Civil Paths to Peace contains the analyses and findings of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding, established in response to the 2005 request of Commonwealth Head of Government for the Commonwealth Secretary-General to 'explore initiatives to promote mutual understanding and respect among all faiths and communities in the Commonwealth.' This report focuses particularly on the issues of terrorism, extremism, conflict and violence, which are much in ascendancy and afflict Commonwealth countries as well as the rest of the world. It argues that cultivating respect and understanding is both important in itself and consequential in reducing violence and terrorism. It further argues that cultivated violence is generated through fomenting disrespect and fostering confrontational misunderstandings. The report looks at the mechanisms through which violence is cultivated through advocacy and recruitment, and the pre-existing inequalities, deprivations and humiliations on which those advocacies draw. These diagnoses also clear the way for methods of countering disaffection and violence. In various chapters the different connections are explored and examined to yield general policy recommendations. Accepting diversity, respecting all human beings, and understanding the richness of perspectives that people have are of great relevance for all Commonwealth countries, and for its 1.8 billion people. They are also importance for the rest of the world. The civil paths to peace are presented here for use both inside the Commonwealth and beyond its boundaries. The Commonwealth has survived and flourished, despite the hostilities associated with past colonial history, through the use of a number of far-sighted guiding principles. The Commission argues that those principles have continuing relevance today for the future of the Commonwealth--and also for the world at large.
This book argues that the secret to the political miracle achieved in South Africa is a comprehensive change in the conception of justice as guiding political institutions. Pursuing justice is a moral imperative that has practical value as a cost-efficient way of dealing with conflict. This case study in applied ethics and social theory patiently explains how justice in the new South Africa restores humanity and establishes lasting peace, whereas injustice in apartheid South Africa led to conflict and dehumanization.
The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, traces the changing orientations toward peace and democracy among Soviet/Russian citizens since 1982, revealing the extreme influence of transnational civil society on Gorbachev's policies and on the social capital democracy requires. This book is indispensible for those studying comparative international affairs, peace and disarmament policies, Russian and military history, and the diffusion of ideas.
As the recent revolutions in the Middle East have demonstrated, civil society in this part of the world is on the move. The increasingly important role of non-state actors – a phenomenon of globalization- has characterized developments throughout the region, affecting the struggle for democracy and for peace. This volume brings together scholars primarily form the region to analyse the varied activities and contributions of NGOs, the private sector and the new media, from Morocco to Iran, along with the involvement of diaspora groups. The chapter on facebook in the recent Egyptian revolution captures the role of this new media while the study on similar technology in Iran outlines the barriers raised by the authorities in the current struggles there. Even the fledgling process of democratization in Saudi Arabia is driven by non-state actors while the veteran women's movements in the Maghreb serve as an example for the post-Arab spring era in those countries. Providing one of the first assessments of the role of non-state actors in the Middle East, this book will be essential reading for students of Political Science, Sociology and Civil Society, amongst others.
A leading voice in struggles for global justice, Vandana Shiva is a world renowned environmental activist and physicist. With Earth Democracy, her most extensive treatment of the struggles she helped bring to international attention-genetic food engineering, cultural theft, and natural resource privatization-Shiva uncovers their link to the rising tide of fundamentalisms, violence against women, and planetary death.Starting in the 16th century with the initial enclosure of the British commons, Shiva reveals how the commons continue to shrink as more natural resources are patented and privatized. As our ecological sustainability and cultural diversity erode, so too is human life rendered disposable. Through the forces of neoliberal globalization, economic and social exclusion ignite violence across lines of difference, threatening the lives of millions.Yet these brutal extinctions are not the only trend shaping human history. Struggles on the streets of Seattle and Cancún and in homes and farms across the world, have yielded a set of principles based on inclusion, nonviolence, reclaiming the commons, and freely sharing the earth's resources. These ideals, which Shiva calls Earth Democracy, serve as an urgent call to peace and as the basis for a just and sustainable future.
Voluntary associations have been presented as a solution to political apathy and cynicism towards representative democracy. The authors collected in this volume, however, argue that these claims require more robust substantiation and seek to critically examine the crucial link between the associative sector and the health of democracy. Focusing on the role of context and using diverse approaches and empirical material, they explore whether these associations in differing socio-political contexts actually undermine rather than reinvigorate democracy.
In Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, central governments historically pursued mono-nationalist ideologies and repressed Kurdish identity. As evidenced by much unrest and a great many Kurdish revolts in all these states since the 1920s, however, the Kurds manifested strong resistance towards ethnic chauvinism. What sorts of authoritarian state policies have Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria relied on to contain the Kurds over the years? Can meaningful democratization and liberalization in any of these states occur without a fundamental change vis-à-vis their Kurdish minorities? To what extent does the Kurdish issue function as both a barrier and key to democratization in four of the most important states of the Middle East? While many commentators on the Middle East stress the importance of resolving the Arab-Israeli dispute for achieving 'peace in the Middle East,' this book asks whether or not the often overlooked Kurdish issue may constitute a more important fulcrum for change in the region, especially in light of the 'Arab Spring' and recent changes in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.
After Violence: Transitional Justice, Peace, and Democracy examines the effects of transitional justice on the development of peace and democracy. Anticipated contributions of transitional justice mechanisms are commonly stated in universal terms, with little regard for historically specific contexts. Yet a truth commission, for example, will not have the same function in a society torn by long-term civil war or genocide as in a society emerging from authoritarian repression. Addressing trials, reparations, truth commissions, and amnesties, the book systematically addresses the experiences of four very different contemporary transitional justice cases: post-authoritarian Uruguay and Peru and post-conflict Rwanda and Angola. Its analysis demonstrates that context is a crucial determinant of the impact of transitional justice processes, and identifies specific contextual obstacles and limitations to these processes. The book will be of much interest to scholars in the fields of transitional justice and peacebuilding, as well as students generally concerned with human rights and democratisation.