Author Archive | Inspire Solutions

Civil Resistance and the Language of Power

How can nonviolent movements mobilize people to resist injustice, even to the point where their actions put them in personal jeopardy? For Jack Duvall, the answer lies in using the power of language to awaken and sustain a people’s passions, but not through shallow appeals to trigger our emotions, as is popular today, but rather with a call […]

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The Trifecta of Civil Resistance: Unity, Planning, Discipline

It is often argued that the success of nonviolent movements is largely determined by the exceptional circumstances in which each movement operated. This conclusion downplays the  skills and agency of those involved, due perhaps, as Hardy Merriman suggests, to the fact that people doubt or do not know the premise on which nonviolent action is based—that […]

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The Pacifist Dilemma: Women Peacemakers’ Responses to Islamic State

In American scholar Theodore Roszak’s wonderful fictional debate between Ghandi and Churchill, the British Prime Minister challenges Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence by asking him what one is to do when the enemy is at the gate. Gandhi’s response does not waver: the enemy was “the product of a long catalogue of vengeful and selfish actions” […]

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The Syrian Resistance: A Tale of Two Struggles

Maciej Bartkowski and Mohja Kahf suggest that it is a tragedy of history when so many people regardless of sect, ethnicity, religion, and gender join in nonviolent resistance to demand freedom for all, and achieve so much with so little during such a brief time, only to have their accomplishments go largely unrecognized, and their […]

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Defeating ISIS through Civil Resistance?

Maria Stephan of the United States Institute of Peace looks at the potential of using nonviolent resistance against ISIS.  This article, written in July of this year, picks up from where “The Pacifist Dilemma” ends by addressing how organized nonviolent civilian action could be effective in disrupting and denying the key sources of power on […]

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Deploying Art Against War

Joshua Levkowitz addresses the potential of art to oppose violence and trigger further community resistance, as well as to help communities heal from war. While the results have been varied, the author discusses examples of public art from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East that were presented at a recent forum organized by the United […]

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Countering Hybrid War: Civil Resistance as a National Defence Strategy

This article examines the possibility of deterring aggressive actions by a powerful state through civil resistance. Maciej Bartkowski argues that, while the Western response to Russia’s recent actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine has been predicated on a show of military force, nonviolent civilian defense promises another path. His argument draws both on an understanding […]

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Announcing Our Theme for 2016-2017: Resistance

Inspire Solutions is pleased to announce its theme for 2016-2017: Resistance. Of course, we mean nonviolent resistance as, in a world that believes so much in violence, what is more threatening to the status quo than the proposal that nonviolence is not only more ethical, but also more effective? While nonviolent action is typically dismissed […]

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An Introduction to Gender and Peacebuilding (2)

Violence is one of the most gendered of social activities, but this goes beyond the fact that the perpetrators of violence are overwhelming male, keeping in mind that far more men are victims of other men’s violence than perpetrators themselves. Violence is also gendered in terms of how we think about violence, and specifically how […]

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The Refugee Crisis: Demilitarising Masculinities

In international politics, men are regularly viewed as security threats. All military age men killed by US drone strikes are automatically counted as combatants, unless information conclusively identifying them as civilians is available. In its decision to open its borders to 25,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees, the Canadian Government set its priorities: women, children, families and […]

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The Masculinisation of Complexity

Our understanding of the gendered nature of war has been profoundly shaped by the thought-provoking work of one eminent feminist scholar. In this next article, Marion Bowman interviews Political Scientist Cynthia Enloe; they begin with the situation that confronted the courageous women who sought to end WWI and then continue into a discussion of today’s […]

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The Thread of Anger

In this very personal story, a Dawson science student reflects on why she alone was subjected to her father’s abuse and laments on the fact that our society still hasn’t learned that we can’t solve violence with violence. ********** As a child, “anger” and “fear” has always followed me like a shadow. It isolated me […]

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A Normal Day

In this beautifully-written story, Dawson student Maryam Parvez reveals how gender-based violence touches generations, but remains surrounded by silence. ********** Darkness overwhelmed her, it seeped into her pores and grew. She was not always like this, frail, weak with a body that was just bones, and eyes that were lifeless. No, she was not supposed […]

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Transforming Masculinity

Following the 1989 massacre at the Université de Montreal, three Canadian men – Michael Kaufman, Jack Layton and Ron Sluser – decided that men needed to work together to end violence against women. In 1991, they launched the White Ribbon Campaign, which today has become a worldwide movement in over 60 countries. In this article, […]

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Getting to Peace

In this article, first posted in 2010, Cynthia Cockburn addresses the fundamental questions How can we create more peaceful world? What underlies war’s continuing widespread acceptance? She suggests that we need to “create a nonviolent movement for a nonviolent world,” and that this must be grounded in a “transformative change in gender relations.” ********** Today’s […]

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Women’s Power to Stop War: Hubris or Hope

As the world’s oldest women’s international peace organization, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, prepared for its 100th anniversary this year, Cynthia Cockburn looked back to the roots of women’s peace activism, illustrating that from its beginning women took a holistic perspective, drawing out the links between women’s rights, social justice and peace. […]

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Plotting a Woman-Shaped Peace: Syrian and Bosnian Women Confer

Wars eventually end, but the peace that is implemented may do little more than reinforce the divisions that deepened through war; the needs of ordinary people tend to be ignored as the male war leaders negotiate “peace”. In 2014, while the UN mediated Syrian peace talks, without any representation from the country’s women’s organizations, twenty […]

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Understanding the Recruitment of Women and Girls to the Islamic State

While many women worldwide are working to build peace, locally and globally, it is important to remember that the connections between men and war and women and peace have never been accurate representations of reality. Women also provide necessary support for war. Despite the brutality and repression being currently inflicted by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq […]

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Iraq’s Female Citizens: Prisoners of War

In our western media, Middle Eastern women are often depicted as passive victims needing our rescue; indeed in 2003, the defense of women’s rights was presented as a justification for the US invasion of Iraq. The occupation, however, intensified religious extremism and resulted in massive violence against women. Jennifer Allsopp’s interview with Iraqi human rights […]

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Searching for Good News in the Fight Against Rape

The Women Under Seige Project aims at raising awareness on the extent of the devastating worldwide epidemic of sexualized violence, particularly in conflict zones. Women, however, are fighting back, and in this article, Shazdeh Omari looks for some positive developments. ********** We began 2015 by looking at underreported stories of rape and sexualized violence around […]

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Healing from Within: An Interview with Layel Camargo

Dawson student Catherine Duret faces her own fears when she goes off to interview international feminist activist Layel Camargo on their work in promoting transformative justice responses to child sexual assault. As revealed below, Layel’s passion and commitment is contagious, and their call for a more compassionate and community-based approach to sexual assault, along with […]

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A Call to Remember Peace

November 11 is once again upon us – a time to reflect on the costs of war and show our respect to those who have fought on our behalf. As citizens, these are responsibilities that we should never ignore, but we invite you to go further and take some time this month to consider what […]

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Clearing the Plains

In his recent award-winning book, Clearing the Plains, author and historian James Daschuk sheds light on a dark time in Canadian history and looks at the tremendous cost First Nations people paid for the realization of former Prime Minister John A. Macdonald’s national dream. In this article, he reveals the origins of the continuing gap […]

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