Nonviolent Action around the World – 26 August 2009 (Part 2)

August 26, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
Silence from Chinese students on the campus where Tiananmen rang loud
By: Alec Ash, Huffington Post, August 24, 2009
Last year, while studying Mandarin at Peking University, I chatted every Thursday with a student friend over a coffee (literally ‘a’: she drinks water). Matilda, to use her English name, (…) studies linguistics, reads Kant — sometimes on the sly during lessons on Marx — and is a thoughtful, critical thinker. On Thursday June 4th 2009, I asked her thoughts on the anniversary. It took her a while to remember the date. ‘Oh yes, I forgot. Yes, that was really bad’, she blushed, embarrassed to have forgotten and expressing the same forced interest as I do when trying not to be impolite to my grandparents while they reminisce.
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Leading China rights lawyer freed on bail
By: Phayul, August 24, 2009
Leading Chinese rights lawyer, Xu Zhiyong, was freed Sunday but may face prosecution if he does not pay a fine for alleged tax evasion, according to media reports. His assistant Zhuang Lu was freed on Saturday.
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Journalist shot dead in Pakistan
By: BBC, August 24, 2009
Unidentified gunmen have shot dead an Afghan journalist in north-west Pakistan, officials say. Janullah Hashimzada, 40, was the bureau chief in Peshawar for Afghanistan’s Shamshad television channel.
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Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi worse off this time in detention
By: Phanida, Mizzima, August 24, 2009
Detained Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s situation under house arrest this time around is worse than her earlier term, her lawyer Nyan Win said. The Burmese opposition leader was escorted back to her lakeside house on August 11, after her three-year prison with hard labour was commuted to 18 months.
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Burma: Activists protest Htay Oo’s secret visit to Japan
By: Phoe Zaw, Mizzima, August 24, 2009
Burmese activists on Monday held a protest rally against the secret visit to Japan by Htay Oo, Secretary of the pro-junta civilian organization – the Union Solidarity and Development Association – outside the hotel where he is staying. The demonstrators hoisted the flag of the ‘fighting peacock’, a symbol representing the spirit of revolution in front of “The New Otani” hotel in Tokyo, where Htay Oo is putting up.
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Burma: Army torches over 300 houses of ethnic Shan
By: Myo Gyi, Mizzima, August 24, 2009
Over 300 houses were torched last month by local Burmese Army columns from townships in southern Shan State, the armed ethnic Shan group statement said. A statement issued by the ‘Restoration Council of Shan State’ (RCSS) on August 21 said six Burmese Army battalions set over 300 houses on fire since July 27.
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China releases three activists
By: Michael Wines, NY Times, August 23, 2009
Chinese authorities unexpectedly released three political activists from detention on Sunday, including one whose case had drawn global attention. Officials offered no reason for the releases, but they occurred one day after the new American ambassador to China, former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah, arrived in Beijing.
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Under burqas, Afghan women voted in protest
By: Yahoo News, August 21, 2009
Whether American troops can leave Afghanistan sooner rather than later depends on democracy’s gains in that war-ravaged country – and the gains of women, too. Thursday’s elections for president and local councils were such a gain – seen especially in the turnout of women to vote in defiance of Taliban threats of retaliation.
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China: Uyghur women step forward
By: Rachel Vandenbrink, Radio Free Asia, August 21, 2009
With authorities detaining hundreds of men belonging to the Uyghur minority group in China’s northwest, Uyghur women are moving increasingly to the forefront in protests and public life, experts say. “They have to fight. They have to protect their families, their children, their husbands,” one Uyghur woman, living in U.S. exile and in constant contact with Uyghurs back home in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), said in an interview.
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Burma: ASEAN urge Suu Kyi appeal
By: Francis Wade, Democratic Voice of Burma, August 21, 2009
Senior ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have agreed to urge regional foreign ministers to appeal to Burma for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, following talks in Jakarta. The meeting follows international outcry over Suu Kyi’s sentencing last week to a further 18 months under house arrest, which will keep her in detention beyond the elections next year.
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East Timor: Celebrating global solidarity for freedom
By: Janet Gunter, Global Voices Online, August 21, 2009
Ten years after the referendum, global voices are again spreading the word for East Timor, but this time celebrating the strong international solidarity that back then culminated in the country’s recognized self-determination. The release of journalist Max Stahl’s video recording of the outrageous Massacre de Santa Cruz in 1991 increased global awareness about the crimes occurring in East Timor under the Indonesian occupation.
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Vietnam to put democracy activists on trial
By: Earth Times, August 20, 2009
Vietnam is to try a group of pro-democracy activists on charges of violating national security, state media reported Thursday. The state-run Viet Nam News said Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security had “arrested or summoned” a total of 27 people in the case. Five have already been charged and placed in detention. The newspaper did not specify how many people would eventually be tried, or when charges would be brought.
