Reflection on Non-violent Training Course, Fletcher School June 2011
an article by Ayman Qwaider
The Fletcher School (FSI) is a setting for radical transformative empowerment. It's likely that one might say I am exaggerating to start off my article with such a strong sentence. I have these feelings because I experienced them being a member amongst real united nations, full of inspiration and dedication to bring about change needed to be seen in their realities. Human rights, justice, freedom, aggression, intimidation, equality are part of the discourses I recognized and learned about from very experienced activists for freedom, justice, self-determination and equality.
Participants in the Non-violent Training Course
click on photo to enlarge
I often think that there are several forms of injustice taking place cross our globe, but all these forms of injustice result pain and suffering are at the same level for any nation regardless of its identity.
Through an intense one week training program on nonviolent conflict at Fletcher School, I realized that the result of injustices and oppression are the same regardless of where conflict exists, in Palestine, Tibet, Colombia, Burma, and these are just a small number of conflict affected countries. When there is armed conflict, serious violations of human rights occur, and civilians are significantly the most to suffer its consequences.
Probably, what helped the most to keep me faithful and hopeful after being subjected to an enormous number of human rights violations, is the good people I met in the training course and seeing their dedication and commitment to being at hand and of assistance for deprived voiceless people.
Attending the training course on nonviolent conflict at the Fletcher Summer Institute in Boston was a spark of inspiration which gives me energy to stay hopeful that justice will prevail. Ordinary people have absolute power is an overwhelming statement which always fascinates and empowers me. Having the chance to share real stories from different parts of world on issues of freedom, equality and justice and being introduced to various kinds of struggle, has assured me that people still have power to challenge state power, and people still have the ability to transform realities through nonviolent resistance.
Attending the FSI training program has widened my perspective and allowed me to see issues from different angles. Further, it equipped me with the essential tool of self-empowerment. Nonviolent and civil resistance will prevail against radical injustices. Knowledge is power and self-empowerment. Being a part of the FSI has placed a great responsibility on my shoulders. International Civil society. Throughout listening to people's testimonies firsthand, I felt the suffering they were subjected to in their countries. I was moved by certain stories and highly motivated to end these injustices.
Question(s) related to this article:
Is there a new international generation of human rights activism?,
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Waging Non-Violent Action in Violent World
(Reflections on Fletcher International School Course on Strategic Non-Violent Action )
by Imran Khan
“Non-violent refusal to co-operate with injustice is the way to defeat it.” R.M Gandhi
We live in an extremely violent world. States and transnational non-state actors use violence to achieve their political and strategic objectives, believing that use of violence is the most effective way to do so, notwithstanding that it does not work most of the time. Only the last decade (2001-2011) saw 9/11 terrorist attacks, a protracted and bloody war in Afghanistan, the American invasion of Iraq, Israeli aggression against Lebanon and Palestine, 7/7 bombing in London, terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and so on. Literally hundreds of thousands of people died in these violent conflicts and terrorist attacks. For that matter, the 20th century was perhaps one of the most violent centuries in human history, witnessing two world wars responsible for the deaths of millions of people.
Talking about Pakistan, we are used to violence in this country. In the weeks and months leading up to the creation of Pakistan, the sub-continent witnessed mass killings of both Muslims and Hindus in communal riots. In 64 years of Pakistan’s history, we fought four wars against India. We launched at least four military operations against our Baloch brothers because they offended the state elite by asking for their legitimate rights. . ...more.
This report was posted on July 4, 2011.
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