Each week, ICNC features 5-10 news stories from around the world related to nonviolent conflict. These stories are shared with you via our website, our News Digest, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Featured news stories are ones that can stimulate conversation about the phenomena of nonviolent conflict and civil resistance. ICNC does not necessarily endorse any of the views expressed in these articles or any comments left by visitors to our site. Featured articles remain posted for 30 days, after which time they can be found by searching our nonviolent conflict news database.
Elias, Mereja, October 29, 2014
A civil resistance campaign for self-liberation is a highly complex project. In order to increase the chances for success, resistance leaders need to formulate a comprehensive plan of action that is capable of strengthening the people, weakening and then disintegrating the dictatorship, and building a durable democracy. To achieve such a plan of action, a careful assessment of the situation and of options for effective action is needed. Without five critical essentials, including unity, strategy, funding, discipline, and patience, a civil resistance plan cannot garner the support nor stability to succeed.
Lizzie Crocker, The Daily Beast, October 31, 2014
The 21-year-old North Korea defector Yeonmi Park watched her father die and her friend’s mother executed. In a candid interview, she compares the brutality of life in North Korea to the Holocaust and chronicles her two-year journey to escape to South Korea. “A turning point in my life was when I watched the movie Titanic,” Yeonmi said. “It wasn’t propaganda but a story about people willing to die for love. It made me realize that I was controlled by the regime. I was not aware, like a fish is not aware of water. North Koreans don’t know the concept of freedom or human rights. They don’t know that they are slaves.”
BBC, October 30, 2014
Memorial is Russia's oldest civil rights group, established in the late 1980s by dissidents including Andrei Sakharov. The organization works to restore the memory of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Soviet political repression by organizing remembrance ceremonies. Over the years, its activists have been a regular thorn in the government's side, documenting human rights violations in Chechnya, political detentions, and more recently criticizing Russian involvement in the crisis in Ukraine. But Memorial's survival hangs on the line: Russia's justice ministry has called for Memorial to be "liquidated", throwing the group's future into doubt and raising protest at home and abroad.
MadubesBrainPot, October 22, 2014
People often ask why Zimbabweans speak of a repressive government when freedom ‘of’ expression is guaranteed in the Constitution and articles can freely be published. However, they often overlook that freedom ‘of’ expression does not guarantee freedom ‘after’ expression, when people are often given ‘visits’ to police cells and often extends to bruises and broken bones for those who dare go onto the street to protest. In response, we (Zimbabweans) have taken to our creative juices; letting our grievances out in the flow of our words, and in satire we have found expression, and the ability to say things we would dare not say openly. Richard Matimba's skit, popularly known as “Uncle Richie,” has widened the doors to our freedom of expression.
George Soros, NY Review of Books, November 2014
Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence. Neither the European leaders nor their citizens are fully aware of this challenge. Russia is presenting an alternative that poses a fundamental challenge to the values and principles of the EU, which is based on the use of force that manifests itself in repression at home and aggression abroad. Western authorities have also ignored what I call the “new Ukraine,” which was born in the successful resistance on the Maidan, which was led by the cream of civil society. But the new Ukraine has to contend with Russian aggression.
Mona Eltahawy, NY Times, October 23, 2014
Coinciding with President el-Sisi’s address to the UN General Assembly, advertisements introducing a “New Egypt: Peace, Prosperity & Growth,” were posted last month in Times Square. But the “New Egypt” in these ads is as much an illusion as Mr. Sisi’s address to the General Assembly, in which he cited a respect for human rights and a country where journalists worked and expressed themselves freely. In reality, almost four years after those mesmerizing scenes from Tahrir Square, human rights abuses are ever prevalent in Egypt and these three different billboards tell the story of the dissent and unrest that still seethe beneath the surface.
Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, October 22, 2014
This past summer in Cape Town, Bryan Farrell met handfuls of inspirational peace and justice activists from around the world. In Farrell's short interview with Mkhuseli Jack, we learn of Mkhuseli's birth into a situation akin to slavery and how he became a revered figure of the anti-apartheid struggle. His leadership of the Consumer Boycott Campaign in the city of Port Elizabeth during the 1980s played a major role in destabilizing the regime. In this podcast, you’ll hear about his incredible personal journey, and the infectious optimism that continues to fuel it, and be treated to a 60-voice African choir singing the South African National Anthem.
Doron Shultziner, openDemocracy, October 22, 2014
The dramatic Hong Kong democracy movement caught¬ the world’s media by surprise, and even its student initiators did not expect the widespread participation that it has gathered. As the umbrella movement nears its one-month anniversary, it has already made several important achievements, but it also faces challenges inasmuch as the Chinese leadership appears unwilling to compromise and public protests take their toll on participants and their energies. Can the umbrella movement win and if so how? Doron Shultziner analyzes the current situation in Hong Kong, noting the achievements thus far and deliberating possible ways forward for the movement.
Brian Martin, openDemocracy, October 22, 2014
Shaazka Beyerle's new book Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice is the first major treatment of how popular nonviolent action can be a powerful approach for challenging corruption. She documents fascinating episodes of popular action being used as a tool to target corruption after in-depth investigations of people’s anti-corruption campaigns in 16 countries. Her book reports on 12 of them, including ones in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Afghanistan and Uganda, and the result is a rich compendium of information about popular anti-corruption struggles, with ideas worth exploring and developing further. Curtailing Corruption leaves readers with an important message: people power - organised collective action by citizens - can be a powerful force against corruption, often far more effective than formal processes run by government agencies and international bodies.
Saeed Kamali Dehghan, The Guardian, October 22, 2014
Thousands of people have staged a protest in Isfahan, Iran’s top tourist destination, demanding authorities bring to an end a spate of acid attacks on young women that has sparked horror and outrage. Assailants riding on motorbikes, in a similar sequence of events, have thrown acid in the face of at least eight women who were driving in the street with their windows pulled down. Local media say the number of victims could be higher. The attacks have so far claimed one life, an opposition website said. Many Iranians believe that victims were targeted because they were women wearing clothes that could be deemed inappropriate in the eyes of hardliners – a claim vehemently denied by the authorities.