30 June 2011

PFCF is making a difference for young women in Nepal 28JUN11

PLAYING FOR CHANGE and their work in Nepal....
Tintale Village Women's Alliance
Hello Playing For Change Family,
Have you ever felt like music saved your life?

Whether it was a touchstone through a difficult time, a way to connect with others, or a means of expressing your deepest self, for many of us music has been a source of great healing and inspiration.

In the most direct and literal way in the remote villages in the Udayapur District of eastern Nepal, drama, song, dance, and music are being used to save the lives of vulnerable children. Here, a small group of determined Nepali women are using music as one tool to educate young girls and their families about sex trafficking, including the ways girls are lured away, and the incredible hardships they endure in the hands of traffickers.
Devi Karki directs the Tintale Village Women’s Alliance, the group that has created these stirring performances. Through your support of the Playing For Change Foundation, you have provided instruments, costumes, funds for travel, and financial assistance to Devi, enabling her to create these performances and deliver them in neighboring villages. 14-year-old Tintale Village student Roma Khadka (below) has dedicated her life to this exceptional cause to save a child.
14-year-old Roma Khadka
“We utilize the power of music and dance to ensure that this horror will not happen to any one of the girls we meet. The suffering must stop.”
– Devi Karki
Watch this video of Devi and the Women’s Alliance to see how your support is making a difference.

Devi’s story is one example of how investing in music brings social change. There are many others from our programs around the world.

Will you give today to help us continue to expand this program and others around the world?

Make a difference.  Click here to give.

On behalf of The Playing For Change Foundation family, thank you for believing in the power of music to change our world for the good.
Whitney Kroenke
Executive Director, Playing For Change Foundation

29 June 2011

Nothing Spontaneous About It & Nonviolent Resistence Resources Studies, Films, Websites, and Books on Nonviolence from SOJOURNERS MAI2011

THE entire MAI 2011 issue of Sojourners is full of articles on nonviolent protest and revolution, this one offers fascinating insights on the Egyptian revolution....I especially appreciated the part on the cooperation between the Muslim and Christian communities, it gives one hope for the future of Egypt.....
The story of Egypt's long preparation for nonviolent revolution.
By Rose Marie Berger