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TOP

 

CENTRAL ASIA
Azerbaijan: Fresh charges brought against detained bloggers
By: Eurasia Net, August 24, 2009
Azerbaijani prosecutors have charged detained youth activists and video bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade with causing “mild injury” to an unspecified victim, the pair’s defense attorney told an August 24 news conference in Baku. The two young men were originally charged with hooliganism in what has become a cause célèbre for free speech rights in the South Caucasus.
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Kyrgyzstan: A color revolution in Bishkek fades to black
By: Jeff Goldstein, Moscow Times, August 24, 2009
Outside observers sometimes see what they want to see in Kyrgyzstan. In its early years of independence, some in the West called the country’s first president, Askar Akayev, “the Thomas Jefferson of Central Asia.” This overlooked the fact that as early as 1994, Akayev demonstrated a disturbing tendency toward authoritarian rule. By the time he was overthrown in the 2005 Tulip Revolution, Akayev’s rule was characterized by widespread corruption and clan-based political favoritism.
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The president of Tajikistan is preparing the successor
By: Ferghana, August 12, 2009
The President of Tajikistan is a lucky father: he has seven daughters and two sons. The eldest son of Emomali Rakhmnon – Rustami Emomali – is 22 and his father views him as the successor. Despite the fact that Rakhmon let nobody get close to him, apparently, his son is another story.
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EUROPE
Russia: Where violence flourishes
By: Masha Lipman, The Washington Post, August 24, 2009
Last Monday a truck loaded with explosives rammed the gate of a police station in Ingushetia, a tiny republic in North Caucasus. The suicide attack killed more than 20 police officers and injured a hundred civilians. Violence in Ingushetia and the region at large is rising, the result of incompetent local governance as well as the Kremlin’s neglect.
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Russia accuses Ukraine on Georgia
By: BBC, August 24, 2009
Ukrainian troops fought alongside Georgian forces in the brief conflict last August between Georgia and Russia, Moscow prosecutors say. Regular soldiers, as well as 200 members of a Ukrainian nationalist group, took part in the fighting, the prosecutor general’s office said.
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Baltics mark anti-Soviet protest
By: Al Jazeera, August 23, 2009
Tens of thousands of people in the Baltic states have marked the twentieth anniversary of the ‘Baltic Way’ – when two million people formed a human chain to protest against Soviet rule. About 50,000 people participated in a relay on Sunday along the original 678km route that runs through Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, organisers said.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Saudi women face uphill battle in abuse cases
By: Abeer Allam, Financial Times, August 24, 2009
When Lulwah Abdul Rahman protested against her father’s rejection of all would-be husbands because they were from outside her tribe, her life and career were shattered. “The laws and the society confer absolute power on the father and brother, regardless of how cruel or incompetent they are,” says Ms Abdul Rahman, 28, who has fled her home and currently lives in a shelter for abused women.
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Israeli Arab diplomat curb mooted
By: BBC, August 24, 2009
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has proposed a new regulation that would prevent most Israeli Arabs from becoming career diplomats. He said that only those who complete military service should be eligible for training with the foreign ministry. Israeli Arabs are citizens of Israel – although their “civic duty” differs as they are exempt from compulsory military service. But Israeli Arabs frequently describe themselves as “second-class citizens” and say they face institutional and social discrimination.
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One dead in south Yemen protest over water cuts
By: Mohamed al-Mokhashef, Reuters, August 24, 2009
At least one Yemeni was shot dead and three wounded when protesters clashed with police on Sunday in Aden in southern Yemen where several districts have gone days without water, police and witnesses said. At least two of the wounded were police, the sources said.
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Egypt: The President and the Arab status quo
By: Saad Eddin Ibrahim, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2009
As a candidate, Barack Obama pledged not to support dictators friendly to the United States. Yet despite this promise, President Obama welcomes Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the White House this week.
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Row as Tunisia journalists’ union picks member of the ruling party
By: The Peninsula, August 17, 2009
Tunisia’s Journalists’ Union has elected a member of the ruling party as its new leader, prompting opposition claims its independence was being compromised two months before a presidential election. The union has been an independent voice in the North African country of 10 million people where critics say the government exercises tight control over politics and the media.
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Israeli troops ‘ill-treat kids’
By: BBC, August 6, 2009
A former Israeli military commander has told the BBC that Palestinian youngsters are routinely ill-treated by Israeli soldiers while in custody, reports the BBC’ s Katya Adler from Jerusalem and the West Bank. “You take the kid, you blindfold him, you handcuff him, he’s really shaking… Sometimes you cuff his legs too. Sometimes it cuts off the circulation. Eran Efrati is a former commander in Israel’s army. He served in the occupied West Bank.
