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.
Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, April 19, 2015
Russian writer Vladimir Voinovich said that Russia needs a revolution – not a violent one, or a Ukrainian-style orange one, but a revolution that “should take place in people’s minds…Not only Putin is to blame, the society…allows him to do whatever he wants.” There is another Russia. It is represented by the murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, and the people who come to lay flowers on the bridge where he was assassinated. While some must have been frightened by that murder, a brave few have redoubled their defiance.
David A. Graham, The Atlantic, April 21, 2015
After a popular uprising brought down Hosni Mubarak, Mohammed Morsi served as the first democratically elected president of Egypt. But today a former general leads the government, and a court has sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison. The Muslim Brotherhood's political party is again banned, and for Mubarak, charges against him have been dismissed and his sons have been let out of jail. The revolution has taken a 360-degree turn back to where it started. It's hard to know whether the Morsi verdict represents the ratifying of a return to the old system. For the time being, it shows that nothing is final in Egyptian politics.
Kerry Brown, openDemocracy, April 22, 2015
For those who strenuously try to preserve neutrality about political issues in China, the case of jailed journalist Gao Yu is the hardest to comprehend. Her crime was reportedly to have leaked a document, simply titled "Document Number 9." There is nothing in Document Number 9 that might have threatened national security or citizens' lives. The only basis for noticing it was that the document was evidently embarrassing for whoever in the party machinery authorised it.
Michael Welton, CounterPunch, April 24, 2015
It is not easy to imagine how “public space” can be carved out of totalitarian rock. Civil society is an “arena of deliberative exchange in which rational-critical arguments rather than mere inherited ideas…could determine agreements and actions." Jacek Kuron of Solidarity wrote of the “self-limiting revolution” whose goal was the “constitution from below of a highly articulated, organized, autonomous, and mobilizable civil society” These days the Left is jaundiced about the Velvet Revolution and the buoyant air has been squeezed out of the Arab Spring. But when the ice melts from history’s window, we do see something of what is possible when we stop being afraid.
Gabriel Domínguez, DW, April 23, 2015
A new Amnesty International report warns of a "climate of fear" spreading in the Maldives. It accuses the authorities of muzzling peaceful protesters, silencing critical media and civil society, while at the same time abusing the judicial system to imprison opposition politicians. The most well-known case is that of former President Mohamed Nasheed, sentenced in March to 13 years in prison. “The international community must wake up and realize that behind the façade of a tourist paradise, there is a dark trend in the Maldives where the human rights situation is rapidly deteriorating," said Abbas Faiz.
Violet Law, Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2015
The government has officially put forth its proposed rules for the territory’s scheduled 2017 election of a chief executive, opening the next chapter in a long-running fight over democratic reforms. A group of legislators immediately denounced the Beijing-backed plan as undemocratic. "This proposal will continue to allow a clique to control the elections and condemn the public to acting as voting automatons," pro-democratic leader Alan Leong said. He then led his kindred colleagues -- all dressed in black T-shirts emblazoned with a bright yellow cross-check mark to signify their intended “no” vote -- to stomp out of the chamber in protest.
Nilanjana S. Roy & Radhaben Garva, Granta, Spring 2015
It’s easy to ignore the long histories of activism, engagement and protest that are part of the village tradition because rural Indians aren’t invited to be guests on urban India’s TV shows. In Baraya, Kutch, there was an older, now legendary movement: the Chipko Andolan, which gets its name from ‘stick to’ or ‘stuck to’. It was in the early 1970s that this group of villagers stopped the forcible cutting-down of trees by putting their arms around the trees assigned for felling and refusing to move until the timber contractors and the forest department backed down.
Yigal Schleifer, Slate, April 22, 2015
For many, the massive 2013 Gezi Park demonstrations were a reflection of something much larger: a once reform-minded and democratizing government that was becoming increasingly heavy-handed and intolerant of dissent, with a leader, President Erdogan, who was growing imperious and authoritarian. “The government got scared by what we did, so they picked some names and decided to make an example of us,” one activist said. Erdogan has become the single most important force driving today’s Turkish foreign and domestic policy—the new sultan, as both his critics and admirers have dubbed him.
May Wong, Stanford CDDRL, April 14, 2015
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of Russia’s most visible opposition figures in recent years, spoke at a forum at Stanford University about his vision and hope for an “open Russia”. A former political prisoner who is now living in exile in Switzerland, Khodorkovsky wants to see established a democratic structure of power with an independent judiciary and an influential parliament. “We often hear that the opposition in Russia doesn’t stand a chance, that this is just an impossible dream,” he said. “But [the] history of humanity was based on this type of dream,” he said, citing Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Curtis Ryan, Middle East Research and Information Project, Spring 2015
A grassroots coalition has been growing in Jordan, aimed at putting a stop to a major gas deal with Israel. On March 6, at least a thousand protesters marched against a proposed transaction by which the kingdom would purchase most of its natural gas from Israel. Jordan has seen other issue-specific grassroots activism recently, but the anti-gas deal campaign has revived cooperation across ideological lines. Protests include Islamists, leftist and pan-Arab nationalist political parties, trade unions, professional associations, women’s rights organizations, youth organizations, and even the association for retired military officers.