 It looked spontaneous. Thousands of people poured into Tahrir Square in Cairo on Jan. 25. Was it an instinctive social surge in a country with a repressive regime or a carefully planned resistance movement that chose a strategic time? In more than a dozen countries people have taken to the streets to demand political and social reform. In Egypt, the "18 days of revolt" -- as a nonviolent movement for social change -- has been years in the planning.
Nonviolence is not new to Egypt. The 1919 campaign for independence from Britain was one of massive nonviolent civil resistance. On April 6, 1919, Mohandas Gandhi called for the first all-India day of nonviolent civil disobedience. Aware of Gandhi's mass protests in India and earlier in South Africa, 10,000 Egyptians marched on Cairo's palace in defiance of British martial law. Women leaders in traditional veils led hundreds of women in open opposition to British occupation. Activists organized labor strikes and boycotts of British commodities, and delivered thousands of petitions to foreign embassies demanding support for the nationalist movement. When organizers chose both the Christian cross and the Muslim crescent as the movement’s symbol, thousands more joined the cause, which won limited independence for Egypt. While violence (mostly from the British) occurred, the nationalist movement was predominantly nonviolent.
IN 2004, IN the wake of Egyptian protests against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Egyptian Movement for Change, known as Kefaya ("Enough!"), gained public prominence as a broad-based coalition for the pro-democracy movement. When a respected Egyptian judge pleaded with his fellow citizens to "withdraw their long-abused consent to be governed," Kefaya called for the first public protest organized specifically to demand that President Mubarak step down. Hundreds gathered before the Supreme Constitutional Court in silent rebellion; yellow stickers were taped across their mouths with the word "Kefaya" written on them.
Young Egyptians began experimenting with Facebook to organize public political gatherings. Esraa Rashid, then in her mid-20s, found Facebook an easy way for youth to plan their own protests. In March 2008, Rashid was texted by a young engineer, Ahmed Maher, to tell her that a sector of the Kefaya youth movement was beginning to organize support for a massive labor strike at a government-owned textile factory in Mahalla al-Kubra, about an hour north of Cairo. Rashid set up a Facebook page with herself and Maher as administrators. The textile workers’ strike was called for the first Sunday in April: April 6. In short order, the Facebook page had 70,000 fans and earned Rashid the moniker "Facebook Girl."
The Mahalla strike was a disaster. Police occupied the factory. Strikers set the building on fire. At least two people were killed. Support rallies dissipated under the violent police repression.
Lessons were learned: The organizers had failed to discuss tactics. They had no overall strategy. There had been no training for what to do in various scenarios. The newly formed, youth-led April 6 Strike group needed help.
An incredible convergence took place over the next two years. Egyptian youth began sharing lessons with the Progressive Youth of Tunisia about organizing strikes and public demonstrations. The U.S.-based International Center for Nonviolent Conflict led nonviolent strategy trainings in Egypt, including Arabic translations of civil resistance strategist Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action. One Egyptian blogger, Dalia Ziada, began leading her own training sessions adapted for the Egyptian context. She translated into Arabic The Montgomery Story, a 1958 comic book about the U.S. civil rights movement’s Montgomery bus boycott, and distributed more than 2,000 copies throughout the Middle East.
In December 2008, an April 6 activist attended a U.S. State Department-founded Alliance of Youth Movements summit in New York City, funded by Google, Facebook, and other social media corporations. According to private State Department documents, released by WikiLeaks, an embassy representative wrote, "On December 23, April 6 activist XXX ... alleged that several opposition parties and movements have accepted an unwritten plan for democratic transition by 2011; we are doubtful of this claim."
April 6 members also began studying civil resistance campaigns in other countries that brought down authoritarian governments. The Serb movement that deposed Slobodan Milosevic seemed most closely to match their situation in Egypt. By late summer 2009, 20-year-old activist Mohamed Adel was in Belgrade for a five-day training with former leaders of Otpor, the student movement that nonviolently brought down Milosevic.
One of those trainers was Srdja Popovic, now executive director of the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) and co-author of Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points, A Strategic Approach to Everyday Tactics. "The training we gave with the Egyptians follows the universal principles for success in nonviolent struggle," Popovic told Sojourners in an email interview. "Unity, planning, nonviolent discipline, identifying crucial institutions to be converted (we call those 'pillars of support') are all crucial. Clear slogans and strong visual identity along with communicating clearly with the target audience are all key to success. These are the elements that create a powerful group identity and move 'protest groups’ to ‘mass movements.'"
Adel and other April 6 activists developed indigenous nonviolent education programs and led intensive training, said Popovic. They actively cultivated solidarity among a variety of pro-democracy groups. They determined tactics to use when activists were arrested or fired from their jobs. All collaborating groups agreed to remove their individual symbols and replace them with the red, white, and black Egyptian flag.
Organizers also worked hard to promote religious unity. When Muslims at prayer were attacked by security forces using water cannons, thousands of pro-democracy Christians surrounded their Muslim colleagues to protect them. "This act of sacrificial love deeply touched the Muslim community," according to Dr. Nabeel Jabbour, a Syrian Christian on the advisory board of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, reporting what he heard from an Egyptian. "Even in that moment, the imam directing the prayer broadcast through the loudspeakers, said, 'Look around you; do you see it is the Christians who are protecting us. Do you know why they do this? They are following the teaching of Jesus. It is because they have Jesus in their hearts.'" Also thousands of Muslims protected Christians when they celebrated Mass in Tahrir Square. "These images impressed the world," said Popovic, "and they happened in front of the cameras."
"It is crucial for nonviolent movements to pull people out of the pillars of support like the police or military, rather than push people inside these pillars and appear threatening or aggressive to them," observed Popovic. Offering flowers, bread, and tea to members of the police and military was part of a strategy for creating a sense of fraternization and breaking down us/them barriers. People kissed soldiers and police officers as part of creative strategies for emotionally disarming the armed actors. "Once you understand that policemen are just men in police uniforms, then your perception changes and persuasion can take place."
But the context of Serbia and Egypt was not the same. Activists in the Middle East, remarked Popovic, "are in a tight space between an oppressive government and sometimes radical Islamist groups they don't want to affiliate with." The populations involved in the uprisings in Eastern Europe were mostly middle-aged, but the Arab societies are very young. "The average age in Egypt is 24, very much like Iran. These young boys and girls have been born after these anachronistic systems -- ike Ben Ali’s police state in Tunisia or the Iranian Islamist dictatorship -- were put in place," Popovic explained. "They have open minds, they communicate on the Internet. They are quite aware that life can be different and it gives them a strong boost over this politically frozen region that has been locked in place for decades."
In Egypt, Jan. 25 is a national day to honor a 1952 rebellion by Egyptian police against British forces. In 2011, the pro-democracy movement chose this date to protest police abuses under the Mubarak government. In particular, the April 6 Youth Movement distributed 20,000 leaflets that said: "I will protest on 25 January to get my rights." April 6 also issued a statement calling on everyone who was planning to attend the protest to first be trained in dealing with security forces and in working with the media in reporting police abuses.
Political and labor organizations, actors, authors, and many others publicly supported the protest. At the same time, many established institutions lacked confidence in the youth movement. Some Coptic Church leaders urged Christians to stay home and pray for Egypt's safety.
By late in the day on Jan. 25, tens of thousands were in the streets, in Tahrir Square and in cities around Egypt. Within a few days a booklet called "How to Protest Intelligently" was circulating by email and from hand to hand. It instructed people to gather in their neighborhoods and told them which routes to take to Tahrir Square. It included practical advice on what to wear and how to protect oneself from tear gas and police batons, suggestions for positive chants, and ways to persuade the police to join the people.
After 18 days of predominantly nonviolent resistance, to which government forces responded in violent backlash, the 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak stepped down.
"Revolutions are often seen as spontaneous," says Ivan Marovic, a former CANVAS trainer. "It looks like people just went into the street. But it’s the result of months or years of preparation."
A nonviolent movement requires tremendous courage and discipline -- and often has martyrs. Nearly 400 people died during the 18 days of protest. Khaled Ali, a labor lawyer with the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, is investigating those who died. "Most of the cases [of deaths] we’ve encountered," says Ali, "are of people who were poor and lived in poor neighborhoods. They're the ones who came out and joined these street battles during the revolution. ... These people gave their lives without ever claiming that they were owners of this revolution."
Women leaders carried a double burden: targeted both by the government and by their male counterparts. Esraa Rashid, co-founder of April 6, spent more than two weeks in jail and was iced out of leadership by her male compatriots. While many women led the protests in Tahrir Square, they risked severe sexual harassment and in some cases rape. When women returned to the square on International Women's Day, they were attacked by a group of male counter-protesters. No women have been named to the new constitutional committee, and not one of the recently appointed cabinet ministers is female.
"The key to understanding what is happening all over the Middle East," said CANVAS' Popovic, "is that events in Tunisia and Egypt should be seen as a pan-Arabic phenomenon, one inspired by Tunisia, not Serbia. Not only that, it is quite obvious that they were internally driven by unemployment, corruption, censorship, and lack of human rights, but also driven by the young brave generation of educated and secular people who learned from each other and exchanged knowledge. It is their victory."
And it is only the beginning. "It was the moral force of nonviolence," said President Obama on the success of Egypt’s uprising, "not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, a moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more."
Rose Marie Berger is an associate editor of Sojourners.

