From the mothers of Argentina to the mothers of Syria by RN Board member Böhmer

08/05/2011

Presentation by Chibli Mallat, Right to Nonviolence: Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires = Sahat Marja, Damascus

The Middle East nonviolent revolution, if it is to succeed, needs a future.

It will have one naturally in the Middle East, and as part of world history, as I have recently argued, it must include in that future the Nonviolent revolution in China. The ME nonviolent revolution needs a past as well. It has its own; resistance over half a century to the dictatorial, authoritarian order across the region, from the Israeli bulldozer to Saddam’s killing fields. But the Revolution in our region can also draw comfort from a past of defeated authoritarianism in Latin America, in Argentina in particular. The paper of Prof. Martin Böhmer, presented in Montreal on May 8, 2011 resonates with Middle Easterners in two dramatic ways. Especially as the brutality in Syria continues and intensifies, one considers the mothers of the disappeared in the Plaza de Mayo who courageously undid one of the worst dictatorships in modern history. The Revolution in Syria started on Wednesday March 16, 2011, when the mothers of prisoners of opinion assembled silently in Marja, in front of the Ministry of Interior to inquire about their husbands and sons disappeared in Syrian jails. The nonviolent, Freedom Revolution of Syria, began when they were brutally assaulted. There is another Argentinian moment, years later, that should also give us hope. This, as Prof. Martin Böhmer shows, is when the Argentinian leaders realised that they can no longer have demonstrators shot at, and the president resigns because two demonstrators were shot by his troops. Our Revolution in Tunis, Cairo and in the rest of our countries, must force this principle on the culture and behaviour of our governments: whatever happens, a government can no longer teargas and shoot at unarmed demonstrators. It is a simple rule, and must be followed without exception.

The shadow of disobedience“, by Martin Böhmer, RN Board member and Professor, Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires

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