Nonviolent Action around the World – 29 April 2009 (Part 2)

April 29, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL ASIA

Masquerade eclipses Kazakhstan’s media problems at annual forum
By: Alexander Narodetsky, RFE, April 27, 2009
The eighth-annual Eurasian Media Forum recently concluded in the Kazakh capital, Almaty. That might look like a paradox, unless you knew that the April 23-24 forum was organized by Dariga Nazarbaeva, the daughter of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbaev. The preparations, the opening ceremony, the two-day discussions were all designed to make it look like a typical big international event, no less than the film festival in Nice or the Academy Awards.
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EUROPE

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev makes moves on human rights
By: Telegraph, APril 27, 2009
President Dmitry Medvedev’s willingness and eagerness to listen to the views of society was evident at a recent meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council for Promotion of Civil Society and Human Rights. The president heard from activists and ordered that a full transcripts of their unflattering remarks should be posted on the Kremlin site.
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Georgia: Cell protest in Tbilisi
By: Onnik Krikorian, Global Voices, April 26, 2009
‘A Year in Tbilisi’ pays a visit to some of the mock cells erected outside government buildings in the Georgian capital. The blog posts photographs and doesn’t seem convinced that the opposition movement demanding the president’s resignation stand much chance of succeeding.
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Belarus: “Lukashenka’s message to Europe – I was a dictator and I’ll be a dictator”
By: Charter 97, April 26, 2009
One of the organizers of the Chernobyl Way rally believes the authorities have given a signal to Europe – there will be no liberalization in Belarus. As Viktar Ivashkevich, deputy head of the Belarusian Popular Front party, told in an interview to the Charter’97 press center, the results of the Chernobyl Way rally showed “the authorities are afraid that people won’t be afraid. The sense is not that some thousands of people could go to the city center but to hinder them to do this, in others the others not to see it is possible. The authorities are using their best card – intimidation.”
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“European Belarus” activist arrested for action “No to new Chernobyl”
By: Charter 97, April 26, 2009
Yauhen Skrabets, Brest activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, was detained in Lida on April 25. Young oppositionists held a picket against constructing a nuclear power plant in Belarus. “European Belarus” activists unfurled a banner “No to New Chernobyl!” on the central square. Militia officers detained five participants of the action.
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Belarus: Attempt to break work of Charter’97 website
By: Charter 97, April 26, 2009
On April 26, at 12.30 p.m., officers of some sections of the Leninski district militia department came to an flat rented by journalist of Charter’97 website Natallya Radina. Militiamen tried to seize computers. Entered the apartment, militiamen of the Leninski militia department of Minsk said they were questioning the dwellers of the house in connection with a fact a bike was stolen at a firm nearby. Having seen computers in the flat, they called for reinforcement.
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Russia rights activist must be on guard
By: Megan Stack, LA Times, April 24, 2009
The prevalence of bodyguards and muscle-bound thugs is nothing new in this town, where “corporate raid” is often a literal term and businessmen — or their drivers — are well advised to pack heat. But in today’s Moscow, even human rights workers like Ponomaryov need bodyguards. His grown children insisted on hiring the guard after their father was attacked and left confined to bed for a week.
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Georgia: Political opposition confronts credibility gap
By: Molly Corso, Eurasia Net, April 23, 2009
What opposition leaders touted as “the final epoch” in their protest campaign to drive President Mikheil Saakashvili from power seems to have stalled before it got started. As a result, opposition leaders can expect to start facing questions about their own political futures in the coming days and weeks. But for now, they seem to be in a state of denial.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Saudis clamp down on women’s gyms
By: BBC News, April 27, 2009
Many women-only sports clubs and gyms in Saudi Arabia face closure under a government clampdown on unlicensed premises, Saudi media have reported. Women’s gyms have become popular in the ultra-conservative Muslim country where the sexes are heavily segregated. But only clubs linked to medical groups can get licenses and others will be closed, the Arab News newspaper said.
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West Bank: Violence is futile in Bil’in
By: Seth Freedman, Guardian, April 27, 2009
The Palestinians are stuck between (throwing) a rock and a hard place when it comes to taking on the might of the
Israeli military machine. They know they haven’t a hope in hell of winning via an armed struggle, yet are equally and painfully aware that the odds are stacked heavily against them while the likes of the EU and the US back Israel to the hilt in diplomatic circles. However that doesn’t mean that, in the absence of a plausible strategy, they ought to resort to the very methods that have failed them time and again in the past.
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Nonviolent protests against West Bank barrier turn increasingly dangerous
By: Rory McCarthy, Guardian, April 27, 2009
It began calmly enough with a march down the high street after midday prayers at the mosque. Palestinian villagers were surrounded by dozens of foreigners singing and waving flags. They turned and headed out to the olive-tree fields and up towards the broad path of Israel’s West Bank barrier. There, behind a concrete hilltop bunker, the Israeli soldiers looked down on them.
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US journalist jailed in Iran ‘very weak’
By: Iran Focus, April 27, 2009