Nonviolent Resistence Resources
Studies, Films, Websites, and Books on Nonviolence
compiled by Claire Lorentzen
Here is an extended list of Sojourners articles, films, websites, and books on the history, strategy, and implementation of nonviolent resistance.
Resources from Sojourners:
Christians and Nonviolence: Designed to spark discussion and thought about how to live out God's call for justice in our world. Each session includes Sojourners articles, questions for discussion, and ideas for further study.
Putting Down Stones: A Faithful Response to Urban Violence: A tool to help people set down their weapons and lay the foundation for initiatives that lead to peace. It offers Christians and other people of conscience encouragement and guidance to use their gifts and skills to bring about reconciliation and justice. Our hope is for the church and the wider community to discover the next steps that can be taken to heal our cities and ourselves.
Liberation without War: Is there a nonviolent way to overthrow dictators and achieve democracy? By Jack DuVall. (Sojourners, February 2004). "To make nonviolent struggle the global boulevard to political liberation, we must relentlessly propagate the ideas and strategies that pave its way to victory. Former president Jimmy Carter has said that 'nonviolent valor can end oppression.' But not until we all enlist to help the valiant."
Celebrate the Peace Parade, by Rose Marie Berger. A review of eight books on nonviolence, in theory and practice. (Sojourners, November 2010).
More Books on Nonviolence, by Rose Marie Berger. A review of nine books on nonviolence in history, strategy, and community. (Sojourners, November 2010).
God's Politics Blog posts on Nonviolence: Read from hundreds of blogs on the intersection between nonviolent resistance, current political issues, and faith.
Egypt: Seeds of Change. This 25-minute People & Power documentary from Al Jazeera reveals behind-the-scenes coverage and interviews on the planning, strategy, and implementation of Egypt's nonviolent protests.
Wael Ghonim: Inside the Egyptian Revolution TED Talk. Ghonim, the Google executive and Egyptian activist who was detained during the revolution, speaks passionately about the role of the internet in the protests and discusses how "Egyptians have proven that the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power."
Muslims & Christians Unite 2011. This moving film footage from the Egyptian revolution, set to beautiful, prayerful music, brings the viewer into a series of examples of how Muslims and Christians came together to pray and protect themselves and their holy spaces from attacks by pro-regime forces.
International Center for Nonviolent Conflict . ICNC aims to educate the global public, influence policies and media coverage, and educate activists and organizers on nonviolent resistant. Their website is full of webinars, academic papers, and countless resources for those who would like to engage with civil disobedience.
Canvas - Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action & Strategies in Belgrade, Serbia. CANVAS's website serves as a "Nonviolent struggle multimedia library." Watch videos, look at photos, and learn, up front about how nonviolent resistant has and is being used to bring justice to the people. An entire section of their website is also dedicated to training people in the methods of protest and persuasion, noncooperation, and nonviolent intervention.
Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action: Video Project on Facebook. This Facebook page aims to create "a collaborative reading from Gene Sharp's text." The Facebook page creator states that "all are invited to participate in a collaborative audio-visual reading of gene sharp's list of 198 methods of nonviolent action."
A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001). As Sojourners magazine article How to Change the World: A training manual in nonviolent revolution states, A Force More Powerful is an " in-depth look at 10 decades of political struggle, social upheaval, and military action in 24 nations on five continents -- including Russia, Germany, El Salvador, Argentina, the Philippines, the West Bank and Gaza, Czechoslovakia, Burma, China, and Serbia. The book and videos form a definitive account of the great nonviolent conflicts of the past 100 years. The entire project provides the best current tactical, strategic, and pragmatic material available for students of social change."
 Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points by Srdja Popovic, Andrej Milivojevic, and Slobodan Djinovic (CANVAS, 2006) With practical wisdom accumulated from successful nonviolent campaigns all over the world, this how-to guide fills the gap “between the tremendous theoretical insights about strategic nonviolent conflict developed by scholars…and the accumulated experience of front-line practitioners.”
Civilian Jihad, edited by Maria J. Stephan (Palgrave McMillan, 2011). Though the Middle East is often remembered for its violent upheavals, this scholarly book reminds us that the Middle East has a rich history of waging “conflict using nonviolent, nonmilitary means.”

People Power from SOJOURNERS MAY2011

THIS is a fascinating article from Sojourners on nonviolent protest and revolution and the success rate for these movements compared to the rate of failure for violent protest and revolutions. Nonviolence protest, resistance and revolution achieve the goals of the participants at a much higher percentage rate than those movements employing violence. A really inspiring part of the article is the story of the Rosenstrasse protest in Berlin in 1943 that resulted in about 2000 German Jewish men being saved from the gas chambers. We have witnessed the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions this year, the ongoing revolution in Syria (where the assad government has finally started talking to the protesters who have been calling for freedom and democracy, while unfortunately continuing it's brutal repression of the protest), and the months long but largely peaceful protest for freedom and democracy in Yemen. We can take heart that with good organization, communication, inclusiveness, solidarity and the stamina to go the distance (keep the faith people of Syria and Yemen) most of these revolutions will succeed. Iran in 2009 and Bahrain this year are the disappointments because in the face of brutal, murderous repression the people backed down. When the desire for freedom is strong enough they will rise again, one can only hope they are better prepared to see the movement through. The revolution in Libya grinds on in violence with no end in sight, and whoever ends up in power will inherit a scared and damaged people......Be sure to check out the video at the end of this article.......

From Cairo, Egypt, to Madison, Wisconsin, civil society is fighting back through massive nonviolent resistance. But what makes for a successful campaign? The data is in.
By Erica Chenoweth

