I’d recognize that face anywhere. Young MK as a barrister.
I’d recognize that face anywhere. Young MK as a barrister.
—Eboo Patel, from “An Effort to Foster Tolerance in Religion” in today’s New York Times
Eboo Patel is one of the busiest, most energetic people we know. We produced a show with him as the featured guest several years ago and titled it “Religious Passion, Pluralism, and the Young.” It’s definitely worth a listen.
Photo courtesy of Elmhurst College
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
I’ve updated my post on Self-Injury Awareness Day to include material from the Diane Rehm Show, which had a program about self-injury today. Also available as a podcast, the show is a must-listen for friends and family members of those who self-injury, or for anyone who works with adolescents and young adults. I also discovered that FirstSigns has a Tumblog. Awareness is better than ignorance. I have much gratitude to the friend who alerted me about the program as it aired.
I teach Gene Sharp’s work to my class in The Sociology of War and Peace. I show them the film on Otpor, “Bringing Down a Dictator.” I met Sharp as a student at Manhattan College. When Egyptian demonstrators were exhorting each other “Peaceful, peaceful,” they were evoking this understanding of social change. Tip ‘o’ the hat to my best friend for sending this article along.
Published: February 16, 2011
BOSTON — Halfway around the world from Tahrir Square in Cairo, an aging American intellectual shuffles about his cluttered brick row house in a working-class neighborhood here. His name is Gene Sharp. Stoop-shouldered and white-haired at 83, he grows orchids, has yet to master the Internet and hardly seems like a dangerous man.
Evan McGlinn for The New York Times
But for the world’s despots, his ideas can be fatal.
Few Americans have heard of Mr. Sharp. But for decades, his practical writings on nonviolent revolution — most notably “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” a 93-page guide to toppling autocrats, available for download in 24 languages — have inspired dissidents around the world, including in Burma, Bosnia, Estonia and Zimbabwe, and nowTunisia and Egypt.
When Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement was struggling to recover from a failed effort in 2005, its leaders tossed around “crazy ideas” about bringing down the government, said Ahmed Maher, a leading strategist. They stumbled on Mr. Sharp while examining the Serbian movement Otpor, which he had influenced.
When the nonpartisan International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, which trains democracy activists, slipped into Cairo several years ago to conduct a workshop, among the papers it distributed was Mr. Sharp’s “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action,” a list of tactics that range from hunger strikes to “protest disrobing” to “disclosing identities of secret agents.”
Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian blogger and activist who attended the workshop and later organized similar sessions on her own, said trainees were active in both the Tunisia and Egypt revolts. She said that some activists translated excerpts of Mr. Sharp’s work into Arabic, and that his message of “attacking weaknesses of dictators” stuck with them.
Peter Ackerman, a onetime student of Mr. Sharp who founded the nonviolence center and ran the Cairo workshop, cites his former mentor as proof that “ideas have power.”
On Friday I had posted a video tweeted by Wael Ghonim, whose interview rekindled the hopes of the people of Egypt. At that point, I hadn’t known the English meaning of the song, only the feeling of the people featured in the video.
I was showing this video to Number One Daugther, now 18, and she found a version with English subtitles. It was simply among the related videos today, and I never look there because typically the videos are unrelated. But I have been taught something, and that is fitting, because partly the Egyptian revolution is about the youth. Two-thirds of Egypt’s population is under 30.
So please enjoy this translation of “Sout al Horeya,” “Voices of Freedom,” in which people sing “Our weapons were just our dreams.”
My name is Kari Fulton, and I’m representing Youth for Climate Justice. We are here as young people from North America representing impacted communities. We have seven people on the inside, and we have a whole bunch of people on the outside. And we are here to reclaim our futures, to make sure the voices of young people who will be most impacted by climate change are heard and are respected. There was supposed to be an action today. That action was canceled by—the YOUNGO was supposed to have an action today. They are silencing our voice as we speak. And we are here to say that is not right.
We are also here to say, where will you be in 2050? I know where I will be, and I want to live in a just and clean, sustainable world. And that’s what we’re asking for today as Youth for Climate Justice. We stand here in solidarity with the Global South, in solidarity with impacted people from around the world, in solidarity with La Via Campesina. We stand here today, and we have these signs on their necks that say “No REDD,” because we want people to know that whether you live in the forest, whether you live in the hood, you will be impacted by false solutions. And REDD, REDD-plus, REDD-minus-plus, REDD-plus-plus, whatever you want to call it, is a false solution, because you are creating a market on our forests. You are not protecting our Mother Earth. And we are standing here to say that we want to see the protection of the rights of Mother Earth and the voice of the people to be respected. So thank you very much. Checktheweather.net.
Kari Fulton, “Youth Activists Protest Exclusion from U.N. Climate Summit in Cancún” DemocracyNow! 12/7/10
From the Thickculture blog on The Society Pages (affiliated with the American Sociological Association and Contexts Magazine).
All you really need to know:
Bamiyan Province in Afghanistan, a stunningly beautiful mountainous region, is located in the center of the country, roughly 100 miles from Kabul. Most people here live in small, autonomous villages tucked into high mountain valleys, and work dawn to dusk just to scratch out a meager living as subsistence farmers, shepherds, or goatherds. The central government in Kabul and the regional government in Bamiyan City exercise little or no control over their lives. They govern themselves, and live for the most part in isolation.
Given this, who would imagine that Afghan youth from small villages across Bamiyan Province would come together to form a tight-knit, resilient, and effective group of peace activists, with a growing network of contacts and support that includes youth in other parts of the country and peace activists in the U.S. and in Palestine? I certainly wouldn’t have. In the United States, we may find it hard to believe that anything good can actually come out of Afghanistan, or we may have fallen into a trap of thinking that Afghans cannot accomplish anything useful without foreign aid and assistance. I confess that I struggle to live outside the shadow of this narrow-mindedness and ethno-centrism. Certainly, if the scope of our imaginations is limited by CNN and Fox News, we would not be likely to imagine an indigenous peace group forming in Bamiyan Province. But this is exactly what has happened.
Calling themselves the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV), they range in age from eight to twenty, and they have been active for over two years, translating their camaraderie and the horror of their families’ experience of war and displacement into a passionate and active pacifism. At an invitation from AYPV, three American peace activists from Voices for Creative Nonviolence have arrived in Bamiyan for five days to build bridges of friendship and support with these youth and their families. Over this time, we will write a daily diary of our experiences and interactions with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.
|—||David Smith-Ferri Bamiyan Diaries – Day One | Voices for Creative Nonviolence 10/19/10|
I first heard about Facebook from my students. Today, while discussing Facebook in two different classes, I heard about Chat Roulette. The premised is that one joins random webchats of anyone who might be logged into the system. Webcams make it even more interesting.
What is the attraction of this, such that it overcomes any reservations people might have about exposing themselves to strangers (“creepy”)?