The father of an American journalist jailed in Iran for allegedly spying for the U.S. says his daughter is “very weak” after seven days on a hunger strike. Reza Saberi and his wife met with their daughter in prison on Monday. He said his daughter, Roxana, is “very weak and pale.” Roxana Saberi was convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison more than a week ago, though Iran has released few details on its allegations.
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U.S. journalist goes on hunger strike in Iran prison
By: Ramin Mostaghim and Jeffrey Fleishman, LA Times, April 26, 2009
An American journalist convicted by Iran of spying for the U.S. has gone on a hunger strike to protest her eight-year prison sentence, her father said Saturday. Reza Saberi said his daughter, Roxana, 31, began her hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin Prison on Tuesday. She was sentenced last weekend after a one-day trial in which she was found guilty of charges that she had used her role as a reporter to spy for U.S. intelligence services.
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Israel/Palestine: This headline is nonviolent
By: Ronit Avni, Haaretz, April 26, 2009
Imagine if journalists were to seek out the perspectives of non-violent civic leaders the way they seek out the views of militarists and militants. What would it mean if every week we heard from people committed to gaining security or freedom through constructive collective action instead of by force of arms? Unlike a missile strike or bus bombing, the perspectives that inform non-violent action can be more challenging to encapsulate in a single image. Yet they are of vital importance to the public.
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West Bank: One week after the murder of Bassem Abu Rahmah, 25 injured in Bil’in demonstration to build his memorial
By: Friends of Freedom and Justice- Bilin, April 25, 2009
Twenty five protesters were injured today following the end of the 4th Annual International Conference of Popular Resistance in Bil’in. Injuries ranged from light to moderate and most were caused by rubber coated steel bullets. Fadi Al-Arori from Routers news agency, Mohib Barghouti from Al-Haya newspaper and Israeli activist and filmmaker, Shai Pollack, all had their cameras broken by the Israeli army.
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Iran: Hunger strike by hundreds of students in Bou Ali Sina University in Hamedan
By: IHRV, April 25, 2009
Hundreds of student from Bou Ali Sina University in the city of Hamedan declared a hunger strike in a sign of protest against the poor quality of food served. The students in this university in a spontaneous move held a sit-in protest and the list of their grievances included improvement in the quality of food served in the university, clarity on the issues of the dormitories, book subsidies and others.
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Iran: Esmail Salmanpour’s condition is critical inside medical unit of Evin Prison
By: IHRV, April 25, 2009
Esmail Salmanpour is a student activist and a member of the students’ Islamic Society in Amir Kabir University.  On February 6, Mr. Salmanpour was arrested during a ceremony to pay tribute to Engineer Bazargan.  He was transferred from the Intelligence section of the jail to the medical unit of Evin Prison.
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Egypt’s first free trade union to have ‘ripple effect’ in civil society?
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, April 24, 2009
Egypt’s first independent union was launched this week in a potentially significant move for the country’s labor movement and for freedom of association under an increasingly authoritarian regime. The Solidarity Center reports that the 27,000-member Real Estate Tax Authority Union was formed when workers voted to form a union following a national strike and a 12-day sit-in by 10,000 employees in front of the prime minister’s office in Cairo.
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Egypt: Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for Facebook too
By: Jesse Walker, Reason, April 23, 2009
In the wake of Egypt’s fizzled “Facebook Youth” strike — it had been scheduled for April 6, the first anniversary of an uprising in the textile town of Mahalla al-Kobra — Mark Lynch has some thoughts on the drawbacks of that particular medium in that particular context: I have a hard time thinking of a communications technology more poorly suited for organizing high-risk political collective action than Facebook.
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Israeli journalist: ‘[Palestinian] nonviolent struggle never made Israel even think about abandoning the land it conquered’
By: Mondoweiss, April 23, 2009
Journalist Noam Sheizaf writes for the daily Israeli newspaper Maariv and has a blog called Promised Land. His most recent post is a useful response to anyone who thinks that things in Israel/Palestine would be different “if only the Palestinians were more like Gandhi.” He uses the recent killing of Bassam Ibrahim Abu Rahmah in Bil’in as a reminder that Israel’s response to Palestinian resistance has nothing to do with the form that it takes, but the ultimate goal of controlling the land.
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Democracy in Iran: Change begins at the ballot box
By: Mark Fowler, Huffington Post, April 21, 2009
America is at its best when it leads by example. This will be particularly important as the U.S. administration strives to fashion a new policy towards Iran. President Obama has made a very public offer to the Islamic Republic and while their response so far is not encouraging, it was not altogether unexpected by those who know Iran. There is simply too much at stake, however, to rely on the same tired old prescriptions, and while it will not be easy we will need to persevere and approach this effort with a new level of nuance and creativity.
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Saberi case roils US-Iran relations, Iranian politics
By: Juan Cole, Informed Comment, April 20, 2009
Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, just convicted of espionage and sentenced to 8 years in prison, should be afforded every opportunity for a thorough legal defense in her appeal, according to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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OCEANIA