On Jan. 25, 2011, mass protests erupted in Egypt, with cries of "Enough is enough!" and "Wake up, wake up, son of my country. Come down Egyptians!" Although there were violent crackdowns by the Egyptian government, the overwhelming majority of protest activism was nonviolent. Eighteen days later, President Mubarak, a dictator who held power for 30 years, stepped down.
A decade into the 21st century, successful "people power" revolutions in places such as Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Georgia, Ukraine, Nepal, and the Maldives have forced major changes to entrenched power by relying on "civil" resistance, a method of resistance in which civilians withdraw cooperation from oppressive regimes, often using a mixture of strikes, boycotts, sit-ins, stay-aways, and other acts of civil disobedience.
Civil resistance is not always the same as "nonviolence" -- a practice that often evokes images of Gandhi as its main advocate. Gandhi's approach to using mass civil resistance to oppose British dominion in the South Asian subcontinent possessed a strong moral dimension -- a principled aversion to using violence. But the history of nonviolent resistance reveals that many people have relied on civil resistance not for moral reasons, but because they thought it would be an effective alternative to violence in achieving their aims.
To find out whether civil resistance is generally a more effective option than violent resistance, between 2006 to 2008 I collected data from books, encyclopedias, news reports, archives, data sets, and scholarly journals to develop a new database of mass nonviolent resistance campaigns that involved demands for regime change or territorial independence. I looked at where and when the campaigns emerged, characteristics of the opponents they faced, and whether the campaigns succeeded or failed. I then compared these findings with data on the success rates of violent insurgencies.
The results were stunning. Among 323 major violent insurgencies and nonviolent mass movements that occurred from 1900 to 2006, nonviolent campaigns were twice as effective as violent insurgencies, succeeding more than 55 percent of the time. In fact, successful nonviolent mass action has occurred in countries as diverse as Serbia, Poland, Madagascar, South Africa, Chile, Venezuela, Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, and Nepal.
How do nonviolent civilian-led revolutions disrupt some of the most repressive dictatorships of our time? First, nonviolent campaigns typically attract far more participants than violent campaigns. The average nonviolent campaign has more than four times as many active participants (with about 200,000) as the average violent campaign (with about 50,000). This is because nonviolent campaigns appeal to a broader section of society than violent campaigns. Tactics such as strikes, boycotts, and go-slows are available to a diverse cross section of society, including young and elderly, men and women, rich and poor, and a variety of religious and political ideologies. There are fewer moral barriers to participating in a protest or demonstration that insists on peaceful (albeit forceful) methods. Moreover, participation in civil resistance does not require a person to go underground or sacrifice one’s daily life. Although often high-risk, participation in civil resistance can be more spontaneous and anonymous because of the numbers of people involved. On the other hand, violent campaigns typically require physical strength, endurance, and agility; the willingness to sacrifice one's day-to-day life; and the removal of any reluctance to take another life for the cause -- all qualifications that exclude a large proportion of any population.
Second, when large numbers of people peacefully mobilize against repressive regimes, they often neutralize major sources of power -- civilian bureaucrats, economic elites, and even the security forces.
For example, on June 5, 1989, half a dozen Chinese tanks rolled toward Beijing's Tiananmen Square to continue a days-long crackdown on thousands of protesters who were demanding economic and political reforms in the country's authoritarian regime. But as they approached Tiananmen, an unknown man stood, alone, in their path, holding a shopping bag in his hand. When it became clear that the man did not intend to step aside, the lead tank lurched to a stop just a few yards from the man. After a pause, the tank pitched to the right to pass the man; but the man sprang to his left, blocking its path. The tanks that trailed also stopped, and for a few moments, the man and the tanks stood motionless in the street, facing one another in an iconic image of civil resistance. Before Tank Man's act of noncooperation was cut short, his unarmed resolve confounded the military in ways that armed insurgents do not.
Nonviolent resistance campaigns are especially skilled at convincing security forces to stop their repression and -- in some cases -- to join the resistance. Because civil resistance typically includes a larger base of participants that represent a more diverse cross-section of society, security forces often identify with campaign participants through ethnic, religious, class-based, cultural, or even familial ties. Security force defections occurred in 54 percent of successful nonviolent campaigns.
Violent campaigns do not have a very good track record at convincing security forces to defect. The reason is intuitive enough. When security forces perceive a physical threat, they tend to unify to defend themselves. Imagine that Tank Man had procured a weapon from the shopping bag he was holding and fired upon the tanks as they began to move around him. No longer would Tank Man's image represent the legitimacy and courage of the pro-democracy cause in China. Instead, he would have confronted the military on its own terms, using a method in which the military has a decided advantage. He would have been just another anonymous rebel confronting violence with violence.
The ability to divide the regime depends on careful planning, organization, training, and unity within the opposition. But once the security forces refuse to repress peaceful demonstrators, regimes tend to accommodate protesters' demands. Note that this is not because of the moral superiority of nonviolent resistance. The reason people power works is not because the "good guys" always win. Instead, carefully planned civil resistance campaigns are able to leverage their broad participation to disrupt the regime in ways that are unavailable to smaller, violent insurgencies.
A common question that often arises is: Can civil resistance succeed even against brutal opponents? What about the Nazis? There are numerous examples of nonviolent resistance against the brutal genocidal methods of the Nazi regime during World War II. One example is the Rosenstrasse protest in Berlin in March 1943. Following Hitler's military defeat in the battle of Stalingrad, the Nazis accelerated their "final solution," hastening the deportation and killing of millions of Jews, Gypsies, prisoners of war, and others. In Berlin, SS paramilitary troops detained nearly 2,000 Jewish men who had previously been spared because their wives were non-Jewish Germans. Their wives began to gather outside of the building on Rosenstrasse where the men were detained. Day and night, the women occupied the streets and chanted "Give us our husbands back." Ultimately, hundreds -- if not thousands -- of people joined the protest, even as SS guards mounted machine guns and threatened to fire upon the protesters. The protest lasted a week. At the end of the week, the SS released the men. Almost all of the men lived to see the end of the war.
This remarkable event demonstrates the power of organized, nonviolent direct action -- even against the most brutal dictatorships. A simple inscription on the "Block der Frauen" ("Block of Women") memorial in Berlin bears witness: "The strength of civil disobedience, the vigor of love overcomes the violence of dictatorship. Give us our men back. Women were standing here, defeating death. Jewish men were free."
And, in fact, the overall trend suggests that even in situations where regimes used violence to crack down on resistance campaigns, 46 percent of nonviolent campaigns have prevailed, whereas only 20 percent of violent campaigns succeeded against these violently repressive states.
The data tells us a few things that we didn’t know before. First, there is little truth to the claim that insurgents must use violence in order to get what they want. Many observers maintain that people resort to violence when they are forced to do so -- by overly repressive circumstances, by injustices they can no longer tolerate -- and after exhausting all other means of political influence.
One hears this claim quite a lot from insurgents, scholars, and pundits, who argue that Sunni insurgents in Iraq, the Afghan Mujahideen, or even El Salvador's Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front had to choose violence to wage their struggles because it was the only way they had a chance to succeed. Gandhi himself -- the quintessential pacifist -- once articulated that "It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." Contrary to these assumptions, nonviolent resistance has proved to be a much more powerful way to achieve political goals, even in brutally repressive environments.
Second, civilian-led nonviolent resistance can divide and topple regimes as security forces grow weary of repressing their unarmed compatriots. The more diverse the campaign, the more likely it is to produce security force defections. Any campaign that is overly homogenous (for example, relying on a strong religious component without wider appeal) will have difficulty succeeding because it will not attract a wide enough portion of the population to provide varied points of access to potential allies within the regime. For instance, an urban revolution often will gain little sympathy from regime functionaries who come from the countryside.
Third, and perhaps most surprising, material support from foreign states has little effect on the success of nonviolent campaigns. Only 10 percent of nonviolent campaigns have received direct material support from foreign governments, and in those cases, it may have caused disunity within the campaign or undermined the movement's legitimacy in the eyes of potential grassroots supporters. As national security expert Richard K. Betts said recently in response to how the U.S. security establishment should react to the protests in Egypt, "Popular revolutions can hardly ever be contained or channeled effectively by foreign forces." But moral support -- such as naming and shaming the oppressive regime's abuses, cutting off financial or military support to the regime, and making diplomatic statements in support of the movement -- can encourage participants to maintain enthusiasm and commitment.
Overall, the data provides hard evidence that nonviolent resistance is anything but passive or weak. Gandhi was right when he said,  "Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong." As we watch events unfold in the Arab world and elsewhere, we should keep in mind that calls to use violence to confront oppressive regimes are almost never justified by necessity. Skillful applications of "people power" have been the most robust and reliable forces for change in the world since World War II, and this trend is likely to continue well into the 21st century.
Erica Chenoweth is an assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University and co-author with Maria J. Stephan of the forthcoming book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.  In this video webinar for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Dr. Chenoweth presents arguments to prove that nonviolent resistance is a far more effective method for creating social change against repressive governments than violent resistance.

