.
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Iran’s bus drivers union calls for green-labor unity
By: Hamid Farokhnia, PBS, February 15, 2010
In a potentially significant development, a leading constituent of Iran’s labor movement has now unequivocally aligned itself with the Green Movement. On February 12, Tehran’s Bus Drivers Union circulated posters throughout Tehran declaring itself fully on the side of the democratic movement and called on the Greens to support the beleaguered union through acts of civil disobedience.
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Iran: Videos show crowd sizes at 22 Bahman rally
By: LA Times, February 14, 2010
Newly uploaded videos of the Islamic Republic’s 31st anniversary celebrations and protests Thursday gives a better idea of what happened. The video above shows a fairly large crowd of demonstrators trying to gather on a major Tehran thoroughfare before they are frightened off by approaching security forces.
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Iran: Wife of Karroubi addresses Ayatollah Khamenei about the torture of her son
By: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, February 14, 2010
The wife of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has published an open letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader detailing her son Ali Karroubi’s torture following his detention on 11 February, as the authorities stifled opposition demonstrations, and appealed for an end to such abuses.
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Opposition in Iran meets a crossroads on strategy
By: Robert F. Worth, NY Times, February 14, 2010
Many of Iran’s opposition supporters expected last Thursday to be a moment of climactic triumph, with calls for a vast street protest on the 31st anniversary of the country’s Islamic Revolution. Instead, the day set off a flood of self-criticism by the opposition. Now, dejected opposition supporters are re-examining their tactics and struggling to find a new catalyst for the movement.
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Dissident set for return to Egypt despite arrest threat
By: Nouruddin Abuzant, Gulf Times, February 14, 2010
Exiled Egyptian sociologist and political dissident Saadeddin Ibrahim plans to return to Egypt in June despite a risk of being arrested on his arrival. Ibrahim said he believes there is a “real” risk he will be arrested again, as there are six pending cases against him filed by Egypt’s National Democratic Party.
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Iran, Facebook, and the limits of online activism
By: Cameron Abadi, Foreign Policy, February 12, 2010
Iranian activists have long reaped the benefits of Internet communication, but especially in the months since the June 12 election, they have also fallen prey to its pitfalls. Reassured by their own online echo chambers, activists and participants allowed their optimism to grow like a market bubble — a bubble that, many say, was popped on Thursday.
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Iran: A government show of force and an opposition display of courage
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL, February 12, 2010
The Iranian government went on the offensive on the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, using the opportunity to flout international efforts to rein its nuclear ambitions and stymie internal dissent with a massive show of force. Members of the Green Movement, prevented from exhibiting their opposition to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad en masse, displayed their courage by protesting in vulnerable pockets of resistance.
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Iranian regime’s ‘legitimate’, ‘restrained’ response to Green protesters?
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, February 12, 2010
Recent experience suggests that sustainable democratization is more of a process than an event and the disappointing trajectory of some color revolutions has further fed skepticism of such dramatic ruptures. But isn’t there something distasteful in Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett’s gloating at the Green Movement’s setback following yesterday’s demonstrations on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution?
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Israel: Work begins to reroute barrier
By: Isabel Kershner, NY Times, February 12, 2010
More than two years after a Supreme Court ruling, Israel has started work to reroute its security barrier near Bilin, a Palestinian village in the West Bank, Israeli officials and activists in the village said Friday. The village became a symbol of the Palestinian struggle against the barrier because of its legal battle and because of the weekly protests held by activists near the fence line.
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Palestinians against Israel’s separation barrier
By: The Telegraph, February 12, 2010
Protesters dressed as Na’vi characters from the movie Avatar march in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah to draw attention to their campaign against the controversial Israeli barrier. Israel says the barrier is needed for security, but Palestinians consider it a land grab.
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Peaceful Palestinian resistance is paying off
By: Ben White, Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 2010
For many, the idea of Palestinian resistance is synonymous with terrorism, conjuring up images of suicide bombings and rockets. This is a distortion shaped by the media and our politicians. Beyond the headlines, Palestinian resistance has always included nonviolent tactics.
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Iranian revolution anniversary through the eyes of protesters
By: Shehani Fernando and Chavala Madlena, The Guardian, February 11, 2010
With an internet blackout in Iran, footage of protests has been trickling through websites including YouTube. Here are some of the highlights, with commentary by Mehdi Saharkhiz, who has been helping to get video on to the web.
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Putting political change in Iran first
By: Richard N. Haass, Council on Foreign Relations, February 11, 2010
Iran’s future is unlikely to be determined on the streets of Tehran this month, the thirty-first anniversary of the revolution that ousted the Shah and brought Islamic rule to Iran. Still, a decision to reorient U.S. policy toward promoting political change in Tehran is warranted.
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Iran boasts of capacity to make bomb fuel
By: Michael Slackman, NY Times, February 11, 2010
Iran’s president boasted Thursday that his nation had the capacity to make weapons-grade nuclear fuel if it chose to, in a speech intended to rally the nation as it marked the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
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The sanctions on Iran are working
By: Mark Dubowitz, Foreign Policy, February 10, 2010
After months of fruitless efforts to engage the regime in Tehran, and a raging Washington debate about “targeted” versus “broad-based” sanctions, Barack Obama’s administration has finally moved to punish Iran for failing to come clean about its suspicious nuclear program. The U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday that it has designated the four subsidiaries of a major engineering and construction firm, as well as the firm’s commander.
