Nonviolent Action around the World – 27 May 2009 (Part 2)

May 27, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL ASIA

Kazakhstan’s book ban and the issue of ‘prior restraint’
By: Ron Synovitz, Eurasianet, May 24, 2009
“Godfather-In-Law,” a book about Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, has struck a raw nerve with authorities in that country. Written by Nazarbaev’s exiled former son-in-law, Rakhat Aliev, the book is full of insider stories, allegations, and documentation about the man who has been Kazakhstan’s president since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Kazakh authorities are now attempting to stop everyone in the country from reading or even discussing the book.
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Uzbekistan: Tashkent’s job-creation plans may stoke rural discontent
By: Eurasianet, May 22, 2009
Amid a worsening financial picture in Uzbekistan, President Islam Karimov is pulling out his old Soviet playbook and trying to give new meaning to the concept of a command economy. But there appears to be a sizeable chance that the Uzbek government’s policy prescriptions could end up exacerbating social tension in the Central Asian nation. Uzbekistan, like other Central Asian states, has relied in recent years on remittances sent home by migrant laborers to help prop up the local economy.
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EUROPE

Croatia: Students suspend blockade of Zagreb school of philosophy
By: One World See, May 26, 2009
After 34 days of blockade, the Plenum of Students of Zagreb School of Philosophy decided to suspend the blockade of the school and restart the educational process. Students say that it doesn’t mean their struggle is over and that the Plenum will continue with regular meetings and actions. Students from 20 university schools and faculties in eight cities in Croatia participated in the past activities. The very magnitude of the action leaves the legacy of activism and network of contacts, and above all a platform of common demands and values.
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UK: Cameron in ‘people power’ pledge
By: BBC News,  May 26, 2009
David Cameron has pledged to bring “big change” to politics, including looking at introducing fixed-term Parliaments. A Tory government would restore “real people power” through a “radical” redistribution of power from Westminster, he said in a speech. But he ruled out a switch from the current first-past-the-post electoral system to proportional representation. Minister Jack Straw welcomed the speech but said a lot had been done, the Lib Dems said it did not go far enough.
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Armenia: Journalists defiant after new attacks
By: Gayane Mktchian, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, May 22, 2009
Armenian rights activists fear two attacks on prominent journalists in the last three weeks could be a sign of new attempts to restrict freedom of information in their country. Argishti Kivirian, editor-in-chief of the news agencies Armenia Today and Bagin.info, was attacked in the stairwell of his house on April 30, only just managing to force his assailants’ gun into the air before three shots were fired. Just a week later, Nver Mnatsakanian, a political commentator from the Shant television channel, was also beaten as he walked into the block of flats were he lived.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Why Palestinians are calling for a boycott of Israeli universities
By: Amjad Barham, Guardian UK, May 26, 2009
Palestinian academics have been heartened by the outpouring of solidarity with our people on the part of British academics and students – the latter attested to by the creative “student occupation movement” in the wake of the brutal Israeli war against the Palestinian people in Gaza last December and January. What does the Palestinian academic community expect from international colleagues?
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Two French activists cycle to Palestine
By: Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center, May 26, 2009
Two French peace activists arrived in the Palestinian territories riding their bicycles after cycling from France to Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Palestine. The aim of their trip is to have a field tour in Palestine and to visit its historic sites. They visited Bethlehem before cycling to Jericho and meeting its mayor, attorney Hasan Saleh who welcomed them and stated that such trips reveals the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people as the activists and visitors can observe these violations.
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Egypt quashes Saad Eddin Ibrahim jail term
By: BBC News, May 25, 2009
A court in Egypt has overturned a two-year jail sentence imposed on Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a prominent critic of President Hosni Mubarak’s government. Mr Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American academic living in exile in the US, was convicted last August of damaging Egypt’s reputation. He had said US aid should depend on political reform in Egypt. He said he was happy the conviction had been overturned, but that there were still other cases against him.
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Israel sends soldiers to try to shut down literature festival
By: Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, May 25, 2009
The Israeli government sent in troops on May 23 to try to break up the opening of the second annual Palestine Festival of Literature in East Jerusalem. Stephanie Saldana, an American writer living in Jerusalem, went to the Palestinian National Theater for what she thought was going to be the opening of the festival. “We arrived and the place was swarming with the Israeli army, with trucks and huge guns,” she wrote in an e-mail to a friend. “I am still in shock. To ban literature? To ban reading? How is this possible?”
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Jordan: Tears of grief, tears of joy