Why Civil Resistance Works - Erica Chenoweth (Webinar) from ICNC on Vimeo.

Erica Chenoweth is an assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University and co-author with Maria J. Stephan of the forthcoming book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.

People Power . By Erica Chenoweth. Sojourners Magazine, May 2011 (Vol. 40, No. 5, pp. 16). Cover.

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Lieutenant Daniel Choi speaks out for Bradley Manning; Hillary Clinton's shocking remarks about Bradley 29JUN11

UPDATE from THE BRADLEY MANNING SUPPORT NETWORK & COURAGE TO RESIST.....and Sec of State Clinton, you know better than to speak like that, you really should be ashamed.
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Lieutenant Daniel Choi says "I am Bradley Manning"

Lt Daniel Choi Says I am Bradley ManningOur latest featured member of the "I am Bradley" photo petition, Army Lt Daniel Choi, is speaking out for Bradley Manning. You can join him here.
A soldier with a conscience, Lt. Choi is one of the most visible opponents of the Military's Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy, after being kicked out of the Army for coming out on the Rachael Maddow show. He recently declared at Netroots Nation:
"I am Proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Bradley Manning...From the things that I’ve heard [Bradley] signed up because he believed in this country and when he saw things that were unbelievable and were being perpetrated by this country, he wasn’t attacking this country. He was trying to teach this country what this mandate of service really was." You can watch the video of his speech here.
Supporters march at San Francisco Pride for Bradley ManningMany have been wondering why Bradley's issue hasn't been taken up en mass by the LGBT community, but Dan Choi's statement marks increasing support for Bradley Manning from the Gay Rights Activists, both in The US and Europe.
Bradley Manning contingents graced almost every major Pride parade this weekend, from New York to San Francisco and Chicago. Read More here.
Hillary's shocking remarks about Bradley Manning
For those who don't believe that Bradley's personal life and sexuality may be used against him, this gem of information was presented in a recent Vanity Fair article about Hillary Clinton, while on tour in the Middle East:
Obama“Hillary told staff that she could not fathom how an army private, Bradley Manning, with psychological problems and a drag-queen boyfriend could single-handedly cause the United States unprecedented embarrassment just by labeling massive downloads as Lady Gaga songs.”

Were those comments verbatim, or just the ill-chosen words of the author? We may never know, but one thing is for sure, they were published in a major pop-culture outlet, and there is no taking them back. Here is a good take-down of the allegation that Manning had “psychological problems.” As for Hillary's comments about Bradley's sexuality, well, we’ll let you be the judge of their appropriateness.
David House refuses to testify to WikiLeaks Grand Jury
Bradley ManningIn case you missed it, David House, one of the founding members of the Bradley Manning Support Network, recently refused to testify before the Wikileaks grand jury in Virginia.
House was among several Boston area residents who were ordered to testify before the grand jury, which is investigating WikiLeaks, and faced persistent questions about Bradley Manning and the Support Network. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right, later telling the New York Times that the Justice Department is “creating a climate of fear around WikiLeaks and the Bradley Manning support network.”
on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show, House said:
"WikiLeaks has been cast as a breach of national security because the US Government has been embarrassed by the disclosures. I don't want to wake up every morning and just read how glorious the US Government is."
If the prosecution grants him immunity, he will face jail time if he continues to remain silent. Read his full statement and watch video here.

Please help us keep up the work by Donating to Bradley Manning's defense fund. Read our recent letter to supporters here.


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Not Covered
Your funds will be used to backfill this loan.
Repayments will go to you.
This group is called "Dulce María" (Sweet María) because one of the ladies sells sweet treats and is called María Luz. The group is located in the State of Mexico and has nine members. Luz is the group's treasurer. She is 36 years old, has an elementary school level of education, and has three children (one daughter and two sons). Her business is selling sweet treats and she has been in this business for five years.

Luz is requesting a loan to invest in a range of sweet treats that her customers are requesting. Most of her customers are children. She receives large orders from children's parties and this is where she makes her best sales. With the profits from her business, she would like to save up and continue requesting loans so that she can eventually obtain her own fixed premises. She feels happy because she is able to contribute towards her family's expenses and also support her children so that they can study and become professionals.
El grupo se llama "DULCE MARIA" porque la señora vende dulces y se llama Luz, esta ubicado en el estado de México, esta conformado por 9 integrantes, la señora Luz es la tesorera del grupo, tiene 36 años, estudio la primaria, tienen 3 hijos (1 mujer y 2 varones) ella se dedica a la venta de dulces con el cual lleva 5 años, solicita el prestamo para invertir en variedad de dulces que le solicitan sus clientes ya que la mayoria son niños así como para fiestas infantiles que es donde le realizan pedidos grandes y son sus mejores ventas, con las ganancias quiere ahorrar y seguir pidiendo prestamos para posteriormente tener un local fijo, ella se siente contenta porque puede contribuir con el gasto de su familia, además de apoyar a sus hijos para que tengan estudios y una carrera profesional.

