Category Archives: Nonviolence

Disaffection and the Future

Mere disaffection with the status quo in the world, or one’s lot in it, is not enough to help chart a path beyond it. A guiding vision is needed, and in order to formulate the right vision, which needs be inclusive and fair, an open debate of the issues is a must. Otherwise, processes will be guided and outcomes determined by figures and parties armed with the narrowest of visions and the lowest of ethical standards, people like Putin and his obsession with the return of Greater Russia, and groups like Al-Qaeda and its determination to revive the obsolete Caliphate system. While neither Putin nor Al-Qaeda is in a position to directly threaten global peace and stability, the localized regional mayhem they create is more than sufficient to harm millions of people, making this world a more dangerous place than it needs to be and rendering hope in a better future irrelevant. Atavistic longings cannot pave the way to a better future.

Vladimir Putin in Time Magazine
Vladimir Putin in Time Magazine

Continue reading

Will we ever be ready? Will the day ever come?

When will we ever be ready to act right, not just speak it, and make that the norm?

All political considerations aside, I simply cannot believe that ten thousand years after the emergence of the first city states, five thousand years after the invention of the first alphabet and the introduction of the first legal code, more than sixty years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and close to 10 years since the formulation of the Responsibility to Protect, world leaders still lack the political will to stand up to mass murder, to say “no,” to prevent it from happening when the signs are there, and to quickly stop it when it occurs and bring the culprits to justice.

Mass burial for the victims of the Houla Massacre, Syria - May 29, 2012
Mass burial for the victims of the Houla Massacre, Syria – May 29, 2012

Continue reading

On Madiba’s Passing

Amarji Special

He was a great man. He had a difficult life, the last 23 years notwithstanding. It took much pain for him to get there: to freedom. Though he saw his dream fulfilled, I am sure he was aware of the toll of it all, on himself, on his nation, and I am sure he was weary near the end and ready for rest. I am also sure that he was whole and fulfilled. He was surrounded by loved-ones, and his legacy was undeniable. Very few people will ever have this chance: dying while whole and fulfilled. It needs to be earned, and Madiba definitely earned it. His memory will live on, his legacy will be remembered and humanity will be better because he had once lived. But the fuckups will continue, and many of them will be committed by those who claim to have appreciated and understood his legacy. But those who really appreciate act, they don’t grandstand. I, for one, am not sure where I fit. I am still trying to understand I guess. I haven’t had the chance to reflect about this yet: Madiba’s Legacy.

Why nonviolence failed in Syria

NOW Lebanon | A longer version is available here.

Many people in Syria and across the world continue to wonder why the Syrian uprising took such a violent turn, despite the bravery and selflessness of so many of the early protest leaders. Indeed, the development seems to have come as a result of a sophisticated strategy implemented by the Assad regime from the outset. Understanding this strategy, rather than lamenting the situation, as so many nonviolence advocates and theoreticians continue to do, might help prevent its replication elsewhere.    Continue reading

Text of speech introducing President Bush at Freedom Collection launch in D.C.

Good morning. My name is Ammar Abdulhamid. I am a Syrian dissident. In September 2005, I was forced to leave my country for criticizing President Bashar Al-Assad.

In exile I have lived in Washington with my loving family: my wife, Khawla, our daughter, Oula, and our son, Mouhanad. Together, with help from our friends here and in Syria, and with funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative, a program established by President George W. Bush, we launched a foundation dedicated to supporting pro-democracy activists in Syria and across the Middle East. Continue reading