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Iran arrests revolution day ‘plotters’
By: BBC News, February 10, 2010
Iranian police say they have arrested a number of opposition supporters planning demonstrations during the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam did not give any details of the arrests, the Fars news agency said.
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Second open letter to Iran
By: Elie Weisel Foundation, February 7, 2010
As published in The New York Times on February 7, 2010 and The International Herald Tribune on February 9th, 2010: Dear President Obama, President Sarkozy, President Medvedev, Prime Minister Brown and Chancellor Merkel, how long can we stand idly by and watch the scandal in Iran unfold?
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AFRICA
Zimbabwe: Plans for all-night Mugabe birthday party ‘are insensitive’
By: David Smith, The Guardian, February 16, 2010
Plans to hold a lavish all-night birthday party for the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, were today condemned as insensitive to the suffering of the country’s people. Mugabe’s 86th birthday will be celebrated next week with an “extravagant overnight gala” starring local and international musicians, the Zimbabwe Times reported.
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Kenya ministers ‘boycott cabinet’
By: BBC, February 16, 2010
Allies of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga have said they will boycott cabinet meetings until a dispute with President Mwai Kibaki has been sorted. The two men clashed on Sunday after Mr Odinga suspended two ministers accused of corruption – only for Mr Kibaki to reverse the decision hours later.
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Zimbabwe: ZANU PF accused of politicising civil servants strike
By: Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa, February 15, 2010
State security agents and youth militia have been accused of interfering with the current industrial action by civil servants. Takavafira Zhou the President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says Central Intelligence Officers, soldiers and the militia descended on some schools threatening headmasters and teachers who had not yet joined the strike and forcing them to leave the schools.
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Thousands protest Niger president’s grip on power
By: Reuters, February 14, 2010
More than 10,000 anti-government protesters gathered in Niger’s capital on Sunday calling on President Mamadou Tandja to reverse a constitutional rejig that gave him broader and extended powers. Tandja drew widespread criticism and international sanctions after dissolving parliament and orchestrating a constitutional reform that gave him added powers and extended his term beyond his second five-year mandate, which expired in December.
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Zimbabwe: WOZA and MOZA hand out cards and roses on Valentine’s Day
By: Zimbabwe Journalists, February 13, 2010
At noon today 700 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise marched through central Harare to the offices of the state-owned Herald newspaper, handing out Valentine cards, red roses and abbreviated copies of WOZA’s report on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe. In typical WOZA fashion, six protests started separately and converged on the offices of the Herald.
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TOP
 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Dispersing the CIA myth
By: Yevgeny Bazhanov, The Moscow Times, February 16, 2010
Governments have often blamed foreign elements for instigating revolutions.But the truth is that all of these political upheavals were the result of internal forces.The Feb. 7 Ukrainian presidential election proved that the hyped-up claims of Western subversion in its color revolution was patently false.
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Attacks on the press, 2009
By: Committee to Protect Journalists, February 16, 2010
Follow the link below for a Worldwide Survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists detailing attacks, killings, and imprisonment of journalists around the world.
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Nonviolent Action News
By: Singapore Democrats, February 14, 2010
This section features a daily digest of news relating to nonviolent conflict from around the world and other interesting articles and book reviews relating to nonviolent action. The compilation is a reprint of the list distributed by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
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Using theater to overcome oppression
By: Rebecca Sargent, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, February 13, 2010
Many of the peace strategies used in current conflict zones focus on reducing the direct violence or the structural violence within the government systems while neglecting to truly address the cultural violence that lingers within the society. Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed is an approach to social change that allows for protected dialogue into an issue behind a veil of theatrics.
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Activist robots?
By: Eric Stoner, Waging Nonviolence, February 11, 2010
Over the last couple years, I’ve followed with intense interest the growing use of robots in war and tried to document some of the dangers (and ethical problems) of going down this path.  On this site we’ve also looked at the growing resistance to this trend in war. One thing I have never thought about, however, is the potential for activists to use robots to further their work.
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Global campaign against impunity
By: Committee to Protect Journalists, February, 2010
Murder is the ultimate form of censorship. One reporter is killed, and hundreds are sent a message that certain topics are too dangerous to be discussed. Now, with support from the Knight Foundation, CPJ is launching a global campaign to combat impunity.
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BOOK REVIEW
Peru: One man’s battle for human rights in the early 20th century
By: Greg Grandin, NY Times, February 12, 2010
This book adds to Roger Casement’s reputation as a pioneer of the human rights movement’s tactics, including the on-the-spot investigation, the gathering of victims’ testimony and the leveraging of public outrage to spur reform. Casement was one of the first to use the phrase “crime against humanity,” and he judged Julio C├ęsar Arana to be guilty of “not merely slavery but extermination” – what later would be called genocide.
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NOTICES
Scholarships for post graduate certificate in conflict resolution skills
By: Dr. Marwan Darweish, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, February 15, 2010
Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies, Coventry University, UK. July 2010. This course enables you to develop a range of practical and analytical skills that will increase your ability to intervene constructively in a range of different types of conflict situations at the inter-personal, inter-communal and international levels.
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IN PAST NEWS
Video report: Imprisoned in Iran
By: Committee to Protect Journalists, December 29, 2009
In this video report, Greek freelance journalist Iason Athanasiadis recounts his 2009 imprisonment in Iran. Athanasiadis, who spent 20 days in custody, most of it in Tehran’s Evin Prison, describes his arrest during the government’s post-election crackdown and explains how international advocacy made a difference in gaining his freedom.
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