Additional information about this loan

About CrediComun

This loan is administered by CrediComun, a Kiva Field Partner since February 2010. CrediComun is dedicated to providing loans to groups of women in rural areas in Mexico, and is beginning to lend to individuals as well. One of its newest branch offices is in Ciudad Neza, a poor suburb on the outskirts of Mexico City. CrediComun has grown rapidly since its inception in 2005, with 37 branch offices and over 350 employees, and was ranked the 12th best microfinance institution in Latin America in 2010 according to the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX).

For more information on CrediComun, please visit its partner page. If you would like to support CrediComun and its borrowers, please visit its lending team.

This is a Group Loan

In a group loan, each member of the group receives an individual loan, but is part of a group of individuals. The group is there to provide support to the members and provides a system of peer pressure in repayments of loans. However, groups may or may not be formally bound by a group guarantee. In cases where there is a group guarantee, the members of the group are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group member if someone is delinquent or defaults. Learn More

About the Country

Avg Annual Income:
Mexico Pesos (MXN)
Exchange Rate:
11.8061 MXN = 1 USD
A loan of $150 helps Jemah to purchase cooking ingredients
66% raised, $50 to go
Repayment Term:
12 months (more info)
Repayment Schedule:
Jun 23, 2011
Jun 29, 2011
Currency Exchange Loss:
Default Protection:
Not Covered
Your funds will be used to backfill this loan.
Repayments will go to you.
Jemah is 49 years old and lives in the West Point area. She’s married and her husband is a teacher. They have 4 children between 18 and 35 years old, all of whom live at home. For the past 10 years she has been preparing and selling cooked food. She started the business with help from her daughter.
Her main challenge is earning enough in the school holidays when her husband does not get paid. What she likes about this business is selling to customers. Jemah has requested this loan. In the future she would like to own her own home.

Additional information about this loan

Note About BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Limited

BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Limited does not meet all of Kiva's minimum criteria as it has less than 2 years of operating history (the company began microfinance activities on 5 March 2009).

About the Country

Avg Annual Income:
Liberia Dollars (LRD)
Exchange Rate:
72.0000 LRD = 1 USD
Calvin Odede
A loan of $225 helps Calvin Odede to purchase motorcycle spare parts like spokes, tyres, and oil.
33% raised, $150 to go
Repayment Term:
11 months (more info)
Repayment Schedule:
Jun 22, 2011
Jun 29, 2011
Currency Exchange Loss:
Default Protection:
Not Covered
Your funds will be used to backfill this loan.
Repayments will go to you.

Calvin is a single man who owns a house that has electricity but not piped water. His greatest monthly expenses are food and school fees for his younger siblings.

For the last two years, he has operated a spare parts shop. He sells retail to his neighbours and passersby. Calvin faces a major challenge of seasonality in her business. He dreams of becoming a leading spare part dealer in the future.

With the Kshs 20,000 he wants to purchase motorcycle spare parts like spokes, tyres and oil. He decided to join Yehu to access loans to boost his business.

About the Country

Avg Annual Income:
Kenya Shillings (KES)
Exchange Rate:
90.2500 KES = 1 USD

Torture's "comeback" ends now from AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 27JUN11

TORTURE IS WRONG, PERIOD. IT IS NEVER JUSTIFIED, IT IS NEVER THE RIGHT, JUST, HUMANE OR LEGAL THING TO DO. Join Amnesty International's campaign against the propaganda campaign by proponents of torture, click the link to add your name to the call to end torture around the world. 
Amnesty International
Think the fight against torture is over? Think again.

Torture didn't end after the Dark Ages, the Enlightenment, or the establishment of democracy. Torture continues, and yesterday we commemorated the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. And sadly, the US government's hands are far from clean.

Just ask Maher Arar.

In 2002 the US government unlawfully detained this Canadian engineer and father of two - likely on the basis of flawed intelligence from Canadian authorities - and sent him secretly, via Jordan, to Syria, where he was held for a year and tortured. Arar was eventually released without charge and completely exonerated by the Canadian government. In 2011, Arar is still waiting for an apology from the US government.

Craig, join tens of thousands of other activists calling on President Obama and Congress to apologize to Maher Arar and begin the process of making things right.

After all, torturing a human being is always wrong. Always.

Yet somehow, there are those amongst us - both inside government and out - who just don't get it. Following the death of Osama bin Laden, torture proponents are out in force again, seeking to justify torture. But there's no justifying the unjustifiable.

Fighting the use of torture around the world is one of Amnesty's signature issues. In the past 50 years we have made tremendous strides in pressing governments to criminalize the use of torture. But in the past decade, that progress has stalled. Impunity for torture is still the norm.

That ends now.

This Torture Awareness Month, we owe it to torture survivors worldwide to fight and win the torture "debate," making sure we end torture, once and for all. Join us by urging the US government to apologize to Maher Arar for their indefensible actions.


Zeke Johnson
Director, Security with Human Rights Campaign
Amnesty International USA

P.S. If you're on Twitter, we've got a special job for you. Help us put the pressure on President Obama and the State Department to formally apologize to Maher Arar - all you have to do is retweet!
  Help us reach 50,000 signatures

Demand an apology for Maher Arar! Even if you've already signed the petition, please share this message with others, so the US government will have no choice but to listen.

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© 2011 Amnesty International USA | 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001 | 212.807.8400  

Tell President Obama: Call the Republicans' bluff on the debt ceiling 29JUN11

"Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."
- Isaiah 1:17

DEMAND Pres Obama hold the line against the gop and tea-baggers on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Click the link to sign the petition from Credo Action...
It's time to stand up to the Republicans' empty threats
Take Action!
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition:

