Watching their videos won’t change the world. But you should subsrcibe to CARE’s You-tube channel anyway.
Here’s why: You Tube Care
Violence against women is a horrifying, serious problem nationwide. In some countries, 7 in 10 women will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes. These aren’t just numbers — these are mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers, and friends who face real danger every day.
In the United States, we’re lucky in some respects. Our Congress just passed the Violence Against Women Act, although it took months of using the lives of women and girls as political leverage to do it. But millions of American women are still suffering from rape, domestic abuse, and sexual violence — and signing a bill won’t be enough unless our leaders take necessary action.
We also must act in solidarity with women around the world who face direct violence at the hands of their own country’s police and government forces. If we don’t demand that our leaders stand up for their protection, who will?
On International Women’s Day this past Friday, it was great to remember how far we’ve come. But we must not forget how far we have to go.
Thank you for taking action,
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team
From Nation of Change
by Jillian Kestler-D’amours
23 February 2012
FM Radio Spells Change, Success for Mid-East Women
“The thing I love (most) in my program is when I interview simple women from the villages, because they are successful and (are doing) something different in their society,” the 31-year-old radio producer, a native of the Qalandiya refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, tells IPS.
Host of the daily morning show on Nisaa (Women in Arabic) FM, Awwad explains that positively influencing the roles women play in Palestinian society, and changing the way Palestinian women view themselves, is what she strives for.
“I got involved here because I believe in the message of the radio station, and I wanted to make (a difference for) women in our society. Nisaa FM, I think, it’s something different,” Awwad said. “I like how my work in Nisaa FM makes me involved more in women’s issues.”
Launched in June 2010, Nisaa FM is an almost entirely female-run Palestinian radio station based in Ramallah, West Bank and the only radio station in the Middle East devoted solely to women’s issues. Its director Maysoun Odeh Gangat says that the station aims to inform, inspire and empower local women.
“Through the positive role that the women are playing in the society that we portray, we believe that we can empower women economically and then socially and politically. It could be any woman from the rural areas or the refugee camp, or a woman parliamentarian or minister,” Gangat told IPS.
In addition to suffering from a myriad of human rights abuses stemming from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza, Palestinian women face challenges from within their own society.
According to a 2009 report released by the Palestinian Women’s Information and Media Centre (PWIC) in Gaza, 77 percent of the women in Gaza had experienced some form of violence; 53 percent had been exposed to physical violence and 15 percent to sexual abuse.
In 2008, the Ramallah-based Arab World for Research and Development (AWRD) research centre found that 74 percent of survey respondents did not know of any organization working on women’s rights. Some 77 percent of respondents also said that they supported enacting laws to protect women from domestic violence.
“This is a patriarchal society. This is a male-dominated society, so the change should come by addressing males, as well,” Gangat said, explaining that engaging Palestinian men on women’s issues is important to the station.
She added that talking about difficult issues – such as polygamy, divorce, abuse, early marriage, and poverty – and the ways in which women can assert their rights in these areas, is necessary for change to occur.
“Women were inspired by the fact that we bring some people or experts on issues that are contentious and negative. We’ve had some women calling and asking us, ‘Which organization did you interview?’” Gangat said.
Read entire story at Nation of Change.
The Logic and Limits of Nonviolent Conflict
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the uprisings in Egypt that unseated an authoritarian regime and rekindled the spark of nonviolent resistance around the world.
The mass demonstrations that began on Jan. 25 in Cairo appeared spontaneous, ignited by the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution some weeks before. But according to Srdja Popovic, a seasoned organizer and founder of the ‘Centre for Applied NonViolent Action & Strategies’ (CANVAS) in Belgrade, that assumption is far from the truth.
A consultancy group for nonviolent resistance movements around the world, CANVAS prides itself on having trained pro-democracy activists from almost 40 countries in nonviolent techniques and strategies.
Members of Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, a decisive force in bringing down former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, were disciples of the organization, which has been dubbed the ‘Revolution Academy’.
