Monday, 31 January 2011

Egypt army vows not to use force

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:23 PDT

The Egyptian army has said it would not use force against citizens staging protests to force President Hosni Mubarak to step down

In a statement on Monday it said “freedom of expression” was guaranteed to all citizens using peaceful means.ernment sentiment reaches fever pitch.

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South African Anabaptist news service makes hope visible

Filed under: Africa files,Media and Conflict,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:22 PDT

There are many positive news stories that do not enjoy the same attention in the mainstream media as other violent and sensational narratives, claims Andrew Suderman, Director of the Anabaptist Network in South Africa (ANiSA).

2011 marks the first anniversary of ANiSA’s work in bringing inspiring stories to South Africans through it Alternative News service.

Among them are features about hungry children being fed, students of peace learning non-violent responses to conflict, and ordinary people making extraordinary sacrifices to bring hope and justice to those on the margins.

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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Mid-East: Will there be a domino effect?

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:26 PDT

A look at the nations at the centre of regional protests – Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Libya and Morocco.

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Who Is Poor?

Filed under: Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:37 PDT

If poverty means more than just the weight of a wallet, the world’s poor may be more numerous than previously believed. World Bank estimates put the population of global poor at 1.44 billion people—but a recent poverty index based on the work of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Lamont University Professor and professor of economics and philosophy, raises that number to 1.71 billion…

An important watershed in the definition of poverty occurred this year when the MPI (Multidimensional Poverty Index) was included as one of three new indices in the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2010, all three serving as a complement to its Human Development Index (HDI), a highly influential measure focused on health, education, and standard of living that is used by policymakers charged with the allocation of aid.

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Over 99 percent in Southern Sudan vote for secession

Filed under: Africa files — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 06:20 PDT

JUBA, Sudan (AP) — Southern Sudan’s referendum commission said Sunday that more than 99 percent of voters in the south opted to secede from the country’s north in a vote held earlier this month.

The announcement drew cheers from a crowd of thousands that gathered in Juba, the dusty capital of what may become the world’s newest country.

The weeklong vote, held in early January and widely praised for being peaceful and for meeting international standards, was a condition of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a north-south civil war that lasted two decades and killed 2 million people.

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Saturday, 29 January 2011

Judicial Reform in Afghanistan: Towards a Holistic Understanding of Legitimacy in Post-Conflict Societies

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Human Rights,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:48 PDT

This investigation seeks to elucidate the connections between building judicial independence, engagement with customary law, and anti-corruption efforts through an examination of judicial reform in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

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Understanding the protests in Egypt

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:09 PDT

The massive anti-government protests that flared in Egypt yesterday [January 25], in which tens of thousands filled the streets of several Egyptian cities, was perhaps the most dramatic display of civil unrest the country has seen in decades. Most media sources have been quick to link the protests to the recent Tunisian uprising, hinting that it may be a sign of a domino effect taking place across the region. But how much of this early analysis is just misinformed anticipation? Jack DuVall, president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict in Washington DC, spoke to this concern in an interview with Waging Nonviolence yesterday…

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Friday, 28 January 2011

Self-immolation spreads across Mideast inspiring protest | “… not an example of nonviolence” — Ali Abu Awwad, Al-Tariq

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:06 PDT

The five weeks of protests in Tunisia that led to the toppling of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali have inspired demonstrators from Morocco to Yemen, but more controversially, so has the suicide by self-immolation by Mohammed Bouazizi that set off the unrest…

As the phenomenon of self-immolation spreads, it has sparked a debate between Islamic legal scholars and political activists. Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the seat of religious learning in the Sunni Muslim world, issued a statement January 18 saying that sharia, (Islamic religious law) prohibits suicide as a form of protest. Egypt’s Religious Endowments Ministry last week instructed the imams of all mosques across the country to warn about the prohibition of suicide in Islam in their Friday sermons…

Ali Abu Awwad, co-founder of the Palestinian group Al-Tariq, which advocates non-violent protest, said he was impressed by the Tunisians’ courage and persistence in pressing their government for change and reform. But he said he had little use for self-immolation as a form of protest.

“It’s not an example of non-violence,” he told The Media Line. “It’s the language of desperation. Non-violence is when you invest your pain in harmony with humanity, not killing yourself.”

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The New Atheists’ Narrow Worldview

Filed under: Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:32 PDT

With tongues in cheeks, Rich­ard Daw­kins, Chris­to­pher Hitch­ens, Sam Har­ris, and Dan­iel Dennett are embracing their reputation as the “Four Horsemen.” Lampoon­ing the anx­i­eties of evan­geli­cals, these best-sell­ing athe­ists are em­brac­ing their “dan­gerous” sta­tus and dar­ing be­liev­ers to match their for­mi­da­ble philo­soph­i­cal acu­men.

Ac­cord­ing to these sol­diers of rea­son, the time for re­li­gion is over. It clings like a bad gene rep­li­cat­ing in the pop­u­la­tion, but its use­ful­ness is played out. Sam Har­ris’s most re­cent book, The Moral Land­scape (Free Press, 2010), is the lat­est in the continuing bat­tle. As an ag­nos­tic, I find much of the horse­men’s cri­tiques to be healthy.

But most friends and even en­e­mies of the new athe­ism have not yet no­ticed the pro­vin­cial­ism of the cur­rent de­bate. If the horse­men left their world of books, con­fer­ences, classrooms, and com­put­ers to trav­el more in the de­vel­op­ing world for a year, they would find some un­fa­mil­iar religious arenas.