Automatically add your name:
Take action now!
The deadline to raise the debt ceiling is just over a month away, and things are not looking good.
Republicans recently broke off talks with Vice President Biden over the White House's proposal to raise $400 billion in revenue by eliminating tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations.
That proposal represented no more than one dollar in revenue increases for every five dollars in cuts, but even that was a bridge too far for Republicans.
And let's remember, while the Republicans won't even agree to a minimal amount of tax increases, they are willing (in fact eager) to put extremely popular and important programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on the chopping block.
These negotiations are a farce and it's time for President Obama to cut bait and stop trying to negotiate with Republican extremists.
As bad as the state of current negotiations is, the final deal might be even worse. The Hill, a trade publication that covers Capitol Hill, reported that members of Congress in both parties think President Obama will once again cave to the Republicans' demands. 1
And why not? Time and again, Republicans have taken the needs of all Americans hostage to the narrow ideological demands of the Tea Party base. And President Obama has repeatedly responded to this strategy first by preemptively compromising and then caving even more when Republicans move the goalposts and demand further concessions.
We saw this during the Bush tax cut fight in December of last year and the negotiations over the continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown earlier this year.
But what makes this dynamic so maddening and ridiculous when it comes to raising the debt ceiling is that defaulting on our debt, which is the scenario that is driving the negotiations, would seriously hurt the Republicans' Wall Street benefactors.
So if you cut through the kabuki, it's clear that in this case at least the Republicans are exceedingly unlikely to go through with their threats and allow our government to default on our debt.
President Obama needs to stand up the Republicans and call their bluff, because that is what it is.
There's one final point that merits mentioning. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are some of the biggest drivers of the large federal deficit, yet the Republicans went to the mat to extend them in December. And they then used the subsequent increase in the deficit caused by the tax cuts they championed as a reason to call for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
We'll all be better off when they are allowed to expire. But until then, we should stop treating the Republicans as good-faith actors when they're engaging in deficit hysteria. And that is only further underlined by their unwillingness to raise any taxes while pushing cuts to vital programs.
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. Occasionally when send out an action that encourages President Obama to take a strong negotiating position, some of our members think it amounts to an attack on the president. But Paul Krugman captures the stakes of this fight and correctly understands it as a watershed moment. Referencing the Republicans' unwillingness to accept tax increases of any sort, he writes, "What this says to me is that Obama cannot, must not, concede here. If he does, he's signaling that the GOP can extract even the most outrageous demands; he's setting himself up for endless blackmail. A line has to be drawn somewhere; it should have been drawn last fall; but to concede now would effectively mean the end of the presidency."2 We agree.
1 "House Democrats feel jilted by the president in budget, debt talks," Mike Lillis, The Hill, June 28, 2011.
2 "Debt Limit Stakes," Paul Krugman, New York Times, June 28, 2011.

Obama and Afghanistan: Here Comes the Political Battle 22JUN11 & Fraud Ruling Throws Afghan Parliament Into Disarray 28JUN11

ACTUALLY, hamid karzai isn't all that wrong in accusing the U.S. and the West of exploiting Afghanistan, even the part about sucking money out of it and dishonoring the Afghan people. Get past the knee-jerk reaction to his comments as being ungrateful for the Americans and NATO troops who have sacrificed life and limb(s) to keep him in power and make him a very rich man. Focus instead on the American and European interest, the military-industrial complex, and the politicians they own and control, that profit from our continued presence in Afghanistan. There is no diplomatic, economic, strategic or security benefit for the American people or the citizens of NATO by continuing the Afghan war. The only ones benefiting, or a better description is profiteering, are the companies that make weapons and have contracts with the American government to provide a variety of "services" in Afghanistan. They are sucking money, mostly American tax dollars, billions,  out of Afghanistan. And karzai's charge of dishonoring the Afghan people? It is true, because after 10 years the best we have provided the Afghan people is a corrupt government in Kabul, corrupt and violent warlord governors in the provinces and little improvement in education, health care, security, human rights and economic development on top of tens of thousands of Afghans killed and maimed.  President Obama's troop withdrawal does not go far enough. It is time to end this war and to bring our troops home now. This from MOJO.....
The President's announcement that he will withdraw 30,000-plus troops is unlikely to satisfy hawks or doves, but sure to fuel the burgeoning debate on the war.
UPDATE: No surprise. In his speech on Wednesday night, Obama said he would de-surge the 33,000 troops he surged into Afghanistan after December 2009. He noted that 10,000 troops will be withdrawn by the end of this year, and the rest by September 2012. After that, he said, there will be a steady withdrawal, as the United States completes a transfer of security responsibilities to the Afghan government by the end of 2014.
Thirty thousand. That's reportedly the number of troops President Obama plans to announce on Wednesday night that he will pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2012 (with 10,000 to be out by the end of this year). Call this the Goldilocks approach—not too much, not too little. But the withdrawal of these troops will probably freak out the hawks (cue griping from Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and their neocon comrades), while failing to satisfy the doves of the right and left who have been calling for an end to the war. Obama, though, will be able to present a strong argument that calling back about one-third of the US troops deployed in Afghanistan is indeed making good on his promise to start a meaningful draw-down in July 2011.
So prepare for plenty of debate and hand-wringing over the number. But the more fundamental matter remains: What are America's aims in Afghanistan and can they be accomplished?
White House aides consistently say that the goal of the war is to "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda." That's been Obama's mantra since entering the White House. And this seems like a reasonable goal. But it's been unclear—at least to much of the public—why it's necessary to maintain a large, on-the-ground troop presence in Afghanistan, where there are only a handful of Al Qaeda fighters. The obvious retort is: to keep Al Qaeda from once again exploiting Afghanistan, a state with weak governmental and security structures, as a safe haven. But as Obama demonstrated with the covert and daring mission that killed Osama bin Laden, a ground operation involving tens of thousands of troops targeting the Taliban and other indigenous forces might not be the most effective or efficient way to crush Al Qaeda. Especially when such an endeavor requires an extensive partnership with inept, corrupt, and less-than-reliable institutions—that is, the Afghan government and security forces. Days ago, Afghan President Hamid Karzai denounced the United States and other Western allies for exploiting Afghanistan, sucking money out of it, and dishonoring the country's people. Outgoing US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry responded sharply: "When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost—in terms of lives and treasure—hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest, and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people…[they] are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here.”
With a partner like that—and at a cost of over a hundred billion a year—it's no wonder that Obama's war in Afghanistan is increasingly coming under political assault. Not surprisingly, this comes as public opinion turns further against the war. A recent poll showed that 73 percent of American desire withdrawing a “substantial number” of US combat forces from Afghanistan.
For years, Afghanistan—as a political or policy question—was off the political radar screen in the United States. It was hardly an issue in recent elections, and it's provoked little debate in the House and Senate. But in recent months, discussion and criticism have increased—on both the right and the left. A large number of House Democrats joined with a handful of Republicans last month to force a vote on requiring Obama to establish a timetable for withdrawal; they lost on a close 215-204 vote. Twenty-seven senators—including two freshman Republicans, Mike Lee and Rand Paul—have sent a letter to Obama demanding a "sizable and sustained" withdrawal. Leading Democratic senators, including John Kerry, who chairs the foreign relations committee, and Carl Levin, who heads  the armed services committee, have been leaning on Obama to proceed with a significant draw-down. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, when he was flirting with the notion of running in the GOP presidential primary, voiced skepticism about the war in Afghanistan. At a recent candidates debate in New Hampshire, front-running Mitt Romney exclaimed, "It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can, consistent with the word that comes from our generals.’’ He was quickly bashed by McCain and Graham. The latter warned Romney: "If you think the pathway to the GOP nomination in 2012 is to get to Barack Obama's left on Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq, you're going to meet a lot of headwinds." And McCain, slamming the "isolationist strain" among the 2012 contenders, played the ultimate GOP trump card: “I wonder what Ronald Reagan would be saying today… That’s not the Republican Party of the 20th century, and now the 21st century. That is not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people…all over the world.” Still, Sarah Palin told Fox News that she'd like to see the United States "back out a little bit perhaps sooner"—as long as that would be okay with General David Petraeus. (Pentagon push-back against Obama's withdrawal is possible, but for months the President has been saying he is confident that military leaders will accept his decision.)
Since becoming president, Obama has been able to escape political fisticuffs over Afghanistan. His party, though not happy with his surge-first policy, did not raise too big a fuss about his decision to send more troops. Republicans generally backed Obama's assertive stance, while fretting aloud that the commander-in-chief might eventually go soft. And doubting GOPers did not have the political space to make a charge of their own. Yet now there appears to be opportunity for all camps to express themselves fully, and this could lead to a storm on several fronts—Democrats opposing Democrats, Republicans tussling with Republicans—as partisans and policy experts battle over what constitutes a true withdrawal (Levin, for instance, wants 15,000 troops out by the end of this year), whether a withdrawal is the right course, and whether and how to proceed post-withdrawal with the mission of handing over security responsibilities and anti-Taliban operations to the still-hapless Afghan government and security forces. And by the way, there's the contentious issue of whether Kabul (and Washington) ought to be attempting some sort of negotiations with some factions of the Taliban.
In the middle of all this debating sits the commander in chief. Obama will be able to depict a troop reduction of 30,000 as a serious step toward disengagement. That may win over—or at least not irritate—the independent voters he will need in 2012; it may appease Democratic base voters who have always been uneasy with the war (though not the progressive leaders who decry it). And there's no telling whether this reduction will lead to true progress in Afghanistan—whatever that might mean. Nevertheless, Obama's announcement is likely to fuel the rising debate in Congress and within the GOP roadshow, rather than calm it. This slow end to his surge in Afghanistan could well trigger a surge in political volatility at home—as this unpopular war slogs on and the next US election nears.
David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook. Get David Corn's RSS feed.