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OCEANIA
Does Fiji water legitimize a dictatorship?
By: Anna Lenzer, Toward Freedom, August 24, 2009
Obama sips it. Paris Hilton loves it. Mary J. Blige won’t sing without it. How did a plastic water bottle, imported from a military dictatorship thousands of miles away, become the epitome of cool?
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Papua’s independence aspirations persist despite autonomy
By: Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post,August 22, 2009
The granting of special autonomy to the Papua region has not proven sufficient enough to quell the ongoing internal struggle of its people for independence and separation from Indonesia. “The root of the problem is Papua’s political status, which is not recognized by Indonesia or the world.”
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New Zealand: Tonga extends emergency regulations
By: Radio New Zealand International August 21, 2009
Tonga’s Privy Council has approved a cabinet decision to extend emergency regulations in the capital for another month. The regulations, which were first put in place in Nuku’alofa after riots in November 2006, give the police and military extraordinary powers, and apply to a specified zone in the heart of the city.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Know thine enemy
By: Noam Cohen, The NY Times, August 23, 2009
Saul Alinsky, the Chicago activist and writer whose street-smart tactics influenced generations of community organizers, most famously the current president, could not have been more clear about which side he was on. In his 1971 text, “Rules for Radicals,” Mr. Alinsky, who died in 1972, explains his purpose: “What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be.”
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Suppression: Act now to safeguard civil society
By: Charles Kabonero, CIVICUS, August 21, 2009
While the financial and economic meltdown is seen as the major challenge that civil society currently faces, the depth of increasing attacks on civil society activists, mainly from governments, suggests that the shrinking space for civil society is the prime threat. An analysis of repressive environments for civil society in Venezuela, Burma and Russia as cases in point, justifies such thinking.
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When David fought Goliath in Washington Square Park
By: Dwight Garner, The Washington Post, August 5, 2009
Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs are the subject and the author of two of the most indelible nonfiction books of the 20th century: Robert Caro’s biography of Moses, “The Power Broker” (1974) and Jacobs’s own “Death and Life of Great American Cities” (1961). Moses and Jacobs clashed during the 1950s and ’60s over three of the huge public works projects Moses tried to force on Manhattan. It took an accidental activist, Jacobs, and her ability to marshal popular support and political will, to stop them.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Saudi Arabia: Blocage des pages Twitter de deux cyberdissidents
By: Reporters Sans Frontierds, August 24, 2009
Reporters sans frontières exprime sa vive inquiétude suite au blocage, le 20 août 2009, des pages du site de micro-blogs Twitter de deux militants des droits de l’hommes saoudiens, Walid Abdelkhair et Khaled al- Nasser, qui semble avoir été motivé par leurs activités de protestations sur le site. “Nous condamnons le blocage des pages Twitter de ces cyberdissidents et demandons leur remise en service immédiate. Cette situation est très préoccupante et symptomatique du durcissement de la répression dont sont victimes les internautes saoudiens,” a déclaré l’organisation.
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Mali: Code de la famille – “la femme reste femme et l’homme reste homme”
By: Jeune Afrique, August 24, 2009
Le nouveau code de la famille proposé au Mali n’en finit plus de créer la polémique. Une grande manifestation de contestation a été organisée par le Haut conseil islamique, dénonçant notamment la “dérive” vers l’égalité hommes/femmes.
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Peru: Forte controverse autour d’un projet de loi attentatoire à la liberté d’opinion
By: Reporters Sans Frontierds, August 20, 2009
Reporters sans frontières demande au Congrès de renoncer à l’adoption d’un projet de loi d’initiative gouvernementale, présenté le 19 août 2009, durcissant les clauses et les sanctions relatives à la rectification de propos rapportés par voie de presse. Cette modification législative s’appliquerait également à Internet.
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BOOK REVIEW
The Disappeared by Kim Echlin
By: Stevie Davies, The Guardian, August 22, 2009
Readers of Kim Echlin’s electrifying new novel, set in the Khmer Rouge killing fields of 1970s Cambodia, can hardly help but be aware of the UN-backed tribunal on Pol Pot’s genocide, now in session. Cambodia’s wounds are absolutely fresh and raw: the bones of the dead still work their way to the surface.
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NOTICES
Cartooning in conflict
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, August 24, 2009
The PCFF, together with Israel’s most famous cartoonist ‘Kichka’ as curator, have created an exhibition of cartoons with a reflection on conflict, its consequences and in many of the works hope and reconciliation. This exhibit, will act as a catalyst for the Parents Circle – Families Forum to bring its message of empathy rather than revenge, of dialog rather than violence to an audience who might otherwise never have been exposed to an alternative to the hatred and impasse in the Middle East.
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