By: Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe, May 25, 2009
When the phone rang at his Chelmsford home, Mohamed Eljahmi knew it wasn’t good news. It was a man in Amman, Jordan, and Mohamed Eljahmi didn’t know him. All he said was that Mohamed’s 68-year-old brother, Fathi, was dead. “They killed him,” Mohamed Eljahmi said. “They let him out of prison so he could die in a hospital.” In Libya, Fathi Eljahmi built a successful business and became the most dangerous revolutionary who never lifted a weapon. He believed that people in Libya, that people all over the Arab world, deserved the same rights that people in the Western world take for granted.
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Iran blocks Facebook, outlet for opposition
By: Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, May 25, 2009
Iran blocked access to Facebook on Saturday in what opposition candidates said was an effort to sabotage their challenges to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Facebook has become hugely popular in Iran, where young urbanites use it to connect with friends, play online games and share photographs. Recently, lively discussions had taken place on the social-networking Web site among Iranians who wondered whether voting in the June 12 presidential election meant supporting Iran’s system of clerical rule, or, as some argued, could be used to remove Ahmadinejad.
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Moderate Iranian candidate criticizes Facebook ban
By: RFE/RL, May 25, 2009
A moderate challenger to hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has condemned the authorities for blocking access to the Facebook social networking site ahead of the June 12 presidential election. With the Internet playing a mounting role in political debate, authorities have curbed access to political, human rights, and news websites, and blocked Facebook on May 23. Former parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi said websites should be tolerated at “such a sensitive political period.”
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Egypt: My hotel is filled with young people who have come to ‘break the siege’
By: Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, May 25, 2009
It’s Monday night in Egypt. We are in El-Arish, a resort town about 20 minutes from the Gaza border, where we will go first thing tomorrow morning. I’m with a group of 13 activists and humanitarians mostly from New York, but the hotel is teeming with 45 or so other activists who have answered the call to come to Gaza to try and break the blockade.
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Palestine: A land of peace and hospitality, not of war and violence
By: Al Bawaba, May 24, 2009
This is the message that Palestinian children are launching through the slogans they have created for the campaign promoted by the artistic project Palombology, the first spiritual activist brand, a new artistic and cultural movement founded by the artist, illustrator, author and designer aleXsandro Palombo. Multireligiosity and multiculturalism are the characteristic features of the Palombology philosophy which through t-shirts, slogans and illustrations promotes faith and awareness, integration and dialogue between cultures, concepts of value to be reawakened and expressed openly.
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Facebook block ahead of Iran vote hampers youth
By: Ali Akbar Dareini, AP, May 24, 2009
Iran’s decision to block access to Facebook – less than three weeks before nationwide elections – drew sharp criticism Sunday from a reformist opposition hoping to mobilize the youth vote and unseat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The decision, critics said, forces Iranians to rely on state-run media and other government sources ahead of the June 12 election. It also appeared to be a direct strike at the youth vote that could pose challenges to Ahmadinejad’s re-election bid.
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Iran: Sentencing and exile of a political prisoner is confirmed
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, May 25, 2009
Political prisoner Hood Yazerlo was exiled to Raja’i prison in the city of Karaj after confirmation of his sentencing. Previously, on May 24, 2008, Mr. Yazerlo, a student of industrial management in the Independent University of Qazvin, was summoned before the court and subsequently detained. Mr. Yazerlo spent nine months in section 209 in Evin Prison and his trial was held in branch 17 of the Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Salavati, on February 17, following which he received a three-year jail term in exile.
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Israel: Bloggers back the struggle for workers’ rights
By: Carmel L. Vaisman, Global Voices, May 24, 2009
One of the issues Israeli bloggers truly care about and campaign for is workers’ rights. In recent years, several emerging workers unions from less expected sectors such as café waiters, security personnel and journalists, have blogged as part of their struggle and were able to create a vibrant discussion and rally support in the blogosphere. Many bloggers are concerned with supporting the academic staff of the Open University that has been on strike for five weeks and counting, and boycotting AMPM drugstores for their workers’ rights infringements.
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Saudi Arabia: Facebook and e-mail campaigns fuel lingerie boycott
By: Sarah Duguid, Financial Times, May 23, 2009
In 2006, the law in Saudi Arabia changed. It stated that women must staff all stores selling female items. But we are now entering the third year of the introduction of that law and still about 95 per cent of lingerie shops are staffed by men.
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Cannes Festival jury sends message to Iranian authorities by awarding prize to film co-scripted by Roxana Saberi
By: Reporters Without Borders, May 23, 2009