Fraud Ruling Throws Afghan Parliament Into Disarray

Defeated candidates from Afghanistan's September 2010 election wait for the resumption of proceedings of a special tribunal in a Kabul courtroom on Thursday. The tribunal decided that 62 members of Parliament would be replaced on fraud charges.
Enlarge Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Defeated candidates from Afghanistan's September 2010 election wait for the resumption of proceedings of a special tribunal in a Kabul courtroom on Thursday. The tribunal decided that 62 members of Parliament would be replaced on fraud charges.

President Obama's announcement last week that U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan this summer has prompted questions about whether the country's democracy can stand on its own.
Those questions come as the Afghan government has been thrown into disarray. A tribunal appointed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai has revoked 25 percent of the seats awarded last September, reviving a dispute over the parliamentary elections.
It took months after last year's elections to seat the Afghan Parliament, with credible allegations of fraud disqualifying many candidates. Intense pressure from the United States and the United Nations helped seat the body, but Karzai still had one more card to play. His special tribunal pronounced that 62 members of Parliament would be replaced on fraud charges.
Sitting members of Parliament made a mute protest of the announcement, slapping their desks as the speaker asked them to welcome the new results. As the session let out, Fowzia Kufi, a representative from northern Badakshan province, said Karzai is trying to neutralize one of the few checks on his executive power.
"The strategy is to reduce the power of democratic institutions which could bring checks and balance ... to the fraud, the corruption," Kufi says. "They try to make the Parliament as weak as they could."
Mixed Reaction
Kufi admits that Parliament has been weak so far, in part because Karzai's special tribunal was a sword hanging over their heads: Many feared they could be removed and have been hesitant to challenge the president. She says the tribunal is not constitutional and undermines Afghanistan's fragile democracy.
"It will fuel insecurity and it will give legitimacy to Taliban to go to the villages and say democracy doesn't work in Afghanistan," she says.
Of course, many of the allegations of fraud were credible, and Karzai's ruling was a victory for some candidates who had claimed for months that they had been robbed of their seats. Daud Sultanzoi, from Ghazni province, was granted a seat by the tribunal.
"We took the matter to the courts, to the rule of law, and we wanted the rule of law to make the decision, not the rule of jungle and not the bullets," Sultanzoi says. "This is a very proud moment for the people of Afghanistan."
Sultanzoi compared the tribunal's ruling to the way the U.S. Supreme Court decided the presidential contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush.
An Overreach?
But there is great controversy over whether Karzai had the authority to create the tribunal, which he says supersedes Afghanistan's electoral bodies. The president's spokesman, Waheed Omar, refused to speculate about how the constitutional question would be resolved, but delivered a stern warning that the international community should not interfere.
"It's important that we uphold the constitution here in Afghanistan, and that can only happen if the state institutions in Afghanistan are allowed to look for a resolution, and that nobody else outside the state institutions makes judgments or references, or issues verdicts as to what is right and what is wrong," Omar said.
But MPs say Karzai is trying to paralyze the Parliament by keeping the dispute going. They fear Karzai is clearing obstacles away from his goal of changing the constitution to allow himself a third term.
As for international interference, one MP said it's the only thing keeping Afghan democracy on track. Democracy here will end, he said, the moment the last foreign soldier leaves the country.