In CANVAS workshops, members of April 6 became familiar with forms of peaceful protest, creative provocation measures and practical advice on how to behave in critical situations. They took classes in fundraising and recruitment and gained valuable advice on how to attract new supporters to the movement.
Coupled with the revolutionary fervor that swept across Egypt throughout 2011 and is still visible on the streets today, CANVAS’ training of key young members of the resistance bore fruits of a legendary nature.
“2011 was the worst year for the bad guys ever,” said Popovic at a discussion in Berlin entitled, ‘Democracy Promotion – Democracy Export – Regime Change?’, referring to the many pro-democracy uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East that have come to be known as the Arab Spring.
Popovic easily counts himself as one of the ‘good guys’, given that he was a driving force behind the Serbian student movement Otpor! (meaning resistance) that peacefully toppled the ‘butcher of Belgrade’ Slobodan Milosevic from power in the year 2000.
Popovic is the executive director of CANVAS and, by extension, the chief trainer at the ‘Revolution Academy’.
A veteran organizer, he inspires professionalism, assertiveness and confidence when he speaks about the techniques of “how to get rid of a dictator” and of the importance of unity, planning and nonviolent discipline as “the universal principles of success.”
Assuming that a successful pro-democracy movement needs the support of just three to eight percent of the population, the chances of overthrowing dictators anywhere in the world are quite high, Popovic said, corroborating his assertion with the results of a report explaining ‘Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict’.
Authored by Erica Chenoweth, assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University, and Maria J. Stephan, a strategic planner with the U.S. Department of State, the report analyzed 323 violent and nonviolent resistance movements from 1900 to 2006 and concluded that “major nonviolent campaigns have achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent resistance campaigns.”
Chenoweth and Stephan examine campaigns like Gandhi’s struggle for Indian Independence from British rule in 1947, the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s, the civilian-based movements in Serbia (2000), Madagascar (2002), Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004) as well as the ousting of foreign troops in Lebanon (2005) and the restoration of civil rule in Nepal (2006) and the Maldives (2008).
The study bolsters the ‘democracy export’ policy introduced by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan back in 1983, which is as dynamic today as it was more than two decades ago – in fact, Washington invests roughly two billion dollars a year in nonviolent global interventions, or what critics of the model call ‘hidden U.S. imperialism’.
Both authors argue that nonviolent resistance has a strategic advantage over violent resistance. Repressing peaceful protests could backfire, resulting in a breakdown of obedience among regime supporters, mobilization of the population against the regime and international condemnation or sanctions, which often serve to weaken those in power.
The authors go a step further to predict that key members of the regime – including civil servants, security forces and members of the judiciary – “are more likely to shift loyalty toward nonviolent opposition groups than toward violent opposition groups.”
When repression by state forces is directed towards nonviolent campaigns, the report estimates the rate of defection by security forces to be as high as 46 percent.
Popovic also stressed that nonviolent strategies against authoritarian rule, as well as the use of social media tools rather than weapons, are, in general, far less risky endeavors for individuals involved in the movement.
Read entire story at Nation of Change.
Amnesty International Turns 50
by Larry Cox (AIUSA Executive Director)
May 28 is a day that changed the human rights movement forever. Fifty years ago one person – Peter Benenson – outraged by injustices he read about in the paper, asked others to unite with him in common action.
He knew we could use our activism to achieve extraordinary things. He created Amnesty International.
Change did not happen overnight.
It took many conversations, many letters. Friends spoke to family members, the message spread, and one by one we secured the release of tens of thousands of people. People imprisoned for their beliefs or their way of life.
As activists lobbied governments, and researchers interviewed survivors, we demanded accountability for previously untouchable leaders. One by one each person who took action changed laws and changed lives.
50 years on, our work is not done – but we are more determined than ever to protect human rights. 50 years has shown that one by one we can. We have.
So today, we thank you for your work to defend human rights. Will you celebrate our birthday today?
In honor of 50 years of hard work and meaningful change, wish Amnesty a happy birthday today on Facebook, Twitter, and to your friends and family at home.