Reporters Without Borders hails the special jury prize which the Iranian film “No One Knows About Persian Cats” was awarded today in the “Un Certain Regard” section of the Cannes Film Festival. Co-scripted by the recently released Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, it opened this section of the festival on 14 May. “By singling out this film, the jury has deliberately sent a clear message to the Iranian authorities, who have banned it from being screened,” Reporters Without Borders said.
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Kuwait: Cinema censorship, quality woes and limited telecom services
By: Amer Al-Hilal, Global Voices, May 23, 2009
Amer Al-Hilal here, salutations from scorching hot Kuwait! Following the Kuwaiti elections and all the previous political drama, bloggers are now focusing their energies on entertainment and technology posts, with Cinescape, the Kuwaiti national cinema company monopoly, taking the brunt of the criticism from younger viewers due to quality control and censorship woes.
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Iran: Zhila Baniyaghoub wins “Courage in Journalism” prize
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, May 22, 2009
The International Women’s Media Foundation awarded its 2009 prize for Courage in Journalism to Zhila Baniyaghoub, an Iranian journalist. The foundation announced: “Ms. Baniyaghoub’s reports on sensitive political and social issues have resulted in her imprisonment”. In a statement issued by the foundation, Ms. Baniyaghoub was described as an independent journalist who is a managing editor of the website for the Iranian Women’s Center, saying: “she has continued her work under the most difficult situations for a reporter and a woman.”
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Libyan rights advocate dies in custody
By: Physicians for Human Rights, May 21, 2009
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) calls for an independent medical investigation into the demise of prominent Libyan prisoner of conscience Fathi al-Jahmi, who died May 21 in a hospital in Amman, Jordan. Mr. Al-Jahmi, an outspoken critic of the regime of Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, had been in the custody of Libyan security for the past five years, including most recently under guard at the Tripoli Medical Center.
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Saudi Arabia: Delay in elections a setback
By: Abdullah Shihri, AP, May 20, 2009
Rights activists said Wednesday that the Saudi government’s decision to delay municipal elections for two years was a setback to their push to open the country’s politics to the people. They also voiced skepticism of the government’s explanation that the delay was intended to allow it to study the possibility of allowing women to vote. Other observers held onto hope that the postponement of what would be only the second elections in the country’s history would result in the extension of voting rights to women.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Local women celebrate international disarmament successes
By: Relief Web, May 24, 2009
The Peace Studies Group and the Observatory on Gender and Armed Violence (OGVA) are joining with others around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, which took place on Sunday 24 May, 2009, and acknowledge some of our achievements and activism from the past 12 months.
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Facebook is the message inside humanity’s envelope
By: Luis de Miranda, openDemocracy, May 22, 2009
We can avoid using Facebook as a tool of narcissism or power if we recognise the bursting forth of possibility that characterisies human existence. Facebook could help transform humanity or could join ranks with other homogenising forces of fixed identities. The live-stream experience of Facebook is tragic, beautiful and painful.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Veinte países celebrarán día mundial de apoyo a campaña “Con la misma moneda”
By: FLAMUR Cuba, May 25, 2009
Veinte países celebrarán el próximo martes el día mundial de apoyo a la campaña “Con la misma moneda” que tiene como objetivo exigir al Gobierno de Cuba el pago en moneda nacional en todos los establecimientos de la isla caribeña.
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Madagascar: Le pouvoir à durée indéterminée
By: Jean-Dominique Geslin, Jeune Afrique, May 25, 2009
Partira? Partira pas? Au-delà du cas Mamadou Tandja, plusieurs dirigeants africains en délicatesse avec la communauté internationale ou, tout simplement, en désaccord avec le politiquement correct tentent de donner des signes de bonne volonté.
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Birmanie: Sauvons Aung San Suu Kyi
By: Courrier International, May 20, 2009
Tandis que le procès contre l’opposante birmane se prolonge, la mobilisation s’organise dans le monde pour obtenir sa libération. C’est le sens de l’appel lancé par Bo Hla Tint, membre de la Ligue nationale pour la démocratie, qui vit en exil aux Etats-Unis.
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NOTICE

Ethiopia: United Actions workshop
By: Kayo Hansen, United Actions Global Network, Addis Ababa, August 8, 2009, 10am – 3pm
If you had the chance to shape the future of Ethiopia…would you do it? The UA Workshop is an open forum where participants brainstorm, discuss and share ideas on how to create social change, practical solutions and sustainable development in Ethiopia. This session will cover the Millennium Development Goals, strategies and exploit new opportunities to break new ground and shape the future of Ethiopia.
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The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict is pleased to circulate this daily selective digest of world news related to past, present and potential nonviolent conflicts, including active civilian-based struggles against oppressive regimes, nonviolent resistance, political and social dissidence, and the use of nonviolent tactics in a variety of causes.  We also include stories that help readers glimpse the larger context of a conflict and that reflect on past historical struggles.

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