Khalid Kishtainy, a columnist with Asharq Al-Awsat, and author of Towards Nonviolence (Amman: Dar al-Karmal, 1984 - in Arabic), discusses the non-violent concept of “civilian jihad,” which he describes as a new form of protest that is more effective then armed struggle because of its long-term approach and perspective.
Bassem Eid, Executive Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group in Jerusalem, believes that the use of violence by Palestinians in the al-Aqsa intifada has failed, and therefore they must shift to a more pragmatic strategy of non-violent resistance. He also believes they should seek more realistic goals through such resistance and must take Israel's concerns into consideration.
Gila Svirsky, an Israeli peace and human rights activist, discusses the increased use of nonviolent direct action by Israeli peace groups in the past year, and how this form of resistance has been combined with the concept of protest to create a new dynamic within the Israeli peace movement.
Lucy Nusseibeh, head of Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy in Jerusalem, reflects on the participation of Palestinian women in nonviolent actions during the many decades of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She states that coping with the current situation is in itself an assertion of nonviolence, and urges women to work together to reach the just solution that men have thus far been unable to achieve.
Tawfiq Abu Bakr, member of the Palestinian National Council and Director General of the Jenin Center for Strategic Studies, analyzes some important differences between the first intifada, which began in 1987, and the second, which is still ongoing. He notes that, "[b]y avoiding the use of arms in the first uprising," the Palestinians received a great deal of international sympathy. The use of weapons by Palestinians in the current intifada, however, has created an inaccurate impression of two armies facing each other and a lack of international support for the Palestinian cause.
Susan Collin Marks, Executive Vice President of Search for Common Ground and an experienced conflict resolution expert from South Africa, describes the development and end of apartheid in her homeland. She explains that, contrary to the expectations of many, South Africa moved from apartheid to democracy as part of a negotiated revolution rather than through violent means, largely as a result of nonviolent direct action at the grassroots level.
The women of Tunisia have a decisive role to play in shaping Tunisia's future. Fatma Ben Saïdane reminds women of the power of their vote and the importance of civic engagement.
"I have received six questions from several individuals
working for the Common Ground News Service. I hope that
students and specialists in our university (Al Azhar), as
well as those concerned with general intellectual matters,
will take note of the effort behind these questions, how
they came to be issued only after extensive information
- gathering and study that could fill shelves, and after
the kind of organized thought that draws connections between
various facts and which does not busy itself with the illusions,
trifles, and pettiness that upend the edifice of knowledge."
- Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt
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