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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Call for Applicants | Brown University’s International Writers Project Fellowship for creative writers who are persecuted in their home countries | Deadline Feb 15

Filed under: Art of Peacework,Conferences, Events,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:27 PDT
Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Brown University’s International Writers Project Fellowship if for established creative writers who are persecuted in their home countries or are actively prevented from pursuing free expression in their literary art. Both nominations and applications can be submitted for this opportunity.

The deadline to submit nominations/applications is 15 February 2011.

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Christian Civility: The Test of Intra-Faith Relations

Filed under: Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:03 PDT

Recently, I read an article featuring a pastor with whom I had strong disagreements. The more I read, the less I liked — and it was a long article. That pastor made statements about the nature of the Gospel and society to which I took personal offense. Unfortunately, this happened right before I went to bed and I spent an hour or so awake and fuming, wondering how this person could read the same scriptures and see such a different Jesus than the one I call Lord. The more I thought, the more I began to view a fellow Christian, whom I had never met and to whose beliefs I had been introduced third hand, as “the enemy.” Like cement carelessly poured on a sidewalk, my thoughts hardened my heart into a stumbling block for my faith. Of course, my reaction isn’t particularly unique or even surprising…

Inter-faith dialogue is hard, but intra-faith can be harder.

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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Eisenhower foretold the future

Filed under: Disarmament — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:29 PDT

Fifty years ago today, on Jan. 17, 1961, U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower famously warned Americans that an emerging “military-industrial complex” would wield unhealthy and unwarranted influence — “economic, political and even spiritual” — over their political life if it were left unchecked.

The warning came in Eisenhower’s extraordinary farewell address to the nation — days before John F. Kennedy entered the White House — in which he described the unprecedented “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.”

A half-century later it is clear Eisenhower’s warning was both prescient and ignored.

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Friday, 21 January 2011

UN sets humanitarian agenda for 2011: save more lives, more quickly

Filed under: Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:01 PDT

With climate change presaging natural mega-disasters, aid workers facing mounting attacks in conflict areas and the economic crisis crimping resources, the United Nations office coordinating the global humanitarian response announced its agenda for 2011 today: more lives saved, more rapidly, with fewer gaps and less duplication.

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Military Commissions to Resume Work (But Still Won’t Apply Real Law)

Filed under: Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:00 PDT

The New York Times has the story today:

“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to soon lift an order blocking the initiation of new cases against detainees, which he imposed on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. That would clear the way for tribunal officials, for the first time under the Obama administration, to initiate new charges against detainees….”

This is a problematic development in numerous respects…

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University of Winnipeg| Partnering for Change: Conversations on rights, livelihoods, and peacebuilding | March 17th – 19th, 2011

Filed under: Conferences, Events,Humanitarian work,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:52 PDT

Thursday, 17 March 2011 to Saturday, 19 March 2011

P4C is a global forum with international practitioners and researchers exploring current challenges and shifts in humanitarian relief, community development and peacebuilding. Read more.

The forum will be held from March 17th – 19th, 2011 at the University of Winnipeg (515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB).

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Defining Peace: USIP Launches Online Glossary

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Dispute resolution and negotiation,Media and Conflict,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:46 PDT

Washington – The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) has released “Peace Terms: Glossary of Terms for Conflict Management and Peacebuilding,” an extensive glossary that provides short definitions of a wide range of complex and often confusing terms.

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‘Fairly Legal’ showcases actress Sarah Shahi as former lawyer-turned-mediator with personal problems

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:45 PDT

USA Network’s latest character drama, “Fairly Legal,” debuts Thursday night at 10, and some fans might think it doesn’t need much more than Sarah Shahi, who becomes the center of pretty much every scene.

Shahi plays Kate Reed, daughter of a famous lawyer. For five years, she was a rising lawyer star herself, until her father died and she decided to downshift.

She’s now a mediator, using the law but not technically practicing it.

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Israel’s ‘disobedient women’ questioned over illegal trips for Palestinians

Filed under: children and youth,gender,Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:45 PDT

In a small village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I joined a remarkable group of women and children for lunch last weekend, a noisy and cheerful crowd enjoying plates of chicken, fish, rice and salad. All of them were breaking the law.

The party consisted of around 20 mostly middle-aged Israeli women, slightly fewer and younger Palestinian women and a handful of the latter’s children.

The Palestinians were from villages in the West Bank and therefore forbidden entry into Israel without proper permits. The Israeli women had illegally brought them across checkpoints for a day out – a journey that is both just a few miles and an impossible distance.

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The Philosophy of Non-Violence: Adoption of a Doctrine of Peace

Filed under: Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:13 PDT

At the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, it’s appropriate to examine his theme of non-violence in the context of today’s world.

Non-violence was a major proponent of his message to America. King called it a philosophy a principle that needs to be taught. He even offered classes in non-violence for his potential marches.

The idea of non-violence as a principle that needs to be taught is an interesting concept. In other words, non-violence is not intuitive to our human nature. Therefore maybe here in America we need some classes. Maybe we need to be taught the principles of non-violence, Maybe that is what is wrong here?

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Words Matter: Moving Beyond Demonizing the “Other”

Filed under: Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:12 PDT

I have spent much of last week thinking over the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona. And here’s the odd thing: While I find the murderous and violent acts of this crazed young man very disturbing, I find myself even more disturbed by the aftermath.

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