War is not the answer: resist youth militarisation! A Call to Action

From the moment we are born, children and young people all over the world are exposed to the military and military values around them. They are taught that armed force and violence can solve problems.

We call this the militarisation of youth.

In some countries, this militarisation is visible and obvious: young people (mainly, though not exclusively, young men) are forced to join the military through conscription. This might include forced recruitment, or recruitment of children.

In many more places, even where conscription has been suspended or abolished, governments, arms dealers and other war profiteers have a vested interest in indoctrinating young people to be positive about military actions, so that – now and in the future – they accept war: by taking part in it themselves, by voting for governments that undertake it, by allowing their taxes to be spent waging it. In these contexts, those with power do not conscript young peoples’ bodies, they conscript their minds and their money.

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Nonviolent action against corruption – Book review

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.

Russia: A growing threat to Europe, now being ignored

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.

Egypt: Skepticism over the mirage of the ‘New Egypt’

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.

South Africa: Mkhuseli Jack and a long journey to freedom

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.

Hong Kong: How can the umbrella movement win?

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.

Disability Rights, International Development, and the Remaking of Civil Society

Over the past several years, I have been studying the interactions between the global  disability rights movement—all of the UN agencies, international NGOs, and transnational networks focused on advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities—and a small coalition of … Continue reading

Mubarak Awad Helps Present the 2014 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize

Washington, DC  – At an invitation-only ceremony on October 15, Fuad El-Hibri and Mubarak Awad presented Pietro Ameglio with the 2014 El-Hibri Peace Education Award along with a $20,000 check. Three graduate students also received $5,000 scholarships at the ceremony to further their peace education studies. Ameglio is an activist and peace educator who is one …

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