Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Justice by Reliance on Non-Violent Courage
By Chris Doebbler
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, January 9, 2012
The past year has been as turbulent as it has been inspiring for human
rights defenders and social justice activists around the world.
Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions renewed hope in the masses of peoples'
ability to reassert their right to participate in their governments. Brave
citizens stood up, non-violently to their governments' violence and whatever
the final outcome, made their voices and their concerns very much heard. But
while these 'uprisings'
succeeded, others were high-jacked by foreign
interests or succumb to oppression.
In Libya and Syria, what may
have once been legitimate efforts by the people of those countries to gain
greater participatory rights in their own governance, have turned into proxy
The NATO-led rebels in Libya, already seen as
foreign puppets by many Libyans, have now declared war on the indigenous
people of Libya and their practices. In Syria, reports by the opposition
themselves show a significant contribution of foreign weapons and
encouragement to violence. Both of these 'uprisings' have been characterized
by recourse to violence and massive civilian causalities.
In the US
and Europe, governments used more complex and covert ways to stifle their
citizens' efforts to gain a greater role in their own governance.
Governments such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland
have been caught red-handed interfering with the very right to freedom of
expression that they profess to protect. The Occupy Movement in the US, for
example, has been hacked and attacked by government institutions ranging
from local police to national security institutions. In the UK, the
government has been compliant with Swedish and US pressure to silence
Wikileaks, after these young independent media activists embarrassed the
cooperate media for its failure to report news honestly and with even a
minimal effort to obtain the truth.
Perhaps most depressingly, as
the year ended, the rich Northern countries of the world, told the almost a
billion Africans on their own continent at the Durban Climate Talks that the
rich are too selfish to act to protect the 100 million Africans that are
projected to perish because of our collective failure on climate change.
In such a variable world it is hard to find much certainty, even in the
year ahead. That's why this year I had only one New Year's resolution.
It is that I will strive to distinguish justice by
reliance on non-violent courage rather recourse to violence, right
from wrong by depending on the consented and consensually agreed rules of
international law, and humanity from inhumanity by asking myself if there is
really love for their fellow human beings in the motives of international
These are pretty basic questions, even if the answers might
be more complex, but in a time of turmoil and uncertainty, sometimes relying
on fundamentals is best.