7.5

NONVIOLENCE AND THE MEDIA

In this 2011 TED talk documentary filmmaker, Julia Bacha, tells the story of Budrus, a small village in the West Bank that, through nonviolent action, successfully challenged the building of a section of the separation wall that would have cut Palestinian families off from their farm lands.  Bacha argues that nonviolent action is not only prevalent, but a successful method of struggle used in parts of the world that are too often associated solely with violence.  Bacha challenges her audience and the media to not only recognize nonviolence when they see it but to then pay attention to it.

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Reflection Question: Let’s pay attention. Find one article about a current, ongoing nonviolent movement happening somewhere in the world. I recommend honing your Google search skills and using key terms referenced in this module (civil resistance, nonviolence, nonviolent action, people power, satyagraha, etc.), regions, countries, or issues that are of interest to you.  Post the link to this article in your response and share with us one interesting aspect of nonviolent action you foudn in this story.

Additional Resources:

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12 thoughts on “7.5

  1. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/052812-anonymous-india-calls-for-non-violent-259652.html

    This article reports on a recent nonviolent protest against the Indian government’s censorship of several online-sharing outlets. It sounds as though the hacker group Anonymous is the main organizer, and that they have several targets and several methods of resistance – some “violent,” some nonviolent. This issue is newly interesting to me, as I’ve seen similar instances involving Twitter blocking neo-Nazi users for the first time, and the US government shutting down file-sharing sites based outside the country. Resistance to such actions (are they violent? I’m not sure) is really interesting because it’s made up of individuals who don’t necessarily know each other or have a strong bond, but have aligned beliefs about the freedom of information and access.

  2. The article I found hit very close to home:

    http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/10/after-summer-of-solidarity-climate-actions-push-begins-for-an-autumn-of-unity/#more-19491

    This article focuses on opposition to hydraulic fracking that is going on while drilling for natural gas. Activism around NYC gathered wrapped in yellow caution tape with skeleton-painted faces to represent the danger that fracking presents to those heavily populated areas.

    I found this interesting because it’s an expanding issue. The pipelines being put in around NYC and in New Jersey are coming in part from my hometown in Northeast Pennsylvania. For the past few years, we’ve had companies drilling for natural gas and it has created an interesting dynamic in my hometown. There have been many smaller-scale nonviolent protests and it’s now hitting a more national level.

  3. This article connects to what Beth talked about. It highlight’s the Palestinian Authority’s attempt at recognition in the U.N. I really like how this illustrates an action-oriented form of nonviolence. I also like how the PA’s attempts at getting into the U.N. can provide some legitimacy to their larger argument of recognition because they are trying to work within an oppressive and flawed system.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/palestinians-un-recognition-would-foster-peace-with-israel-1.470384

  4. http://www.wdm.org.uk/food-and-hunger/victory-land-reform-campaigners
    photos: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/farmers-protest-in-india/2012/10/16/d3eb43ae-17a3-11e2-9855-71f2b202721b_gallery.html#photo=1

    This article is about a Jan Satyagraha in India to protest for poor and tribal Indian rights to land, water, forest, and other natural resources needed to sustain life. What I thought was very interesting about this was that these are the poorest of the poor in India, some of the most marginalized individuals in that country, yet they followed Gandhi’s example to press the government for what they need for basic survival. Because of their march, the Indian government agreed to have a plan of action in place within 6 months. However, if they do not follow through with their promise, the land reform movement will take up its march again and continue to press for their rights.

  5. In a NY Times “debate” about effective protest, Sarah Seltzer makes the point that artistic protest can often be the most effective type of protest. She uses the Pussy Riot performance as an example.

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/08/20/what-makes-protest-effective/a-bit-of-drama-stirs-attention-without-anger

    “While civil disobedience disrupts our routines to create a “crisis,” artistic protest does this while also intriguing us with provocative or just-fun entertainment…Performance as protest is a powerful strategy: it prevents bystanders from ignoring the cause — and, perhaps, seduces them into joining it.”

  6. Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei continues to fight for his dissident voice to be heard.

    “In the West he is a celebrity, named as the most powerful artist in the world by ArtReview magazine. In China, he is invisible. “Stupidity can win for a moment, but it can never really succeed because the nature of humans is to seek freedom,” he (Wei Wei) wrote in an article for The Guardian newspaper in June. “They can delay that freedom but they can’t stop it.”

    http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/chinas-maverick-artist-ai-weiwei-continues-to-fight#page3

  7. How Civil Disobedience Improves Crowdsourced Disaster Response (and Vice Versa)
    http://irevolution.net/2012/08/22/civil-resistance-improve-disaster-response/

    Looking at civil disobedience in the twenty-first Century, one must consider the role of social media. This article shows that the same actions used for political revolution are also used for bringing attention to disasters, natural and otherwise.

    If civil disobedience and nonviolent direct-action are about brining attention to an issue and attempting to either invert or negate the existing power structures, then social media provides an immediate vehicle to get stories out and, thus, change things quickly.

    The author of this article emphasizes how social media can be publicity for governments. Those that respond to disasters rapidly are seen in one way, whereas those that lag in response time are seen in another.

    I am curious what is a realistic reaction time from a government in response to a natural disaster. Nonetheless, people can rapidly change opinions on governments or factions provided they responded to the needs of the people with speed and necessary resources.

  8. http://truth-out.org/news/item/7996-nonviolent-protests-in-russia-about-the-elections-or-also-for-the-future

    “We have a voice and we have the strength to get ourselves heard.”

    This article is about the nonviolent protests surrounding the Presidential election in Russia last Spring. It caught my eye because that area of the world has been infamously repressed for generations when it comes to politics and banding together as citizens to overthrow the powers that be. I particularly adhere to the quote above. There is power in communication and it starts with one. It’s a thought that brings a modicum of relief.

  9. http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/index.php/news-and-media/featured-news-stories/2458-syrian-musician-samih-choukeirs-songs-of-protest-video

    This article is about Samih Choukeir, a renowned musician, composer and singer from Syria. The article explains that over the past 30 years he has written “politically-committed songs, in favor of freedom of speech and in defense of oppressed peoples all over the world.” The song embedded in this article openly criticizes President Assad, a very risky tactic, but Choukeir says he wants to be a voice for the voiceless. I think it is most interesting because of the creative approach to nonviolence, using a song of protest to disseminate his views to the Syrian people and to the world.

  10. This was a very informative module. In addition to the Bacha video, the two webinars – The Digital Dual: Resistance and Repression in an Online World; and Swallowing Camels: How the Media Misinterpret Nonviolent Struggles, were brilliancy.

    I did find one article about a current ongoing nonviolent movement -” The Role and Strategy innAdvancing Nonviolent Resistance in West Papua” by Jason MacLeod, University of Queensland.

    The link is: http://www.thechangeagency.org/_dbase_upl/MacLeod_Nvt_Resistance_in_west_Papua

    One interesting aspect of nonviolent action I found in this story was the action of groups of women the raising of the Morning Star flag in front of Indonesia government buildings in West Papua. The flag is the powerful symbol of West Papuan aspiration for independence from Indonesia, and is a dramatic and consciousness building action in the face of brutal repression by the Indonesian army.

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