Australia: Hundreds of Tamils protest in Sydney
By: The Age, April 26, 2009
Hundreds of noisy Tamil protesters have rallied in Sydney’s CBD, calling on Australians to boycott Sri Lankan products. About 800 protesters marched up George St, stopping traffic and Sunday afternoon shoppers in their tracks. Many waved red flags and carried banners which read: “Australia call for a permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka” and “250,000 Tamils displaced”.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Creating an online strategy
By: DigiActive, April 23, 2009
Today I “attended” a webinar on online strategy hosted by the New Organizing Institute.  The presenter was Michael Silberman, a partner and co-founder of EchoDitto, a communications firm founded by the techies of the Howard Dean campaign.  Below are Michael’s steps to building an online strategy.  I’ve presented his ideas, which are aimed at American non-profits, and then given commentary on how the steps relate to grassroots activists in other countries.  I’ve also added examples from international digital activism.
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World Digital Library aims to promote global understanding
By: RFE, April 21, 2009
The UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, the U.S. Library of Congress, and other partner institutions are launching a World Digital Library on April 21 — a website featuring cultural materials from libraries and archives around the world. It’s an attempt to promote peace and global cultural understanding through digital Internet technology. Archivists at libraries around the world are teaming up to create the digital database of manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, artwork, and photographs from their collections.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Mauritania: Jusqu’où ira Abdelaziz?
By: Marianne Meunier, Jeune Afrique, April 27, 2009
Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz démissionne de l’armée et quitte la tête de la junte au pouvoir pour s’ouvrir les portes de la présidentielle du 6 juin. Si les plus démunis, qu’il a pris soin de choyer, s’en félicitent, une partie de la classe politique craint une élection « sur mesure ».
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Durban II: Les acteurs d’un succès inattendu
By: Stephane Bussard, Courrier International, April 24, 2009
Apre compétition entre ONG, diatribe du président iranien contre l’Occident et contre Israël, adoption par acclamation (par 182·Etats) mardi, trois jours avant la fin du sommet et, à la surprise générale, d’une déclaration finale jugée globalement bonne. La conférence d’examen de Durban sur le racisme, qui s’achève ce vendredi sur un succès, au Palais des Nations à Genève, était porteuse d’une très forte charge émotionnelle.
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BOOK REVIEW

‘Building Peace Practical Reflections From the Field’
By: Craig Zelizer, Robert Rubinstein, April 24, 2009
Even though international peacebuilding has rapidly expanded in the last two decades to respond to more multi-faceted and complex conflicts, the field has lagged behind in documenting the impact and success of projects. To help address this gap, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, one of the leading networks in the field, has brought together 13 stories of innovative peacebuilding practices from around the world in Building Peace.
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NOTICES
Call for applications, Women PeaceMakers Program, University of San Diego, US
By: Peace and Collaborative Development Network, April 26, 2009
Made possible through a generous grant from the Fred J. Hansen Foundation, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice’s (IPJ) Women PeaceMakers Program invites four women from around the world who have been locally involved in human rights and peacemaking efforts. Women accepted into this program are seeking ways to further their peacemaking efforts in their home countries.
For more information…

Launch of the Peace Media Clearinghouse
A new resource for peacemakers
Find documentaries, films, shows, podcasts, songs, video games, and other multimedia about peace and conflict management; Use them in your work as educators, trainers, practitioners, policy makers, or students; Explore a wide range of topics, such as conflict prevention, nonviolence, post-conflict reconstruction, refugees, child soldiers, rule of law, religion, climate change, terrorism, and much more; Search for multimedia by region, country, media type, and issue area.
For more information…

Peace and Collaborative Development Network
This is an invitation to join Peace and Collaborative Development Network, an online initiative to bring together professionals, academics and students involved in Conflict Resolution, Nonviolence,  Human Rights, International Development, Democratization, Social Entrepreneurship and related fields.
For more information…

Call for application, Atkin Fellowship
Deadline for applications: June 8, 2009
The purpose of the fellowship is to provide young leaders from Israel and the Arab world who occupy positions from they can shape politics and public opinion in Israel and the Arab world.
For more information…


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.

If you have specific items that you would like us to include in the daily digest, please send them to us.  If there is a news or information source that you believe we may not be accessing, for purposes of selecting items, please bring that to our attention. Thank you.