Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

“Cette guerre est une guerre des cultures” : Le monde de l’art, un leader de la lutte non-violente contre l’occupation en Ukraine

J’ai rencontré Olga Sagaidak en mai dernier au Centre culturel ukrainien de Paris, en France. Dans le grand salon où j’ai mené notre entretien, les murs étaient tapissés du sol au plafond de photographies stupéfiantes de destructions de guerre et d’œuvres d’art de rue protestant contre l’invasion de l’Ukraine par Poutine. Mon estomac s’est noué lorsque, me penchant vers l’avant pour voir de plus près un dessin anti-guerre, j’ai réalisé qu’il avait en fait été dessiné par la main d’un enfant ukrainien. […]

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Ideas & Trends

How Can Donors Best Support Nonviolent Movements?

Why does such a small percentage of human rights funding support grassroots organizing and nonviolent movements? Why and how have some donors chosen to support the work of grassroots organizers and nonviolent social movements? What can we learn from their experiences? A forthcoming, ICNC-supported special report, Dollars and Dissent opens the black box of donor decision-making. It brings to light common tensions donors have faced when considering support for grassroots organizing […]

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Movement Commentary

Building Bridges on the Path to Justice: Nonviolent Action to End Religious Violence in Nigeria

On May 12, 2022, some students of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, Nigeria, killed a Christian teenager, Deborah Samuel, for alleged blasphemy of Prophet Mohammed. Deborah had complained through a voice note in her class WhatsApp group about how some of her colleagues were posting about religious issues in the group, which she regarded as nonsense, because the initial agreement was that the group should be used for academic updates. A fellow student responded that Deborah had blasphemed Prophet Mohammed. […]

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Interviews & People

“Our Journey, Our Truth, Our Challenges”: African Feminism and Defying Dictatorship in Uganda

It’s a story of fearless resistance to dictatorship. It’s a decolonized story—one told about Ugandans, by Ugandans, not by a former colonial power. The story aspires to give back the power to Africans, and to African women and queers, in particular. It’s the story of Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan queer woman of numerous facets, but most of all, of power through provocation. Stella, currently in her late forties, is a poetess, academic, African feminist, LGBTQIA+ activist, opposition politician, and fierce challenger of the Museveni regime. She was imprisoned in April 2017 for several weeks for posting on Facebook a poem boldly criticizing the First Lady and President Yoweri Museveni. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Greater Peril, Greater Reward? A New Risk Assessment Tool for Activists

In March 2019, following numerous community pleas to curb graft among local police that had fallen upon deaf ears, residents of Kyere, Uganda tricked a notoriously corrupt police officer into a bribery arrangement. They caught him red-handed. Emerging from their hiding places in a community market, they seized the officer and arrested him—a man who had often used the same power of arrest to extort from them! This effective sting operation occurred without any of the usual police brutality toward activists. […]

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Movement Commentary

Kenya Election: Building a United Front against Corruption in Politics

To combat such deeply rooted political problems—in particular, corruption—nonviolent movements, faith-based groups, and other community actors have emerged as a last line of defense, with noticeable participation of media actors, to boot. Primarily engaging in naming and shaming, petitions, and “scrutiny debates”, the purpose of Kenyans’ anti-corruption campaigns has been to promote ethical leadership anchored in integrity, whether locally or nationally. Below, I provide an overview of one such campaign, the Red Card Campaign, with the goal of highlighting effective anti-corruption organizing during election season. […]

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Movement Commentary

#GotaGoHome: Now that Sri Lanka’s President Has “Gone Home”… What’s Next?

Will #GotaGoHome activists be able to sustain the movement beyond this initial protest phase? It will depend on many factors, but laying out a clear vision for a better, and achievable, economic model for Sri Lanka, a better institutional set-up, and more democratic organizational structures will be crucial. So many nonviolent movements before them have fallen short of this key step in driving a country in political transition down the road to democracy—not democratic backsliding. […]

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